BHUSD Finances Stronger Than Expected for Next Year

A larger-than-expected contribution of tax dollars and increased spending from the city improved the Beverly Hills Unified School District’s financial outlook for the upcoming year, district officials reported on Dec. 5.

It will wind up with over $32.5 million in its reserve fund for economic uncertainty, BHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Raphael Guzman told the district’s Board of Education during their most recent meeting. That’s over $3 million more than what they planned to have set aside when they approved the budget for the upcoming 2023/2024 school year in June.

“The reason why we’re seeing this positive move has to do with two things: our property taxes are much higher than we projected and, of course, the JPA revenues coming in at where they came in,” BHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Raphael Guzman said.”

Local property taxes contributed nearly $69 million to the district’s projected funds, over $1.97 million more than what officials were expecting to receive. And additional funding included in its most recent joint powers agreement with the city added $1.86 million to its coffers.

“That’s a pretty big swing compared to what we were estimating when we did the adopted budget,” Guzman said.

The growth in reserve funds comes despite rises in projected costs, according to the district’s most recent reports. They expect to spend almost $98 million to operate in the upcoming school year, which is over $1.4 million more than what they had budgeted in June.

 Higher prices for electricity and other utilities contribute to a large portion of the increase in costs, Guzman said. More funding for special education programs and additional grant-funded projects and improvements account for most of the added expenses.

The district’s rosy financial outlook allowed current Board of Education President Noah Margo to end his tenure on a high note. His term at the head of the body ends at the end of the year.

“I want to wish the students good luck on finals,” Margo said at the close of the meeting. “I won’t have an opportunity to do that again.”

But even with the current school year winding down, there will still be a flurry of activity as the district celebrates the holiday season with students and families. Campuses throughout the district will be putting on concerts from now through the start of winter break on Dec. 22.

“It is a marathon of things we are so proud of, and I want to give a special thank you to the teachers that put on these performances and these events, especially for those schools that are making it work in performance spaces that are not in their schools,”  BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy said. “That’s not an easy thing to do.”

Additionally, the Parent Teacher Association will be hosting a toy drive through Dec. 14. Those interested in donating new, unwrapped toys can drop gifts off at any of the district’s schools, Bregy said. The toys will wind up going to children in the Compton Unified School District. 

“This definitely will change how many kids feel about the holidays,” Bregy said.