Budget FAQs - General

SFUSD Budget FAQs - General

Where does funding come from for SFUSD?

SFUSD’s budget comes from the state of California (state funding), the City and County of San Francisco (local funding), and the federal government (federal funding).

What’s the difference between local, state and federal funding?

Local funding comes from the City and County of San Francisco. It comes out of San Francisco’s budget, voter-approved parcel tax measures, and other voter-approved sources. About 25% of SFUSD’s total budget comes from local funding. 

State funding comes from the State of California. The majority of SFUSD’s budget comes from state funding. Most state funding is determined by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The majority of the LCFF is based on a district’s Average Daily Attendance (ADA). The LCFF also provides more funding for districts serving high-needs students. Each district must adopt a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) to show how the district will spend the additional funds to support their high-needs students. Additional state funding comes from specific grants and allocations and from California lottery funds. About 70% of SFUSD’s total budget comes from state funding.

Federal funding comes from the United States government. All SFUSD’s federal funding must go to support specific programs, such as child nutrition or special education. About 5% of SFUSD’s total budget comes from federal funding.

What is the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)?

California’s LCFF, enacted in 2013–14, gives school districts serving high-needs students more funds in the form of supplemental and concentration grants, based on the number and percentages of high-needs students they serve. As part of the LCFF, school districts are required to adopt Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which are plans to show how districts will spend the supplemental funds to support their high-needs students. Each year, parents, students, labor partners, and community members are given the opportunity to provide feedback and help shape SFUSD’s LCAP.

How does SFUSD decide how much money each school gets?

SFUSD determines the starting point for each school’s budget based on an estimate of each school’s enrollment for the fall. This estimate is the primary way the district determines the amount of staff required at each school. The district also allocates funds based on specific programs, focal student populations (for instance, students from low socio-economic households, multilingual learners, and special education, as well as foster and homeless youth), and expenses for materials, supplies, and activities. 

Once these base allocations have been made, school principals, School Site Council members, parent advisory committee representatives, community partners, and parents/guardians of focal student populations meet during the annual School Planning Summit to review their school’s priorities and discuss how to fund them with their allocated budget.

Why can’t we use money from x for y instead?

SFUSD’s total operating budget is divided into unrestricted funds and restricted funds. Money in unrestricted funds can be reassigned from one category to another if needed. Unrestricted funds go toward school-based supports, including employee salary and benefit costs. However, money in restricted funds has been earmarked for specific programs or goals. Because of this, money in restricted funds cannot be reassigned to another category or program.

For example, money from federal grants for special education can only be used for special education. 

Why does SFUSD submit multiple interim budget reports?

Typically, we have four significant state mandated budget actions each year. After the adoption of the budget by July 1 of each year, the first interim is a review of the financials as of October 31. The second interim is the second time we review as of January 31. The last one is the estimated actual along with the adoption of the budget, which must happen by July 1. 

What are county functions?

SFUSD is a single district county, which is unusual. The County Office of Education oversees SFUSD’s budget, while also operating a set of county schools in service of San Francisco students and families.

Who sets and approves the budget?

Budget development is a process that starts with funding from the state of California. The January state budget determines how much money school districts will receive the following year. After that, SFUSD starts to plan how to allocate the money it will receive from state, federal, and local sources. There are many layers of budget development after SFUSD knows how much money it is expected to receive. District leadership, individual schools, and oversight bodies are all part of this work. Ultimately, the Board of Education approves and adopts the budget by July 1 of each year, after holding a first and second public reading during the month of June.

How do staff, families, and community members give feedback on the budget?

Staff, families, and community members can give feedback on the budget at a number of levels. The annual School Planning Summit is designed to gather feedback from school staff, families, and community members for individual school budgets. 

On a districtwide level, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Advisory Committee  is composed of SFUSD staff, families, and community members. The LCAP Advisory Committee shares recommendations and feedback to SFUSD leaders and the Board of Education at the 1st Reading of the Budget and LCAP in June before final approval at the 2nd Reading Board meeting.

Where can I find SFUSD’s approved budgets?

The Budget and LCAP webpage has SFUSD’s approved budgets as well as additional information that is available to families, staff, and the public.

This page was last updated on May 31, 2024