Legislative Analyst’s Office: School Facilities

Adopt Governor’s January proposal to continue requiring school districts to offer surplus property first to charter schools but include certain requirements relating to the subsequent sale or lease of such property. Reject Governor’s proposal to extend rules reducing the consequences when districts use proceeds from the sale of surplus property purchased with local funds for nonfacility purposes.

via School Facilities.

EdSource Today: LAO would cut money from basic aid districts, other programs Brown would protect


The Legislative Analyst’s Office has added its endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for sweeping school finance reform, praising the simplicity and clarity of Brown’s funding formula and the “reasonable” amounts of extra money he’d direct to high-needs students. At the same time, in an analysis released last week, the LAO is suggesting a half-dozen changes to the plan, including two that would stir up controversies that Brown woud just as soon avoid.

via LAO would cut money from basic aid districts, other programs Brown would protect – by John Fensterwald.

Dan Walters: School finance plan creates coalitions

Whenever the governor or the Legislature proposes a change in how California’s public schools are financed, someone almost immediately creates a spreadsheet that shows which districts would gain money and which would lose.

The losers quickly coalesce to oppose any formulaic change and that usually dooms the proposal, regardless of its merits.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/25/5214170/dan-walters-school-finance-plan.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: School finance plan creates coalitions.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Restructuring the K-12 Funding System

The Governor proposes to restructure the way the state allocates funding to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education. We believe the Governor’s proposed new formulas would address many problems inherent in the state’s existing K-12 funding approach, and we recommend the Legislature adopt most components of the proposal. Unlike the current system, the proposed formulas would be simple and transparent, fund similar students similarly, and link funding to the cost of educating students. We believe the proposed approach could be improved, however, with some notable modifications. We suggest a number of specific changes to better align funding levels with anticipated costs, eliminate irrational funding differences across districts, simplify the formulas, and ensure important state priorities are addressed.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Restructuring the K-12 Funding System.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal

The Governor’s 2013‑14 budget includes a plan to implement the provisions of Proposition 39, which increases state corporate tax (CT) revenues and requires that half of these revenues for a five-year period be used for energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The Governor proposes to count all associated revenues toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges. The Governor also proposes to designate all energy-related Proposition 39 funds to schools ($400.5 million) and community colleges ($49.5 million) in 2013‑14 and for the following four years. The Governor’s proposal to count all Proposition 39 revenues toward the Proposition 98 calculation is a significant departure from our longstanding view that revenues are to be excluded from the Proposition 98 calculation if the Legislature cannot use them for general purposes. In addition, the proposal excludes other eligible projects besides schools and community colleges (such as public hospitals) that potentially could achieve greater energy benefits. Further, the proposal does not coordinate Proposition 39 funding with the state’s existing energy efficiency programs. In view of the above concerns, we recommend the Legislature exclude from the Proposition 98 calculation all Proposition 39 revenues required to be used on energy-related projects and not count spending from these revenues as Proposition 98 expenditures. In addition, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Energy Commission (CEC) to administer a competitive grant process in which all public agencies, including schools and community colleges, could apply and receive funding based on identified facility needs.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: The 2013-14 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis

The Governor’s 2013-14 budget provides $56.2 billion in total Proposition 98 funding–a $2.7 billion (5 percent) increase from the revised current-year level. The Governor dedicates new monies to paying down school and community college deferrals, transitioning to a new K-12 funding formula, restructuring adult education, funding Proposition 39 energy projects for schools and community colleges, and adding two mandates to the schools mandates block grant. The Governor also proposes various changes and consolidations relating to special education funding. Though we think the Governor’s basic approach of dedicating roughly half of new funding to paying down existing obligations and the other half to building up base support is reasonable, we have concerns with many of his specific Proposition 98 proposals. In the areas of adult education, Proposition 39 energy projects, mandates, and special education, we provide alternatives for the Legislature ‘s consideration. Our assessment of an alternative to the Governor’s Proposition 39 proposal can be found both in the Proposition 98 report and in a standalone budget brief–2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor’s Proposition 39 Proposal.

via The 2013-14 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis.

EdSource Today: LAO has ‘serious concerns’ with governor’s Prop. 98 calculation


The State Legislative Analyst’s Office is calling into question the legality of Gov. Brown’s proposal to count new revenue from Proposition 39 toward funding for education. In a report released Thursday, the LAO warns that the governor’s plan for the initiative, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, violates the intent of the law.

Proposition 39, which won with 61 percent vote last November, is projected to raise up to half a billion dollars in revenue this fiscal year and as much as a billion per year starting next year for clean energy projects. It does this by changing the tax formula for multistate corporations doing business in California to one used by most other states.

via LAO has ‘serious concerns’ with governor’s Prop. 98 calculation – by Kathryn Baron.

