CA Education Policy News Update

May 23rd, 2011

CA Education Policy News Update

By: Mona Vakilifathi | 10:05 AM

Brown’s May Revised Budget Proposal
 
Last week, as summarized by the Fox & Hounds Daily blog in two blog posts here and here, Governor Brown’s budget revise was released, shortly after the release of the GOP budget proposal. In addition, Brown’s revised budget plan was released on May 15th, the same date as the deadline to issue teacher layoff notices. As reported by The San Bernardino Sun and The San Jose Mercury News, school districts must await the state’s final budget plan for the next fiscal year before determining the future for the 20,187 state teachers who received a pink slip this spring.
 
According to The Sacramento Bee, the KQED Capital Notes blog, the L.A. Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Contra Costa Times, Capitol Weekly, The Bay Citizen, the Daily News, and The Press Enterprise, Brown’s revised budget plan allocates most of the unexpected $6.6 billion to K-12 education to begin addressing the state’s deficit of Proposition 98, it also provides friendlier incentives to businesses, and offers similar cuts to health care and higher education as proposed in January 2011.
 
As for the tax extensions, as reported by the aforementioned articles and HealthyCal.org, Brown slightly decreased the tax extensions but continues to insist that a special election should be conducted to determine whether an all-cuts budget is necessary. In addition, Brown responds to claims that the new $6.6 billion tax revenue makes the tax extensions unnecessary, by insisting that the tax extensions are still necessary to address the state’s long-term deficit, as reported by The Sacramento Bee in two articles here and here.
 
May Revised Budget Proposal – The Details
 
The details of the Revised Budget Summary can be found on the California Department of Finance website here. In particular, the site offers a summary and a detailed version of the revised budget proposal.
 
K-12 Education: The revised budget proposal would increase funding for K-12 education by $3 billion, totaling $66 billion, as stated by the summary of revisions made to K-12 education found here. As reported by several news articles, most of the state’s unexpected tax revenue would be allocated to K-12 education to begin compensating for the absence of $8.2 billion of Proposition 98 funding in recent years. Another noteworthy proposed change includes the elimination of funding for CalPADS and CalTIDES, two of the state’s databases that were created to track student and teacher performance respectively.
 
Higher Education: The new proposal offers a smaller increase, resulting in a total of $22.7 billion for the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University system (CSU), the University of California (UC), and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The summary of revisions made to higher education can be found here. The cuts for these entities continue to be those stated in the original budget proposal: $500 million in cuts for the UC and the CSU, and $400 million in cuts for the CCC. Under this proposal, the CCC is expected to receive a large increase of funding if the state government is successful in addressing the Proposition 98 deficit. (Proposition 98 also benefits the CCC in addition to K-12 education.)
 
In addition, the May revise also recommends cutting forty-three state commissions, one of them being the California Post-Secondary Education Commission (CPEC). The commission was created to address interests and issues pertaining to higher education in California, but groups like the LAO contest whether the commission has been successful in carrying out its mission. California Watch provides more information regarding this recommendation as well as details of the opponents to the cut of the CPEC.
 
May Revised Budget Proposal – Initial Reaction
 
In response to the revised budget, Brown intends to continue persuading state Republicans to allow for a state special election this summer, as mentioned by the Contra Costa Times, HealthyCal.org, The O.C. Register, and the L.A. Times. In a recent blog post, the Fox &Hounds Daily blog criticizes Brown for this tactic because his previous efforts did little to sway these resistant legislators.
 
Regarding the timing of the special election, the revised budget proposal requests a special election as soon as possible. However, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg disagrees and insists that the special election should be delayed as much as possible, stating that if an election should occur, it should happen next year along the normal election cycle in 2012 thus providing a “buffer year” for schools and other state services this upcoming fiscal year.
 
Last Thursday, according to the L.A. Times in two articles here and here, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released their recommendation against having a special election, stating that pursuing a special election would create great financial uncertainty for school districts and local government as the new fiscal year approaches. The Sacramento Bee adds that the LAO recommends state legislators to consider other combinations of tax revenue and budget cuts than merely agreeing or disagreeing with Brown’s budget proposal. This recommendation, in addition to other policy recommendations regarding the state budget, can be found at the LAO website here. The Thoughts on Public Education blog details the LAO’s recommendations regarding Brown’s education budget.
 
Want more information about any of these stories or about a story that was not reported in this post? Feel free to leave a request in the “Comments” section below.