How did COVID-19 affect San Diego school districts’ bottom lines?

Most school districts ended last school year with surpluses, largely thanks to federal and state COVID aid. Still, five out of the county’s 42 school districts logged an overall deficit in their financial reports. Two districts will need to make budget cuts in future years to meet reserve requirements. Some charter schools ended the year with zero or negative end balances.

Billions of federal and state COVID aid dollars have been doled out to California school districts and charter schools. The money has been a temporary boon to districts, many of which coped with falling state funding over the past several years due to declining enrollment.

The COVID money has helped many districts lessen their deficit spending — which is when you spend more in a year than you receive in revenues — and it helped them pay for ongoing costs, like employee salaries and benefits.

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