New school funding formula to get huge increase | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

A projected big infusion of state revenue next year will inject much more money into the new K-12 education finance system than school districts and state officials expected at this point.

For the budget year starting July 1, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing an additional $6.1 billion for the Local Control Funding Formula, the funding system that shifts more authority over operating budgets to local school boards. It also steers more dollars to “high-needs” students – English learners, low-income children and foster youth. The new dollars will take districts much closer, after only three years, to what the Legislature set as full funding when it passed the funding law in 2013.

via New school funding formula to get huge increase | EdSource#.VXmucGfbLGg#.VXmucGfbLGg.

School district schedules special meet for budget priorities – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

A special study session will occur Tuesday to review the governor’s proposals for the 2015-16 school year and what it all means for the Fairfield-Suisun School District.

District reports tout the budget as a “good state budget for public education” and “a positive year for education,” which for Fairfield-Suisun means projected Local Control Funding Formula revenue of nearly $162.9 million for 2015-16.

The improved economy has boosted the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee.

Proposition 98 passed in 1988 and established minimum funding for kindergarten through community college districts based on a set percentage of state revenue. As the state revenue increases, money into school coffers increases. This increase shows in the governor’s proposed state budget for 2015-16 as a $65.7 billion guarantee to California schools, an increase of $2.5 billion or 4.1 percent.

via School district schedules special meet for budget priorities Daily Republic.

Reaction to Governor’s Budget – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education)

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year:

“This budget gets an ‘A’ for K-14 education. Governor Jerry Brown clearly did his homework researching the needs and priorities of schools and proposing to allocate money to meet many of those needs.

“The extra money under Proposition 98 is good news for schools across the state. I am also very pleased with the additional funds to help maintain and expand career technical education programs; implement the Local Control Funding Formula and the rigorous new California state standards in mathematics, English language arts, and science; upgrade technology and connect schools to the Internet; and maintain adult education programs across the state.

via Reaction to Governor’s Budget – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).

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.

Interactive graphic of state budget highlights for education | EdSource Today


The Legislature on Friday passed a $96.3 billion budget plan for the state that includes a shift in how California funds schools and contains significant funding for education. Gov. Jerry Brown must sign the budget before the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

Click through our interactive graphics for budget highlights.
Scroll over graphs for additional information.

Interactive graphic of state budget highlights for education | EdSource Today.

Dan Walters: California school aid, safety net programs in budget conflict

Twenty-five years ago, California voters approved – albeit very narrowly – the education community’s ballot measure that engraved a complex school finance structure into the state constitution.

Educators said that Proposition 98 would only give schools a “fair share” of the state’s revenue stream without raising taxes. Last year, however, those groups persuaded voters to pass a tax increase that was needed, they said, to fully finance Proposition 98’s provisions.

Read more here:

via Dan Walters: California school aid, safety net programs in budget conflict.

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.

The Reporter: Ernest Kimme: Budget beginnings

Kudos to Gov. Jerry Brown for proposing a balanced state budget. Impressively, he has added to the state reserve and proposed more money for K-12 education — about $1.6 billion. It’s a good start.

Nothing about our state budget is simple. Even the funding formula for schools is complicated; the worksheet is several pages long. His proposal to simplify school funding will take seven years to implement and eventually cost about $15 billion. Schools (and districts) with more disadvantaged students will get more money.

Part of Brown’s proposal is consolidating the 40 or so funds directed toward special programs, except for Transportation, Targeted Instructional Improvement Grants (??!), and federal programs. Did I mention how complicated school funding is?

via Ernest Kimme: Budget beginnings.

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: California school funding formula not easy to change

Assembly Bill 18 was one of the casualties as Gov. Jerry Brown waded through hundreds of bills from the hectic, final hours of the 2012 legislative session.

And therein lies a tale.

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, carried the bill, a watered-down version of her proposal to overhaul how the $60-plus billion in state, local and federal funds are allocated to California’s K-12 school districts each year.

Brownley wanted to streamline state aid and shift more money to low-performing schools with large numbers of students who are poor or “English learners,” responding to criticism that the state was not focusing money on its most urgent needs.

