Dan Walters: Despite tax increase, California’s fiscal woes remain

Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign for Proposition 30, his sales and income tax increase, more or less promised voters that it would solve the state’s chronic budget problems.

It was a somewhat specious contention, although apparently an effective one, since voters did pass the measure.

Scarcely a week later, though, we were told by the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, that there’s still a deficit in the current fiscal year’s budget, albeit a relatively small one.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/16/4990212/dan-walters-despite-tax-increase.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: Despite tax increase, California’s fiscal woes remain.

The Educated Guess: Soon no more seeing red in state education funding, says LAO

Funding for California schools through Proposition 98 is heading up, even though the state’s general fund will still be facing a small deficit over the next couple of years. That’s according to the latest budget forecast released yesterday by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

“Our numbers reflect growth in Proposition 98 of a couple of billion each year, even more in the out years,” said Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor during a press conference in Sacramento.

Passage of Proposition 30 is a significant part of that, said Taylor, along with budget cuts in recent years and the state’s economic recovery. Proposition 30, which temporarily raises the sales tax and increases income taxes on the wealthiest Californians, is expected to raise the Prop. 98 guarantee by about $3 billion a year.

via Soon no more seeing red in state education funding, says LAO – by Kathryn Baron.

Dan Walters: Incredible complexity of school finance hits home

When Gov. Jerry Brown called the state budget “a pretzel palace of incredible complexity” last week, he was stating, in his inimitable way, the obvious.

During Brown’s governorship three decades ago, the budget was a relatively simple and understandable document. Revenue was relatively easy to calculate and spending obligations were clearly delineated. But today’s budget is complex almost beyond comprehension, and Brown wants to make it more so.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/22/4506921/dan-walters-incredible-complexity.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: Incredible complexity of school finance hits home.

Educated Guess: LAO: No need to cut schools $5.5 billion

By John Fensterwald – Educated Guess

The Legislative Analyst’s Office is suggesting an alternative to the massive cut to K-12 schools and community colleges that Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing if his tax initiative fails in November. Instead of a real spending cut of $2.8 billion or $415 per K-12 student, districts and community colleges would be cut $1 billion or only $162 per K-12 student, under the LAO  plan.

The LAO detailed its alternative in an analysis of Brown’s May budget revision, which the nonpartisan, independent agency released on Friday (see pages 21-22 in the pdf version). The difference is the size of  Proposition 98 spending obligation that is calculated for this year and next year, separate from the tax increase.

via LAO: No need to cut schools $5.5 billion – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.

The Educated Guess: Help districts plan for disaster

By John Fensterwald – Educated Guess

Passing a state budget that assumes voters will pass a tax increase in November is unworkable for school districts, the Legislative Analyst’s Office has concluded. Instead, the nonpartisan LAO is urging the Legislature to pass a series of measures now that would allow districts to plan for a worst case scenario, including eliminating some program mandates, extending deadlines for laying off teachers, and making an even shorter school year optional.

via Help districts plan for disaster – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.

SacBee: California school districts wary on tax hike

By Kevin Yamamura

Gov. Jerry Brown wants K-12 districts to plan for the next school year as if voters will pass his $9 billion tax hike in November, but the vast majority of them are refusing to do so, according to a new Legislative Analyst’s Office survey.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they will wait until after November to spend the money. In doing so, districts will likely lay off more teachers and increase class sizes beyond the level that Brown wants heading into the election.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/03/4461913/california-school-districts-wary.html#mi_rss=Education#storylink=cpy

via California school districts wary on tax hike.

The Educated Guess: LAO: District oversight works

By John Fensterwald – Educated Guess

Despite occasional interference by the Legislature, the system of fiscal oversight over districts by county offices of education has worked, the LegislativeAnalyst’s Office has concluded.

“Given the substantial fiscal challenges that school districts have faced over the last two decades, the state’s fiscal oversight system has been effective in ensuring that school districts remain fiscally healthy,” the LAO wrote in School District Fiscal Oversight and Intervention, a report released on Monday.

via LAO: District oversight works – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: School District Fiscal Oversight and Intervention

This report provides an overview and assessment of the state’s comprehensive system for monitoring the fiscal condition of school districts. Under this system, County Offices of Education review the fiscal condition of school districts at several points during the year and provide additional support for districts showing signs of fiscal distress. In the most serious case—when a district no longer appears able to meet its financial obligations—the state provides the district with an emergency loan and assumes administrative control. Our review indicates that the oversight system has been effective in preserving school district fiscal health and preventing districts from requiring an emergency loan. Most notably, during the more than 20 years the new system has been in effect, 8 districts have received emergency state loans whereas 26 districts required such loans in the 12 years prior to the new system. Additionally, the number of districts experiencing fiscal distress has increased in tight budget times, but without a corresponding increase in the number of emergency loans required. This suggests the system’s structure of support and intervention is serving a critical early warning function—allowing districts to get the help they need while fiscal problems tend to be smaller and more manageable. Given its effectiveness, we recommend preserving the existing system, as it has shown to be a vital tool for fostering the ongoing fiscal well-being of districts.

via School District Fiscal Oversight and Intervention.

California Watch: K–12: Proposal would raise teacher credential fee

Joanna Lin

The fee to become a credentialed teacher would increase 27 percent under budget recommendations by Gov. Jerry Brown and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The state Commission on Teacher Credentialing faces a $5 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year. Credential applications and tests – the commission’s primary source of revenue – have fallen substantially in recent years. California credentialed 6.5 percent fewer new teachers in 2010-11 than it did a year prior. The number of teaching credentials issued since since 2004-05 has shrunk by one-third.

via Proposal would raise teacher credential fee.

Legislative Analyst’s Office: A Review of the Teacher Layoff Process in California

Reductions to school district budgets over the past five years have resulted in a sharp decline in the teacher workforce, with the number of full–time teachers decreasing by 32,000 since 2007–08. This has led to an increased focus on how the teacher layoff process works. This report gives an overview of the existing layoff process, evaluates how well the process is working, and makes recommendations for improving its effectiveness. For our analysis, we distributed a survey to all public school districts in the state asking them about their implementation of the teacher layoff process, used information provided by two state agencies–the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)–and included information from the California Teachers Association (CTA).

via A Review of the Teacher Layoff Process in California.

Dan Walters: Cloudiness over California school funding increases

Educating 6 million kids is not only the largest single piece of the state budget, but its most popular one – which explains why it always drives the Capitol’s annual budget ritual.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/14/4335193/dan-walters-cloudiness-over-california.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy

via Dan Walters: Cloudiness over California school funding increases.

Benicia Herald: BUSD school leaders heard in Capitol

By Donna Beth Weilenman, Staff Reporter

Funding for Benicia Unified School District’s planned transitional kindergarten classes was saved Tuesday when an Assembly subcommittee rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to trim it from the state budget.

However, other changes proposed by the governor could cut $2.6 million from the local school district’s budget, said Dana Dean, a member of the BUSD Board of Trustees.

via School leaders heard in Capitol.