A Look at How Recent State Budgets Treat the Public Schools
Last June 22, California’s Capitol presented a comparison created by Michael Hulsizer, head of legislative affairs for the office of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, of the state’s general fund revenue growth and public school spending from July 1, 1998 through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2011.
That comparison was based on the revenue estimates used by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his revised May budget proposal.
Hulsizer has created a new comparison using the numbers contained in the final budget signed October 8 – a record 100 days late.
As Hulsizer notes, the tallies change, in some areas “quite significantly.”
In large measure, this is because lawmakers rejected some $5 billion in general fund spending cuts the GOP governor called for in May budget plan.
Another reason is because lawmakers elected to use higher revenue estimates by the Legislative Analyst boosting the expected amount of general revenue this year by $1.4 billion.
However, again to quote Hulsizer, public schools and community colleges continue to “to experience disproportionate levels of ongoing spending cuts.”
Since the February 2009 mid-year budget “correction,” Hulsizer points out that schools and community colleges:
*Represent 48 percent of the cuts made, $14.9 billion of $31 billion.
*Received 48 percent of the cuts — up from 41 percent from the May numbers — of the in the final budget for this fiscal year, $4.1 billion of $8.4 billion.
Here’s how increases in spending for schools compare to the increase in generl fund revenues and non-school state spending over the past 13 years:
Now a comparison of spending growth for the past seven years.
School spending increases versus other areas of the state budget over 13 years:
And, finally, over the past seven years:
On November 5, the Legislative Analyst released a 63-page explication of the budget for the current fiscal year, cataloguing reductions in public spending. How schools fared begins on Page 17.
Among the points made in the report:
More than $8 billion in payments by the state to schools and community colleges are deferred to the following fiscal year. That means the first $8 billion schools and community colleges receive in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2011 will pay for services the districts provided the prior year.
By suspending Proposition 98, whose formulas dictate the level of support for public schools, the state now has an obligation to pay back $9.6 billion of the money shorted schools over the past several budget cycles.
A formula that gauges the condition of the state’s general fund determines how much of that obligation is paid off each year.
Given the state’s fiscal straits and a budget shortfall estimated in December 2009 by the analyst of $21.3 billion in the next fiscal year, it seems unlikely much of the $9.6 billion will be sent to schools right away.
Filed under: Budget and Economy
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