CUSD Demographer Projects Even Worse $5M Shortfall and 1200 Student Decline!
Last evening, the CUSD school demographer, who has worked for the Community since 1985, delivered one of the worst projections yet seen for the CUSD enrollment and fiscal viability.
As United Cupertino reported back in March of 2017, and as the previous (and unfairly vilified) CUSD Superintendent frequently stated, there is declining enrollment across the City, significant million-dollar budget shortfalls, and tens of million-dollar newly transferred State pension obligations coming over the next 5 years. In 2016, they managed to adjust a $3-Million-dollar shortfall by trimming CUSD management, staff, janitors, and security personnel.
Now, we are looking at an additional $5-Million-dollar shortfall for next year. There are no more managers, staff, janitors, or security personnel to cut – leaving only our precious teachers, educational programs, and facility upgrades on the chopping block.
We’re in Silicon Valley!! We are not a cash-strapped City! Why are we in these straights!? We have the best ranked district in the Country – how can we be short funding for needed programs?!
Well, Cupertino has a fundamentally different funding mechanism than most of our neighbors like Palo Alto, San Jose, and Mountain View. See United Cupertino's previous posts in March (click here) for an explanation for the way Cupertino is funded by the State.
Why does this matter to you (kids or no)? Are you a home owner? Do you pay taxes? Are you a renter who a certain Councilmember wants to increase taxes?
The demographer’s presentation has some very salient trends in the effects of housing in our Community, housing turn-over in our Community, and the effects of new development in our Community. For example, there is a significant lack of turn-over of single family homes in the Monta Vista area (given the unbelievable +/- $2M housing cost) that will have a dramatically negative impact on the fiscal health of Lincoln Elementary and Kennedy Middle School. New young families cannot enter this part of the single family home market at that cost of housing - rent or buy!
On the other hand, the demographer stated that a redevelopment of Vallco with significant amount of housing, not under the current Sand Hill plan, but under a new State Bill 35 "of almost 2 thousand units” endorsed by our current Mayor, could literally stabilize the adjacent school districts currently in enrollment / fiscal decline.
Of course, School Board Member Liang Chao, founder of NIMBY group "Better Cupertino" who has literally blocked for decades any redevelopment at Vallco and author of Measure C, took every effort to push her unclear / incoherent / unintelligible NIMBY agenda during a School Board meeting! She claimed that the CUSD Demographer, the only professional who has been collecting CUSD enrollment data since the 1980's, didn't have enough data! Shameful!
Remember, the pension obligations from the State over the next five years expand exponentially to a fiscal obligation of almost $30 Million dollars! We have already cut necessary but acceptable services in the last year to meet a $3-Million-dollar obligation. It’s very unclear how we can cut to meet next year’s $5-Million-dollar obligation, and without additional housing development in Cupertino or a fundamental change to the CUSD funding model in Sacramento, it’s a tsunami when the fiscal obligation to our schools is $30 Million dollars.