4/24/2024 Newsletter: All About Numbers

Spring Update Response

In March, Clovis Unified shared a Spring Update describing the fiscal state of the district. The district complied with ACE’s Requests for Information about the district’s Adopted Budget as well as both the 1st and 2nd Interim Budget reports. Using the district’s budget and information provided by the state of California, ACE reviewed the district’s claims in their Spring Update. ACE believes that a school budget reflects the priorities of the district and that budget discussions should include not only administrators and the Governing Board but also school employees and community members.

  • The District’s Spring Update is a fairly accurate report of dollar amounts and percentages. However, the dollar amounts and percentages are selective and do not accurately reflect the district’s financial stability or budget priorities.
  • The District continues to claim, “less funding from the state.” In fact, the district receives the same funding as similar districts. 
  • The District claims to spend the highest percentage on Salary and Benefits, but only when compared to districts like Fresno Unified and Sanger Unified. Districts with similar funding spend similar levels on employees. We agree that districts should spend the majority of the budget on employees. 
  • The Spring Update contains a graphic that shows $0 in Concentration Grant funding intended to support districts with student populations with 55% or higher English Learners, foster youth, and low-income families. If there are eligible students in the district who aren’t being tracked in the Unduplicated Pupil Count, the district would benefit significantly by identifying and reporting these students.

The district’s Spring update makes claims that merit further investigation.


“We receive less funding than other districts.”


CUSD receives the same LCFF funding per student that every district receives in 2023-2024:

Grades TK-3 $9,919
Grades 4-6$10,069
Grades 7-8$10,367
Grades 9-12$12,015

CUSD gets the same 20% Supplemental Grant funding for each Unduplicated Pupil count as other school districts.   

CUSD’s reported Unduplicated Pupil Percentage is 48.34% and does not qualify for the Concentration Grant that other districts receive.


In fact, Clovis has the same resources as other districts with similar student populations. Our neighboring districts have more students with high needs and therefore get funding to support those students. We asked the district what can be done to ensure that every student in Clovis who qualifies for Supplemental funding is counted, and they detailed the work being done to identify eligible families through the electronic application for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Because all students can now access universal free meals, it requires more work to encourage families to fill out the online application.  


“…a greater portion of the General Fund is needed for staff costs, leaving fewer remaining dollars for student programs and curriculums.”


Percent of General Fund spent on Salaries and Benefits:

  • Clovis Unified spends   85% (TRUE)
  • Fresno Unified spends 75% (TRUE)
  • Sanger Unified spends 74% (TRUE)

According to School Services of California, an average school district spends 85% to 90% of its discretionary budget on personnel.

Districts that have similar funding levels also spend a similar amount on employees:

Elk Grove80%
Folsom Cordova83%
Corona Norco78%

Clovis actually spends less on certificated teaching and support educators’ salaries than these like-funded districts and spends more on admin salaries.

Certificated Teacher and Support Educator SalariesCertificated and Classified Admin Salaries
Elk Grove36.37%3.74%
Corona Norco37.74%4.67%
Folsom Cordova36.95%5.01%


We believe that a school district exists to educate students, and that the work of education is primarily done by educators. It’s reasonable that the salary of educators – especially teachers – is the overwhelming cost of a school district. After all, we believe in people, not programs! Many school districts have additional costs associated with the contracted services for their higher-need student populations and get additional resources from the state for that reason.  


The average attendance rate in Clovis, as of March 2024, is 94.5% and “(t)he impact of a 1% change in average attendance on our budget” is $5 million.


$5M as 1% for ADA (TRUE – $4,984,867)

Average Daily Attendance rate of 94.5% (TRUE)



Clovis, like other districts across the state, is struggling with high absenteeism. Since funding is based on attendance and not enrollment, Clovis loses funding for each absent student. ACE has already offered to the administration that by collaborating with the district and our other education partners, we can find solutions to increase attendance rates.


The Employee Compensation Committee recommended a 7% salary increase in 2022-2023 and 5.5% salary schedule increase in 2023-2024 for settled employee groups.


(TRUE and MISLEADING) The salary increases were true, but it was ACE that asked difficult questions, challenged vague or incomplete answers from the District, and insisted that these conversations don’t happen under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. If Clovis admin is proud of the significant increases in educator salaries over the past few years, the question we ask is why these raises didn’t occur prior to ACE bringing light to the situation and pushing for more competitive pay.


Special Education will cost “an additional $5.7 million over-and-above…designated funds from the unrestricted General Fund because…students’ needs continue to grow faster than funding increases.”


(POSSIBLE but UNVERIFIED) The District’s 2nd Interim Budget Report showed increases in Special Education funding of $1,689,581 (Federal) and $1,368,958 (Other State Revenues) and $2,855,113 (Local Revenues). That comes out to $5.9M and could be what the district is referencing.


Federal funding has always included a commitment to pay 40 percent of the average per-student cost for every special education student. This standard has never been met, and school districts like Clovis are forced to make up the difference. Even so, Clovis reports a Special Education Pupil count of 4,733. That’s only about $1,200 per Special Education student and only around 1% of the entire budget. We asked if the district was implying that this Special Education cost would hurt other students, and the District Executive Cabinet made it clear that no money spent on Special Education students was being taken away from General Ed students. We appreciated this response and will continue to work collaboratively to make sure all CUSD students are getting the support they deserve. ACE is proud to be part of the CTA/NEA network of educators who are advocating for the state and federal governments to fulfill their commitment to Special Needs students.

What It All Means:

The statewide budget will become more clear in the next several months and ACE will continue to monitor and analyze how it will impact our funding in Clovis. We believe that our perspectives are most valuable when we are well informed, so we will always check the claims that come from our district and compare them with the data and expert analysis that we have access to through our affiliation with CTA and NEA.  

Do you have any questions about the Spring Update or our response? Send them to us at and we’ll do our best to get you the information.