Some sober words for school boards amid predictions of plenty | EdSource Today

By John Fensterwald

For the first time since the Great Recession, school districts are getting more money this year from the state; some – big beneficiaries of the new Local Control Funding Formula – are getting a lot. And that increase is expected to be larger next year, in one-time and ongoing money, if the Legislative Analyst’s predictions for a rebounding economy are on target.

School finance experts John Gray and Joel Montero, however, injected a cautionary note during a presentation Friday at the California School Boards Association’s annual convention in San Diego.

via Some sober words for school boards amid predictions of plenty | EdSource Today.

LAO projects huge Prop. 98 increase for K-12, community colleges next year | EdSource Today

By John Fensterwald

From gloom to boom, how quickly things change. A resurgent economy and recalculations of revenue from the past two years will leave the state budget with a multi-billion-dollar surplus next year and K-12 schools and community colleges with unexpected billions more to spend, according to a projection that the Legislative Analyst’s Office released on Wednesday.

“The state’s budgetary condition is stronger than at any time in the past decade,” the LAO concluded in its 2014-15 Fiscal Outlook. “The state’s structural deficit – in which ongoing spending commitments were greater than projected revenues – is no more.”

via LAO projects huge Prop. 98 increase for K-12, community colleges next year | EdSource Today.

An Overview of the Local Control Funding Formula: Legislative Analyst’s Office

The LCFF, enacted as part of the 2013-14 budget package, establishes a new uniform funding formula and a new system of academic accountability. The formula replaces revenue limits and most categorical programs with uniform base rates for all pupils and provides significantly more funding for English learner and low-income students. The new system of academic accountability requires school districts and charter schools to publicly report how they will use the funds provided under the formula, as well as establishes a new system of support and intervention support for underperforming school districts and charter schools. While the transition to the LCFF begins in 2013-14, it will take several years before all provisions are fully implemented and districts and charter schools are fully funded to formula targets. Moreover, a number of key decisions have yet to be made regarding the implementation of the new fiscal and academic accountability provisions.

via An Overview of the Local Control Funding Formula.

EdSource Today: School funding will be focus, source of contention, of Brown’s revised budget


Democrats in the Legislature may find themselves at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown on two issues that will factor large when Brown reveals his revised state budget Tuesday: how to spend billions in unanticipated revenue and how to reshape Brown’s sweeping plan for funding K-12 education.

As of now, the state is on target to collect $4.5 billion more than expected in personal income taxes, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Democratic leaders in the Legislature have no shortage of ways they’d like to see that money spent, such as expanding mental health care, restoring adult dental care, eliminating fees for preschool that went into effect this year, and providing more state aid for college students.

via School funding will be focus, source of contention, of Brown’s revised budget – by John Fensterwald.

SacBee Editorial: State must fix liabilities that loom at CalSTRS

The unfunded liability at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is $73 billion currently and growing at the astonishing rate of $17 million per day. If corrective action is not taken – that is, if the state, school districts or teachers don’t contribute more into the fund – CalSTRS could deplete all its assets by 2044.

The spreading red ink at the teachers’ retirement system “may be the state’s most difficult fiscal challenge,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office warned in a recent report.

Read more here:

via Editorial: State must fix liabilities that loom at CalSTRS.

EdSource Today: Legislative Analyst urges conditions on selling property


The Legislative Analyst’s Office is taking issue with Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to remove restrictions limiting how school districts can use money from the sale of district property. The LAO wants to add a condition intended to make a district carefully weigh the option of selling district property to plug a hole in its general operating budget.

Until the recession, with few exceptions, districts had to put money from the sale of district land and buildings into a capital account for building repairs or future construction. But in 2009, to give districts more options to deal with the recession, the Legislature temporarily allowed districts to spend the proceeds from the sale of property purchased entirely with district funds on one-time general operating expenses. These are defined as “costs that are nonrecurring in nature and do not commit the school district to incur costs in the future.” Only eight districts have taken advantage of the offer so far, according to LAO analyst Paul Golaszewski. San Bruno Park School District in San Mateo County was among them and spent $12 million from the sale of a shuttered school site  on textbooks, technology upgrades and non-capital equipment – among the uses permitted, according to an interim report by the State Office of Public School Construction.

via Legislative Analyst urges conditions on selling property – by John Fensterwald.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: Independent Study and Technology-Based Instruction

Adopt Governor’s January proposal to remove various IS requirements but modify to: (1) require students enrolled in an asynchronous course to be part of an IS program, (2) explicitly link funding rates to achieving student learning outcomes, (3) require measures of satisfactory educational progress be aligned with the state content standards, and (4) implement the proposal more gradually.

via Independent Study and Technology-Based Instruction.