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Based on the May Revision of the State Budget, below is the most current information available to us at this time. 

The Governor’s May Revision paints a bleak picture of funding for school districts. One might conclude from partially reading the May Revision proposal that current year (2019-2020) and next year (2020-2021) Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) were maintained; however, the May Revise reality is that LCFF revenues will not increase but rather suffer severe reductions of 8 percent per year for several years. In addition, state categorical funds are likely to be cut by 50 percent. Categorical funds are used for programs such as Career Technical Education (CTE) and the After School program at many of our schools.

Should Lodi USD maintain 2019-2020 expenditure levels, these proposed revenue cuts will cause the District’s Fund 01 (‘General Fund’) Ending Fund Balance to decline by more than $26,000,000 versus revenue received (including the deferral of the June funds to July) in the 2019-2020 school year. The District’s Ending Fund Balance would drop from $62,000,000+ to $36,000,000 in one year’s time under this scenario. This occurs in spite of the addition of $6,200,000 of one-time CARES funding and an increase of ~$2,200,000 in the District’s AB602 (Special Education) funding. California school districts are also hoping that the Governor will follow through on promises to use the state’s $4.4 billion in CARES funding to help reduce some of the severity of the proposed cuts but no further information on that specific funding mechanism is available at this time.

The May Revise does nothing to soften the blows in future years either. The deep cuts proposed in the 2020-2021 school year carry forward into the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years, except without any proposed CARES Act-type funding offset. Due to the Lodi USD Board of Education's outstanding fiscal management, the District could possibly maintain its current programs in the 2020-2021 school year. The Board has indicated that keeping services for students in place, which in turn keeps staff employed, is the main priority for the 2020-2021 school year. However, planning would need to begin for substantial reductions in the 2021-2022 school year.

Given the May Revise proposal, Lodi USD would need to cut at least $26,000,000+ for the 2021-2022 year and borrow $10,000,000 from its own Debt Service Fund (Fund 56) in order to maintain positive certification. Districts that do not maintain positive certification are in jeopardy of a state take over, which eliminates local control. Even with this level of cuts and borrowing, the District would still need to cut further in the 2022-2023 school year, should there be no improvement in the school funding picture. For point of reference, should the District maintain its current programs in 2020-2021, a total of $37,500,000 in future years would be required to stabilize the decline in the District’s Ending Fund Balances at roughly 10 percent of all expenditures.

Business Services will continually provide budget updates to the Lodi USD Board of Education leading to and through the June 16, 2020 Budget presentation.




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The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has announced Elkhorn School (Elkhorn) as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This year, 362 schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Elkhorn is among only 30 schools in California to receive this designation. 

The Department recognizes selected schools in one of two categories, which are based on student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates. Elkhorn was deemed an “Exemplary High Performing School.” This category is dedicated to schools who are “among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.”

“Lodi Unified is extremely proud of this well-deserved designation. Elkhorn teachers provide a rigorous academic program focused on meeting the needs of each student. The dedication of all staff members makes Elkhorn a nurturing and welcoming learning environment. We are fortunate to have a Board of Education that is committed to providing this unique service to our community,” said Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer.

A choice school, Elkhorn serves over 250 students in grades 4-8 in the Gifted and Talented Education Program. The school follows the National Standards in Gifted and Talented Education in their educational practices, which allows for powerful learner-driven experiences. Elkhorn strives to develop student scholars through means of peer collaboration in all subject areas. 

Elkhorn’s mission is to “provide a rigorous curriculum by means of differentiating instruction, compacting, enriching, and accelerating the curriculum to foster academic and social growth.”

“Our staff implements an innovative approach to educating our students. We want them to be life-long learners. Elkhorn is dedicated to meeting the needs of all gifted learners,” said Elkhorn Principal Patricia White. 

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education officials in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education.

“I have been honored to serve as the Principal of Elkhorn since 2014. Our school community is truly remarkable and I am thrilled that the hard work of our teachers, staff, and students has been recognized on a national scale,” White shared. 

On November 14 and 15, 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and the Department will celebrate with the selected schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

This is yet another exciting designation to add to the school’s list of accomplishments. Elkhorn received the California Distinguished School Award in 2018 and was a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008.

To learn more about Elkhorn School's designation, please visit:

Oakwood Elementary was recognized by the California Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Coalition for their successful PBIS implementation at the gold level. This reflects excellence in the measurement of fidelity and implementing core features of PBIS.

Lodi, CA (June 11, 2019)—One of Lodi USD’s very own was named San Joaquin County Teacher of the Year for 2019. Jeff Simpfenderfer, a Liberty High teacher, first received Lodi USD’s Teacher of the Year award this spring. Placed in the running for the countywide competition, Simpfenderfer was named County Teacher of the Year during the Ninth Annual San Joaquin County Classified Employee and Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration Dinner held on Thursday, June 6.

As the named County Teacher of the Year, Simpfenderfer received $1,000 from Premier Community Credit Union and a nomination for the State for California Teacher of the Year.

“We greatly appreciate Mr. Simpfenderfer and believe that he is well deserving of this honor. His work with students is exceptional and we are proud to have him in the Lodi USD family,” said Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer.

Simpfenderfer was originally nominated by Liberty High’s Principal, Tamara Dillon. His nomination was supported by recommendation letters from Tiffany Wood, a counselor at Liberty High, and Cynthia Close, Co-Chair of the English Department at Liberty High.

Referred to as “Mr. S” by his students, Dillon shared, “you would be hard-pressed to find an educator [who] cares more about students and their learning than [Simpfenderfer does]. [He] is honed in to his students’ needs, both academic and emotionally. He finds relatable literature to show them they are not alone and that books can help them understand their world.”

A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, Simpfenderfer taught for 11 years at Sierra Christian High School in Rocklin, CA. Simpfenderfer went on to attend the University of Phoenix to obtain his teaching credential. Once in Lodi USD, Simpfenderfer taught at Delta Sierra Middle for one year and four years at Lodi Adult School. Simpfenderfer now teaches English, horticulture, and family living at Liberty High.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Simpfenderfer serves as the technology lead for Liberty High and a mentor for a teacher at Lodi Adult School.

“It made sense for me to be the one to help [the teacher]. I enjoy being able to give suggestions, to reassure, and then see [the teacher] really excel in [the] classroom,” said Simpfenderfer.

Dillon isn’t surprised by Simpfenderfer’s willingness to help others.

“[He] is not only an incredible teacher, he is an all-around incredible human being. For many students, he’s the teacher of a lifetime,” said Dillon.

Wood, a school counselor and colleague of Simpfenderfer’s, echoed Dillon’s sentiments.

“He is the most beloved teacher among our students… He makes his students feel safe, supported, and loved. He has a wonderful passion for teaching and goes above and beyond for his students’ successes,” said Wood.

Next up for Simpfenderfer is the planning and preparation for the California Teacher of the Year Ceremony, which will take place later this summer.

“I’m excited and proud to represent both Liberty High and Lodi USD at the State level. I look forward to it,” said Simpfenderfer.

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