Santa Barbara Unified Unaudited Actuals Released

By the Santa Barbara Unified

Santa Barbara Unified reports a positive certification of its 2022-2023 school year budget as it considers the expiration of one-time funds this school year.

A positive certification means that the District sees no risk of being able to pay its bills in the current year and the projected next two years based on revenue and expense assumptions. However, the District will not be able to maintain current levels of spending based on future revenue projections.

The District’s budget is representative of the values placed on student learning and support for staff and students. The budget includes investments in more teachers for lower than average class sizes, additional art, music, and physical ed teachers in elementary, additional staff for elective classes in secondary and core support classes, tutoring, mental health supports through counselors, school psychologists, licensed social workers, youth outreach workers, and family liaisons. It also includes funding time for teachers to collaborate and plan, known as early release or late start days.

The District’s total operating budget of $179,807,435, or 81.3% of the operating budget (Unrestricted and Restricted), goes to paying the salaries and benefits paid to our staff. 

The rest of the fiscal obligations include utilities, maintenance and improvement of buildings, food services, transportation, instructional materials, supplies, and contract services.

The District finished with a total unrestricted and restricted operating budget surplus of $16,492,301 due mainly to the receipt of restricted one-time use federal funding known as Learning Recovery Emergency Block, Expanded Learning Opportunity, and the Arts, Music, Instruction grants. Additionally, the budget features one-time State and Federal COVID relief funds that will expire by September 2024. The funds are already flagged for use, mostly in employee salaries. 

The Board requires the District to hold a 10% reserve. Because Community-Funded districts rely on local property tax, there is a need to have higher reserves to pay salaries and benefits in the months when the District does not receive property tax payments. This year, the State extended the deadline to file income tax to October 2023, so school funding will be unknown until those final results are announced. 

Reserve monies historically are used towards covering payroll when tax revenue is not coming in and to pay for unforeseen emergencies. Reserves are one-time funds that are gone once used and therefore should not be used to pay for ongoing expenses.

With the increase in federal funding and a healthy real estate market, the District has been able to fund additional staff and services to support teaching and learning and provide social and emotional supports. As these one-time federal funds come to an end, our fiscal priorities will need to be realigned.

The District’s unrestricted ending fund balance for fiscal year 2022-23 is $24,859,091. This represents a total of 17% in reserves. The Board requires us to keep at least 10% in reserves. Looking ahead to the 2023-2024 school year and beyond, the District is monitoring the State’s projected revenue shortfall from the previous year and how that may impact funding. Additionally, rising interest rates and low real estate inventory are slowing the housing market as mortgage costs increase. This could affect local property taxes that fund the school district. By the end of the 2022-23 year, property tax revenue was $273,299 lower than the Tax Assessor had projected for the District. Since we do not know what the revenue will be until the end of the year, we maintain reserves in case projected revenues decline as they did in 2022-23.

“Maintaining a fiscally responsible budget is essential to meeting the needs of students, teachers, and staff at Santa Barbara Unified. The District is monitoring these changes in funding and has been planning for the end of one-time funds and will realign investments based on revenue projections as necessary,” said Dr. Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent. 

The full report is available in the agenda packet posted online.


Written by SBUnified

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD). Learn more at

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. Contract negotiations between the district and the teachers are starting soon, and the teachers are not happy. They’ve been protesting at school board meetings and many have quit because they can’t afford to live here on their salaries.
    There’s a very real possibility of a teachers’ strike in SBUSD later this year.
    SBUSD is trying to get ahead of it with this press release tooting their own horn about how “fiscally responsible” their budget is and justifying why their reserves are so high. They want the public to believe then when they say they can’t afford to give teachers a raise.
    That’s also why they say that 81.3% of their budget goes to salaries. That sounds like a high number, until you learn that in other districts, closer to 90% of the budget is spent on salaries and only 3-5% is kept in reserves.

  2. We are among the lowest paid teachers in our region (if not the lowest), in the most expensive city to live in. At this point, only a 20% + pay raise is going to make up for the fact that we have not gotten any cost of living increases in years. The paltry $1.000 “bonus” paid to each employee, including highly paid admin at the district office, is a slap in the face. Too bad this article didn’t address how much money is spent on positions that directly work with students, versus those that are sitting down at the district office and pulling six figures.

    • @1:31: Very unfortunate that you are saying that it’s FACT that the teachers in the SBUSD will do a better job of teaching only if their demands for higher pay are met. This means that unless we pay them more, then we cannot expect that our students will be properly taught. If this were private business, underperforming employees would be quickly replaced with those who will do an excellent job with the pay that they agreed to accept. That’s how I look at it….if you take a job at a specified salary, then do the job, do it well, and don’t tell me you’ll do it better if I pay you more. If you cannot accept that, then take a job elsewhere or find a job that pays better. “But they work soooooo hard!” Yeah, I get it.

