The City of Irvine’s Budget Will Not Include Cuts to Irvine Schools

Recently, City of Irvine staff proposed that, due to a projected budget shortfall, the City should consider cutting its support for Irvine’s public schools and reduce its spending on public safety.

I strongly opposed these cuts.

While I am concerned about the City’s fiscal health and our budget — a topic I will address soon in a future blog post — I do not believe that it is in the best interests of Irvine’s residents to curtail our support for education and public safety.

Due to my opposition and that of other City Council Members, as well as conversations between myself and Irvine Unified School District Board Members, and IUSD and City staff, reductions to school funding will no longer be proposed for the upcoming City budget.

Here is the official announcement:

“A special message about the City of Irvine’s $80 million in cash grants and program support for Irvine schools since 2008.

The City of Irvine has proudly provided cash grants to benefit Irvine schools and students for 13 years. The City uses vehicles such as the Educational Partnership Fund (EPF) program, established in 2006, and the Challenge Match Grant Program, created in 2008, to facilitate support.

From 2006 through June 2019, the City has provided $32 million in direct cash grants benefiting Irvine schools. The City is continuing to commit another $4 million annually for the next two fiscal years, for a total cash contribution of $40 million to benefit Irvine schools.

Beyond cash support, the City provides over $10 million annually in direct and indirect services to Irvine schools and students. The City of Irvine has provided over $80 million in direct and indirect support benefiting Irvine schools since 2008.

Indirect programs include school resource officers at middle and high schools; D.A.R.E. instruction so that elementary school students refrain from drug use and bullying and practice responsible internet use; crossing guards; middle school and high school youth action teams; and joint field and pool use. The two Partnership for Educational Excellence Programs grew from $1.5 million per year to $4 million per year in direct cash grants. The City Council established this funding because schools are a priority; voters affirmed it, and the Irvine City Council continued this unique funding tradition after the voter measures expired in 2016.

The City remains committed to supporting Irvine schools. The City is also committed to its long-term financial planning, transitioning to a two-year budget and a five-year financial plan. The City’s financial condition shows a structural deficit. The executive management team values transparent discussions early in the budget planning cycle. This includes open dialogue at community meetings, in order to facilitate a proposed balanced budget that meets many needs. City executive management proposed a host of changes and reductions to address the shortfall, including a possible reduction to some of the $10 million in annual support to Irvine schools in order to ensure adequate City and Police services.

While reductions to school funding will no longer be proposed for the upcoming budget, we need to work together to find constructive approaches. The City faces leaner times. We want to ensure our support for Public Safety, which is a top priority for the Council and the community, is not jeopardized. Mutual cooperation and productive communication is critical for effective long-term financial planning that balances community priorities and the City’s budget.”

Thank you to the many Irvine residents and IUSD Board Members who reached out to me and other members of the City Council opposing these cuts.

Our voices have been heard.

Irvine Unified School Board President Paul Bokota Endorses Melissa Fox for Irvine City Council

school

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jason Mills (714) 576-4303

IRVINE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD PRESIDENT PAUL BOKOTA ENDORSES MELISSA FOX FOR IRVINE CITY COUNCIL

mail-01IRVINE, CA   Irvine Community Services Commissioner and City Council candidate Melissa Fox today announced an endorsement from Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Board President Paul A. Bokota. Coming on the heels of Melissa Fox’s recent endorsement by Irvine City Council Member Lynn Schott, the endorsement of IUSD Board President Bokota gives the Fox campaign further momentum going into the final weeks of the campaign.

“As IUSD Board President, and an IUSD parent, I know that the School Board needs allies on the Irvine City Council who care about ensuring Irvine’s tradition of educational excellence,” Bokota said. “Melissa Fox shares my passion for education excellence in Irvine and is committed to helping us continue the success of our Irvine schools.”

“Paul Bokota’s endorsement means a lot to me,” Melissa Fox said, “because I know how hard he works to keep our Irvine schools exceptional. As a member of the City Council, I look forward to working with Paul to support our schools and maintain excellence.”

IUSD Board President Paul A. Bokota was first elected to the Board in November 2012 and was selected to serve as Board President for 2016. Prior to his election, he served on the IUSD Finance Committee for six years, including serving as the chairperson of the Revenue Enhancement Committee.  He is a graduate of Harvard University and the Indiana University School of Law, presently serving as Division Vice-President and Division General Counsel for Spectrum Brands, Inc.

He is currently a candidate for re-election to the IUSD Board and is endorsed by the Irvine Teachers Association (ITA), the Irvine Chapter of the California School Employee Association (CSEA), IUSD Board Member Sharon Wallin, IUSD Board Member Ira Glasky, IUSD Board Member Lauren Brooks, IUSD Board Member Michael Parham, former IUSD Board Member Gavin Huntley-Fenner, former Irvine School Board Member Carolyn McInerney, and Past Chair of the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) Lita Robinow, among many others.

Melissa Fox is an Irvine Community Services Commissioner, attorney, and small business owner in Irvine. To learn more about her campaign for Irvine City Council, visit www.votemelissafox.com.