Read more here:

via Dan Walters: California school funding formula not easy to change.

Dan Walters: Complexity obscures California school money

When Gov. Jerry Brown labeled the state budget a “pretzel palace of incredible complexity,” he almost certainly had in mind the budget’s largest, most complicated piece – financing schools.

Proposition 98, a measure that barely won voter approval in 1988, supposedly dictates what schools and their 6 million students are to receive from state and local taxes, but it’s so dense that only a few analysts profess to understand it, and they rarely agree.

Rather than take politics out of school finance, therefore, Proposition 98 invites political manipulation.

Read more here:

via Dan Walters: Complexity obscures California school money.

The Educated Guess: School funding primer: A is for Alligator

It’s called “the alligator chart” because it looks like a reptile’s gaping maw. Nicknamed by its creator, the Sacramento-based education consulting firm School Services of California, it’s one graph that voters should clip on their refrigerators to remind them what’s at stake this November when they consider more money for K-12 schools. School Services shared an updated version with district officials recently during its annual budget management seminars around the state.

If the governor’s tax initiative fails, the gap between what is statutorily owed K-12 schools and what they will receive will be a record gap of $1,944 per student: a deficit factor of 28.8 percent. Source: School Services of California, Inc. (Click to enlarge.)

California’s school funding law, Proposition 98, is complex, and the Legislature has tortured the language to make it more abstruse. The alligator chart cuts through verbiage to visually capture  how much money has been cut since 2007-08, the last year that the Legislature funded schools without IOUs for lost cost-of-living increases or direct cuts. Since then, the difference between what schools were entitled to receive (tip of the snout of the alligator’s open mouth) and what they have gotten (the yawning bottom jaw) has grown ominously large.

via School funding primer: A is for Alligator – by John Fensterwald.

The Educated Guess: Leg erases Gov’s ed reforms

By Kathryn Baron

John Fensterwald co-authored this article.

The Legislature’s budget package is missing many of Gov. Brown’s controversial education initiatives. A joint Senate and Assembly plan outlined yesterday protects transitional kindergarten, the science mandate, and the AVID program, rejects the weighted student funding formula, and offers districts a choice in how they’re paid for state mandates.

“This budget protects and invests in public education this year, and increases Proposition 98 funding by $17 billion over the next four years,” said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez during a press conference Wednesday morning with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

The overall budget plan that lawmakers will vote on this Friday would erase California’s $20 billion structural deficit, balance the budget for each of the next three years, and create a $2 billion reserve by fiscal year 2015-16, according to Pérez and Steinberg.

Spending for K-12 education would be $53.6 billion for the 2012-13 fiscal year. That’s about $1 billion more than the governor had anticipated. Because the budget assumes more revenue for education through the passage of Brown’s tax initiative in November, the state is obligated under Proposition 98 to start paying off the “maintenance factor,” the IOUs given to schools during bad times. But if the tax increase fails, the Legislature and governor are in accord on the need for cuts of $5.5 billion for K-12 schools and community colleges. That would translate to a K-12 cut of $450 per student.

via Leg erases Gov’s ed reforms – by Kathryn Baron.

The Educated Guess: Judge OKs Prop 98 shell game

By John Fensterwald – Educated Guess

A Superior Court judge last week lopped a limb off Proposition 98. Fans of Monty Python might have been amused; school districts will not be.

The three-paragraph ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn simply reaffirmed a tentative ruling he issued in March. Back then he ruled that nothing prevents the governor and Legislature from shifting money out of the General Fund, even if that in turn leads to less funding for K-12 schools and community colleges under Proposition 98, the law setting minimum funding for schools.

The loss is significant. As part of the 2011-12 state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown transferred about $5 billion in sales tax and vehicle license fee revenues to a special fund as part of his shifting of state safety and social services to counties and cities. Had the money stayed in the General Fund, roughly 40 percent, or $2.1 billion, would have gone to the Proposition 98 guarantee.

via Judge OKs Prop 98 shell game – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.

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:

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