By John Fensterwald
Advocates for school districts are still hoping they can persuade legislative leaders and the governor to repeal the limit on how much money districts can annually keep in reserve. So far, though, they’ve struck out.
Last week, on a party-line vote, the majority Democrats on the Assembly Education Committee rejected Assembly Bill 1048, sponsored by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin. The bill would have rescinded the reserve cap, which has yet to go into effect. Democrats and Republicans disagreed on how much of a problem, if any, the ceiling on reserves will create. A Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, failed to move out of that body’s Education Committee.
School management groups were incensed over a last-minute deal last year in which Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown attached the cap on district reserves to the bill containing legal language associated with the state budget, called the trailer bill, without a hearing. The school management groups say they didn’t learn about the cap until shortly before the vote on the budget.