Legislative Analyst Recommends Giving Public Schools Less Funding to Reduce Cuts Elsewhere

Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget gives public schools $1.7 billion more than he is required under state funding formulas, causing reductions of a like amount in other state programs, according to the Legislative Analyst’s recently released assessment of the Democratic governor’s new spending plan.

The analyst encourages lawmakers, who face a June 15 constitutional deadline to send Brown a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, to “reconsider the governor’s overall May Revision package – a package that spends more on schools and community colleges while simultaneously cutting other areas of the state budget, primarily health, social services, courts ad state employee compensation more deeply.”

Earlier in May, Brown said the gap over the next 14 months between state revenues and spending commitments had increased from an estimated $9.2 billion in January to $15.7 billion.

Under the complicated funding formulas of Proposition 98, approved by voters in November 1988, the drop in state revenues requires a higher level of support for schools in the upcoming fiscal year.

But one of the chief reasons the minimum amount owed to schools by the state increases so much is because the Democratic governor calculates the amount in a way that has never been done in the nearly 25 years Proposition 98 has been on the books.

Doing the math Brown’s way boosts school funding $1.2 billion above the amount in his January budget plan.

Calculating the amount owed to public schools in the traditional manner would cause the minimum level of support to fall $500 million below that contained in Brown’s January budget.

That means “$1.7 billion in proposed May Revision cuts to other areas of the budget would not have been necessary,” the analyst says.

The analyst recommends lawmakers adopt the less generous calculation for schools to free up money to reduce cuts in other parts of state government.

It’s unclear whether they will do so.



Filed under: Budget and Economy

1 Comment »

  1. Our public schools are owed billions upon billions of dollars due to money that has been siphoned away from it over the years as well as deferrals. The people spoke with Prop 98, but the legislature seems to think that our schools are another kind of bank — except they take money from the schools and never pay interest. The schools, however, are forced to take loans AND pay interest. Pay schools the billions you owe, then come talk to me.

    Comment by Linus — 5.22.2012 @ 8:35 pm

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