SacBee: California fiscal analyst calls for more efficiency in higher education

By Kevin Yamamura

As California receives more tax revenue, the state’s top fiscal analyst Tuesday questioned Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to send more money to public universities without demanding specific improvements.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office portrayed the state’s higher education systems – and particularly its elite University of California campuses – as inefficient programs that must do more to cut costs.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/13/5186018/california-fiscal-analyst-calls.html#mi_rss=Education#storylink=cpy

via California fiscal analyst calls for more efficiency in higher education.

EdSource Today: Districts must return to 180-day instructional year by 2015-16


Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature agree: The state should again require a minimum 180-day school year, starting in 2015-16.

Brown confirmed his view in a section of  the 154-page education “trailer bill,” the supplemental legislation accompanying the state budget, that the administration released last week.

The Legislature reduced the minimum number of instructional days to 175 in 2008, amid severe cuts in school funding, in order to allow school districts to shut down operations and use staff furloughs instead of additional layoffs. Lawmakers set an expiration date at the end of the 2014-15 school year. Brown is recommending the same timetable.

via Districts must return to 180-day instructional year by 2015-16 – by John Fensterwald.

Dan Walters: California pension funds still face huge liabilities

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has reported – with no small elation – that it has recouped virtually all of the $95 billion in investment losses it sustained during the global financial crisis.

A steadfast investment strategy and a generally rising stock market are responsible for the recovery, CalPERS says.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/28/5144933/dan-walters-california-pension.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: California pension funds still face huge liabilities.

SacBee — Opinion: Viewpoints: California must confront how money is allocated to schools

By Vernon Billy, Peter Manzo and Ted Lempert

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/10/5104098/california-must-confront-how-money.html#mi_rss=Opinion#storylink=cpy

In California we talk a lot about money for schools. Unfortunately, that’s because there just isn’t enough of it, and school budgets have taken a real beating in recent years.

Perhaps a signal that the tide is shifting, voters passed Proposition 30 in November to stave off drastic cuts to California schools and the Legislative Analyst’s Office cautiously predicts moderate revenue growth in the next few years. While this is good news, those of us committed to improving student achievement and restoring excellence in all California schools will continue to fight for more resources because the need is so great.

However, there is another facet of this issue we must address as well: how funding is allocated to schools. For decades, layers of restrictions, requirements and new priorities have been added to the system, weighing it down and tying the hands of local educators and administrators. Today, it is a labyrinthine structure comprising dozens of separate categorical funding streams, each with different strings.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/10/5104098/california-must-confront-how-money.html#mi_rss=Opinion#storylink=cpy

via Viewpoints: California must confront how money is allocated to schools.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: Overview of Special Education in California

Recent K-12 Education Publications, Handouts and Budget Recommendations

Special education is the catch-all term that encompasses the specialized services that schools provide for disabled students. Developing a more thorough understanding of how California’s disabled students are served is the first step towards improving their educational outcomes. Toward this end, our primer is intended to provide the Legislature and public with an overview of special education in California—conveying information on special education laws, affected students, services, funding, and academic outcomes.

via Overview of Special Education in California.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: Cal Facts: 2013

Recent K-12 Education Publications, Handouts and Budget Recommendations

With a state as big, as populous, and as complex as California, it would be impossible to quickly summarize how its economy or state budget works. The purpose of Cal Facts is more modest. By providing various “snapshot” pieces of information, we hope to provide the reader with a broad overview of public finance and program trends in the state. Cal Facts consists of a series of charts and tables which address questions frequently asked of our office.

via Cal Facts: 2013.

EdSource Today: Districts pay more for special ed, feds underfund


California school districts are shouldering a bigger share of the cost of special education, reflecting a further shift of the burden from state and federal governments, according to a new report from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. Between the 2004-05 school year and 2010-11, the local portion of special education services grew from 32 percent to 39 percent. During that same period, the percentage paid by the federal and state governments fell. School districts now pay more than twice what the federal government puts in, or about $3.4 billion a year. The LAO report says the feds have never paid their full share under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

via Districts pay more for special ed, feds underfund – by Kathryn Baron.

The Educated Guess: Legislative support elusive for adult ed funding plan

Additional reporting by Kathryn Baron

California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office says the state’s embattled adult education system needs a dedicated and permanent funding stream that can’t be appropriated for other school programs when the state budget goes south.

Restructuring California’s Adult Education System calls for the state Legislature to restore adult education as a categorical program. Adult Ed advocates lauded the proposal, even though it relies on funding that is speculative and requires a commitment from legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown that they have so far not shown.

Adult schools are an important strand in the state’s safety net, offering community-based classes to some of the state’s neediest adults, ranging from the unemployed, the disabled, and the elderly to ex-offenders re-entering society, immigrants trying to learn English and become citizens, and high school dropouts seeking to earn their GEDs.

via Legislative support elusive for adult ed funding plan – by Susan Frey.