    • BABYCAKE, it is not necessarily a conscious decision to not do well at your job when you are not satisfied with pay. I am not saying teachers “won’t do their best” because they are paid poorly, but that the bar for “best” changes when one is satisfied with their pay. There is more to human psychology than conscious decision-making.

    • SBEducator makes some very good points! It may not be’s role to provide such an in depth study; that the search function is totally inadequate means ‘news’ has to be just that, news and not research material.
      Hopefully, there will be in some media an analysis of SBUSD salaries, bonuses, showing admin vs teaching work, compared to those of other districts — AND also a showing of student scores in reading and math. …It is hard to justify more pay for fewer results of student achievement meeting the bare minimum grade levels. And edhat could then link to that story.

    • BIRD, so if student score are not good, pay the teachers less? Every year raises fail to keep up with local inflation equates to a pay cut. Studies show people do not do their jobs as well if they are not satisfied their their pay, it’s basic psychology. Your plan just punches more holes in a sinking ship.

    • Bird: I agree with you in part, but a good teacher is going to teach well regardless of their pay. To argue that a teacher will teach “less well” because they think that their salary is too low is ludicrous….unless the “teacher” is simply not a good/dedicated teacher. I am a believer in the system that rewards those whose work is superior to others. No idea why anyone would want to reward a worker in the hopes that the extra dough is going to make them do a better job….No Way! I learned a lesson when a painter, who was a long-time friend, said they’d give me a “family” discount. When I asked why he did not paint the trim around the door he said, “Don’t expect me to do a premium job when you are paying me less!” So, yeah…..get more pay when you do a good job whether you’re a teacher, gardener, programmer, or whatever. No bonuses or raises for those just because they can’t afford “the rent.” BTW….salaries are more often than not less in SB for many occupations because of the ol’ supply/demand thingy….experienced/skilledpeople want to live here and are willing to take less.

  3. “Maintaining a fiscally responsible budget is essential to meeting the needs of students, teachers, and staff at Santa Barbara Unified”. according to Superintendent Maldonado. Ending the year with a surplus of 25 million in unrestricted funds does not seem to match with the earlier statement that the budget reflects the value it places on students, staff support. When only 8% of our english language learners and foster youth, and only18% of our students with learning difference have taken the A-G courses which enable them to apply to a UC. This means that the vast majority are not college ready. How come we did not offer these students intensive remediation. How can we honestly say we are” giving every child , every chance , every day. The district only offered summer school to 540 students when over 6500 are not proficient ready by end of third ( or for the subgroups many 11th graders are not proficient). Some of these monies should have gone to giving intensive intervention to our most vulnerable students.
    Where does 180 million go? In particular where is the 27 million LCAP monies going. LCAP is a fund given by the state to go to the 5 most vulnerable student groups to be used in the most effective way. It is supposed to be transparent but it is impossible to see something as simple as the payee, the amount and a description of why it is most effective use… Nothing transparent is available from the district even if you are on the LCAP advisory team. I actually asked a freedom of information act to simply find out where LCAP is going specifically. The district law firm has been dragging its feet since May. And I asked the year before and never got anything.
    If we continue to under pay our teachers more will leave, as hundreds have left already. If they leave they take any training in the new science of reading curriculum with them. This hurt our most vulnerable students the most. For years the district , and Superintendent clung to a deeply flawed reading approach . Don’t we owe the students that we provided an approach that does not include 5 foundations skills the ability to read proficiently and the opportunity to be college ready?
    From what I can tell 81% goes to salaries and benefits… that ony leaves 19% for students and facilities. So why are we not spending the surplus on students. And why has admin and the Superintendent taken the bonus and partial cost of living adjustment too? Certainly her salary is generous enough and this is not motivating to teachers and para educators some who live below the poverty line. (paraeducator makes only 18.00 an hour at SBUSD.
    Why have a surplus with dismal test scores and underpaid teachers. This is no way to run a district. Students who are not proficient by end of third are 4x likely to drop out. This can lead to some students going from the education system to the justice system. It seems like our most vulnerable students needs are forgotten. Don’t the curriculum casualties deserve remediation. Don’t we want our teachers to stay, feel rewarded and respected. Or do we want more chaos and mediocrity for our vulnerable students…

    • LovesSBalot, you say with 81% going to salaries and benefits that leaves only 19% for students and facilities. But we don’t give money to students. We give them time with teachers, inside facilities. What other expenditures would benefit students? Computers, paper and pencils, books, etc. , and decent classrooms. But quality teaching is the main thing they need, right? What does it mean to “spend on students”? (I’m genuinely asking, not trying to be snarky or argumentative.)

