LA Schools to Seek State Money After Ballot Measure Fails

By Christopher Weber - Rep: June 12, 2019

After voters overwhelmingly rejected a property tax that would have raised $500 million annually for the financially struggling Los Angeles Unified School District, the superintendent, mayor and head of the teachers’ union vowed on June 5 to work together to get more state money for schools.

Riding a wave of public support after settling a six-day teachers' strike in January, the union had joined leaders of the nation’s second-largest school district to promote Measure EE. It would have taxed commercial and residential properties 16 cents per square foot of indoor space for 12 years to help pay for the teachers’ contract and other obligations.

The measure on June 4’s low-interest special election ballot did not come close to garnering the necessary two-thirds majority for approval (finishing with a “yes” vote below 50 percent)...

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Two Statewide Ballot Measures for Funding Schools Could Be on California’s November 2020 Ballot

By John Myers, Los Angeles Time - Rep: June 3, 2019

Asking voters to weigh in on how to pay for education is hardly new, from the creation of the California Lottery in 1984 to the 1988 ballot measure that created strict constitutional funding formulas. A nonpartisan statewide poll released last month found that 59% of likely voters believe current public school funding isn’t sufficient. And while K-12 education is getting more money than ever before, a variety of long-term problems have left many California school districts in financial distress.

With that in mind, the California School Boards Assn. is strongly hinting it may draft a November 2020 ballot measure asking voters to impose $11 billion in new taxes for schools – specifically, a tax hike on corporate income over $1 million and on personal incomes above $1 million. A CSBA spokesman said additional details of the proposed taxes are still being hashed out...

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LAO’s Analysis of the May Revision Education Proposals

(Editor’s note: On May 15, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released its analysis of Gov. Newsom’s May Budget Revision. Below are highlights from the LAO website pertaining to K–12 education.)

Introduction

The May Revision contains more than 100 proposed changes to education programs. The changes range from large new policy proposals, to major modifications of January proposals, to small adjustments relating to revised student attendance estimates. In this post, we focus on the first two categories of proposals. The post has six sections. The first section provides an overview of the proposals. The next four sections cover specific proposals relating to (1) early education, (2) K-14 education, (3) the universities, and (4) financial aid. The last section covers library-related proposals and a crosscutting proposal relating to education innovation.

Overview

New Policy Proposals Raise Many Important Issues for the Legislature to Consider. The May Revision contains more than a dozen major new policy proposals...

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Reaction by Thurmond, Others to Newsom’s May Budget Revision Largely Favorable

May 20, 2019

On May 9, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2019–20. “Our Governor just announced the largest-ever investment in K–12 schools, with 45 percent of all proposed increased spending to benefit our schools. We applaud this commitment to public education, especially by adding funding to assist students with the greatest needs. The revision also makes significant investments in the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers, and supporting the financial burdens they face,” he said.

Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $4.4 billion in non-Proposition 98 spending for the benefit of our schools, while Prop 98 funding is at $81.1 billion, the most it has been in years...

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The Cost of College, Now and 40 Years Ago

By Amy Rose, California Budget and Policy Center - Rep: May 7, 2019

This spring, state legislators are holding committee hearings to discuss and debate higher education funding. Taking part in those conversations are students and advocates, who have been asking for more funding to help cover living costs. They assert that living costs have not kept pace with financial aid, leaving many students struggling to make ends meet. One common response to such arguments is the “back in my day” line of reasoning. “Back in my day, students worked and went to school just fine... Back in my day, we graduated with little to no debt, no homelessness, no unmet basic needs,” etc. If students “back then” were able to make it happen, why can’t today’s students? Are today’s students asking for too much? Should they just buckle down and get by with what they have, like their parents did? To better understand these arguments, this post compares college attendance costs for today’s students (2018-2019) to students 40 years ago (1979-80)...

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Thurmond Announces Distribution of Nearly $1 Million for Paradise Unified Technology Purchases

April 19, 2019

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced on April 16 that the California Department of Education (CDE) has negotiated a payment of $973,863.36 from the Microsoft Corporation to Paradise Unified School District to help with rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating Camp Fire. The money is left over from the Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program, which was established after a $1.1 billion settlement in 2003 ordering Microsoft to reimburse California consumers for antitrust violations.

“Butte County educators and their communities suffered greatly during and after the Camp Fire. They have also worked heroically and selflessly toward helping students,” said Thurmond. “I’m proud of the work the CDE is continuing to do in assisting students and educators in Paradise and surrounding communities. This grant will help Paradise Unified rebuild schools and support its education infrastructure.”...

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Track California’s Personal Income Tax Receipts through April

April 19, 2019

On April 14, State Controller Betty T. Yee launched her annual online tracker for personal income tax receipts through April. This month is a crucial phase for the state budget as Californians file hundreds of thousands of tax returns, the May budget revision is imminent, and the new fiscal year starts July 1.

Last fiscal year, personal income taxes accounted for 69.1 percent of all state General Fund revenues. A significant share of personal income taxes (15.2 percent) arrived during the month of April...

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Controller Reports February State Revenues Short of Budget Forecasts

March 23, 2019

California’s total revenues of $5.51 billion in February were lower than forecasted in the governor’s proposed 2019-20 fiscal year budget by $1.34 billion, or 19.5 percent, and in the FY 2018-19 Budget Act by $2.01 billion, or 26.7 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported on March 11.

Two-thirds of the way through FY 2018-19, total revenues of $79.93 billion were lower than expected in the proposed and enacted budgets by $4.20 billion and $3.33 billion, respectively. For the fiscal year to date, state revenues are 1.4 percent lower than the same time last year...

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Trump’s Education Budget Ignores Needs of Students and Schools

By Neil Campbell and Lisette Partelow - March 23, 2019

When it comes to federal education policy, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have no new ideas. Much like the Department of Education’s proposed budgets for fiscal year 2018 and 2019, the FY 2020 budget asks for students and teachers to pay for the administration’s misguided policy aims in the form of cuts to education programs. Though DeVos’ education agenda has never been popular, this year’s budget proposal is particularly tone deaf to the needs of students and schools. The Trump administration has been fiscally irresponsible to the extreme, granting enormous tax cuts to wealthy corporations at taxpayers’ expense and letting a costly partial government shutdown drag on. And yet, every year when the budget is released, programs that help students and families seem to come last on its list of priorities, receiving huge cuts or being targeted for elimination...

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Congress Already Rejected Federal Voucher Scheme

Betsy DeVos’ School Voucher Plan Illustrates How Out of Touch She is with Public Education

March 9, 2019

On February 28, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joined Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Bradley Byrne in unveiling a new plan to expand vouchers. Congress soundly rejected a similar proposal during the 2017 tax debate.

National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen García said:

“Betsy DeVos doesn’t understand that as a country we have a responsibility to provide a great neighborhood public school for every student and that improving our public schools requires investing in them – not taking away resources. This latest attempt to push an agenda that is academically ineffective, fiscally irresponsible and that funds discrimination at the expense of student opportunity illustrates how out of touch she is with what works...

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