Commission Meeting Summary for February 14, 2019
Highlights from the February 14 Commission meeting include: an update on Long Term Financial Projection (LTFP) and the Mid-Year Budget Adjustment; a presentation on Impact Framework System Change Learnings and launch of the Strategic Plan Review, Reflect, Refine, Results (SPR4) Process; a farewell to Commissioner Wendy Smith and approval of funds from the Center for the Study of Social Policy to support Project DULCE.
The Board of Commissioners meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1:30 p.m., unless otherwise indicated, at the First 5 LA offices. All meetings are open to the public, and agendas are posted on our website at least 72 hours in advance. Please check our Commission Calendar for all updated meeting information and click here for Commission meeting packets, agendas, summaries and meeting notes.
In a presentation that reflects changing financial circumstances and informs future strategic direction for First 5 LA, staff provided the Board with an update on the Mid-Year Budget Adjustment and an updated 5-year LTFP outlook.
The Mid-Year Budget Adjustment process is an opportunity to refine the program and operating cost estimates contained within the $139.99 million budget for fiscal year 2018-19 due to changing circumstances and updated information. During the presentation, staff informed the Board that the recommended total organization adjustment is an increase of $2.3 million, or 1.6 percent.
This figure is a result of a $2.3 million upward adjustment to program estimates, as well as cost-neutral adjustments to the operating budget. The biggest driver in the request for additional program funds is the Early Care and Education Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) contract adjustment with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), increasing First 5 LA’s KRA-LAUSD support by $1.6 million in FY 2018-19.
KRA provides insights into the importance of early education and highlights vulnerabilities in crucial developmental domains such as cognitive development, social competence, emotional maturity, and communication skills. As of 2018, seven strategic partners — including school districts, municipalities, and community anchor agencies — are participating in KRA data collection and stakeholder engagement.
The Mid-Year Budget Adjustment will be submitted to the Board for approval at the March 14 Commission meeting.
The five-year LTFP outlook is a tool for informing future strategic decisions that determine the future direction of the Commission, based on projected available resources, and was informed by the FY 2018-19 Mid-Year adjusted budget which represents the first year in the five-year outlook.
During the LTFP presentation, staff informed the Board that tobacco tax revenue from Prop. 10, which primarily funds First 5 LA, is coming in lower than projected by the state. Additionally, backfill revenue from Prop. 56 is expected to be lower than expected. First 5 LA’s fund balance is also quickly declining.
Meanwhile, 2015-2020 Strategic Plan spending estimates for the four year period of fiscal year 2018-19 through FY 21-22 are up by $9.8 million, or 2.34 percent compared to the similar period in FY 17-18’s LTFP. These estimated spending increases include funds for the four priority outcome areas: Family Supports, Health Systems, Communities and Early Learning. Further details on the Mid-Year Budget Adjustment and LTFP are available here.
With expenditures continuing to exceed revenues, and a rapidly declining fund balance, revenue and expenditures are anticipated to intersect in fiscal year 2027-28.
While the financial projections had a silver lining in that people are smoking less, Commissioner Romalis Taylor and Commissioner and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl both pointed to the importance of sustainability, due diligence and innovation in the agency’s future.
This led into a presentation on Impact Framework System Change Learnings and launch of the Strategic Plan Review, Reflect, Refine, Results (SPR4) Process, which will be used to align the direction of First 5 LA’s work to these fiscal realities. SPR4 recognizes the importance of building on the foundational work of the last three years of First 5 LA’s 2015–2020 Strategic Plan.
To accomplish this, First 5 LA is developing an Impact Framework — a tool to show how our program, policy and advocacy work contributes to better outcomes for all children. The Impact Framework will help us track and monitor those outcomes and ensure we remain responsive to the needs of L.A. County’s children.
The SPR4 Process will build from the Impact Framework and the targeted Results for Children and Families. The SPR4 planning process will focus on reviewing, reflecting and refining the current Strategic Plan with a focus on results.
During the presentation, Board members were presented with Impact Framework Phase 1 Findings, the next steps for Impact Framework, the critical success factors for SPR4 and a road map of the proposed process. The Commission discussed further refinement of the Investment Guidelines, revisions for which will be presented at the March Board meeting.
In the only action, the Board approved receiving $200,000 over the next two years from the Center for the Study of Social Policy to implement Project DULCE, an innovative clinical intervention model designed to address infant/family risks and needs at the earliest possible stage, and to partner with families to build strengths and capacities that foster optimal child health and development starting at birth. First 5 LA partnered with CSSP to pilot Project DULCE in four clinic sites across L.A. County. Click here for more information.
Finally, the Board bade a fond farewell to Commissioner Wendy Smith, who represented the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families. Her replacement has not been named. Smith, who served on the Commission since 2017, was thanked with a cake, warm words of gratitude from fellow commissioners and a “word cloud” citing her influence and impact from First 5 LA staff, below, which says it all.