  4. Yeah no kidding Mesarats, I had the exact same thought. That was a HUGE cost to students, teachers, and taxpayers – for decades – to buy that property. Now what? Sitting. Used as a storage yard for tired SBUSD vehicles. Youth sports/afterschool complex would be a great idea. Or hey, just sell it to a developer for top dollar and make some money back for our education system.

  5. SBEducator has it right – there’s too much money going towards the 6-figure administrators who never set foot in a classroom. We spend plenty on education in CA. The problem is how it’s being allocated. Teachers aren’t highly valued. Administrator paper pushers are leeches in the system. Factor in heavy pensions and benefits, and there’s just not enough money to go around.

  6. Aachoo: For decades our district used a failed approach to reading based on the cueing system , and the belief that surrounding students with books and looking at photos for contextual clues and minimal phonics lead to many vulnerable students being years behind peers. Students with parents of means were able to get outside tutors and be proficient. Universities where teachers are trained taught in this deeply flawed approach . In May our district switched to a completely different and science based approach called structured literacy or science of reading. It will take 3 years to train teachers because the science of reading approach focused on decoding, breaking down words into syllabels and corresponding sounds. It is based on 5 foundation skills, phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency and vocabualary. Right now in our district we have thousands of students not proficient in math and reading. For reading if you are years behind peers or not at grade level students need intensive intervention by a reading specialist experienced in several different approaches of the science of reading, like Lindamode bell or Orton Gilligham or many others. Intensive interventions are expensive but that is the most effective way to help students who are behind. Reducing class sizes and paying teachers more is also needed as we are loosing experienced teachers. And any teachers will train will be considering leaving for a competitive salary and smaller case loads in special ed. If you want to know more listen to May 9th board meeting and May 22. Also listen to Emily Hanford, an investigative journalist …or Kaream Weaver , an Oakland teacher and activist who helped produce the movie ., “The Right to Read.”.

    • How much of the decline is due to the large number of 1st generation Americans with immigrant parents that are in our public schools? Without the support of parents, or ability, most children fall behind. If they’re not being read to as a baby, they wont have the same foundations for language. This isn’t a cultural thing, it’s a human thing. But the immigrant culture definitely plays into it. Education is simply not a priority for many in the community. Not sure why, but it’s hard to deny when you look at the demographic data and the success rates of students in and beyond HS.
      The whole cueing / phonics thing was / is shocking. She based it all on her feelings and so many lined up behind the techniques without question. Millions of kids were impacted. Incredible, and a true metaphor for so many aspects of American life.

  7. Stewcasa: Education is a priority for our first generation Americans with immigrant parents. Students whose first language is not english struggle if they are not taught in a systemic, explicit way and in a proactive reading culture that includes things like automatic testing and teacher training in science of reading approach. Poverty is a factor and parent full engagement is always a strong benefit but those things can be overcome by being taught in the way students learn best and a culture that steps in in first grade when a student is behind. Mayor Adams, a dyslexic and his Chancelor of Schools Banks have a lot to say about how just using the science based reading program is the culprit. Mississipi a state with high poverty was the only state to improve literacy scores during the pandemic because they changed to the “science of reading” approach years ago. I have meet and gotten to know many latinx families in our community who care very much about their child’s education but don’t have the means for private tutors who charge 150 an hour or more. So these families are counting on the school district. Luckily at Franklin their students get the kind of individual help and after school help as well as that Principal Kilgore is a rock star. Been there for over 15 years and knows and cares deeply about each family. Families can even eat dinner with their kids. This kind of supportive atmosphere helps parents and students succeed. Without it many vulnerable students continue to struggle. The district has a “wait to fail” policy that they don’t step in with intensive help, if they do, until the student is in the bottom 25%. Why wait for a child to get so far behind? A proactive model , which includes automatic testing for reading will be mandatory in CA by 2025 . Universities will all train teachers in “science of reading” by 2025 . If we also reduced class sizes and paid our teachers and paraeducators more we could have 90% proficiency for ALL by end of third or even 1st. But this requires a proactive approach instead of the reactive… too little too late approach we still have going on now. The students who are behind deserve so much more from the system. Teachers do too!…

Fire at Beach City Student Housing Displaces 14 Residents

High Speed Pursuit Through Orcutt