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Governor Signs Budget – 85 Days Late

By Vernon Billy - September 23, 2008

After a record-setting 85 days, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the 2008-09 budget.

This shaky $103.4 billion budget is held together by a combination of cuts, gimmicky revenue generating proposals and a prayer that voters will pass a ballot measure to modernize the Lottery and securitize Lottery revenue in order to generate $5 billion in 2009-10.

According to the Governor, this budget holds State General Fund spending fairly level from 2007-08 to 2008-09, with a modest $100 million increase.  The enacted budget is $850 million lower in General Fund spending than the amount approved by the legislature, as a result of $510 million in vetoes and $340 million in savings accrued as a result of the delayed budget. 

In terms of education, the Governor’s enacted budget purports to fund the Proposition 98 guarantee at $58.1 billion, or $1.5 billion higher than the current-year funding (after accounting for mid-year reductions).

And while the enacted budget provides $58.1 billion for education, this is $2.9 billion below the Governor’s estimated workload budget (funding adjusted for inflation etc) and $800 million below the Budget Conference Committee Report. 

Other notable elements of the enacted budget include:

  • $244.3 million for a 0.68 percent revenue limit Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which is below the statutory 5.66% COLA.
  • No COLA is provided for categorical programs.
  • $180 million in federal Title I set aside funds for Local Education Agencies in Program Improvement under NCLB.
  • $25.4 million to support the development of the CA Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS).
  • $1.2 million in federal funds for the development of the CA Teacher Integrated Data Education System (CALTIDES).
  • Defers $150 million in settle-up payments that are appropriated to reduce prior-year unfunded reimbursable mandates.
  • $402 million in prior-year settle-up funds to fund the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA).

The Governor also made a number of education-related vetoes totaling approximately $26 million.  These vetoes include the following: 

  • A $16.4 million augmentation in funding for Stage 2 child care.
  • A $6 million reduction for non-Title I Immediate Intervention Underperforming Schools Program (II/USP) schools that are still subject to state sanctions and are working with School Assistance and Intervention Teams (SAITs).
  • A $1.8 million reduction for a new intervention and assistance program intended to coordinate federal Title I and Title III programs to help local education agencies meet their annual achievement objectives for English Language Learners.
  • $904,000 for the Advancement Via Individual Determination Program (AVID).
  • A $862,000 reduction to the Child Nutrition Program.
  • A $600,000 Title I augmentation for conducting an enhanced evaluation of the Migrant Education Program.

Editor's Note: Vernon Billy  is a managing partner of Education Media Group, LLC and is president of Governmental Solutions Group, LLC, a policy consulting and legislative advocacy firm.