Controversial Spending Plan by Fresno Unified Sparks Coalition Report

April 7, 2018

The ACLU Foundations of California, in partnership with Fresno Building Healthy Communities, released a report on March 26 detailing the Fresno Unified School District’s alleged attempt to improperly use state funding designated for high need students. It also provides a review of the responsibilities of California school districts when creating their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The report, titled “Is Funding for High-Need Students Actually Reaching Those Students? A Review of Fresno Unified’s Local Control Accountability Plan,” highlights the California Department of Education’s May 2017 decision directing the Fresno district to fix its LCAP after the ACLU of Northern California exposed its plan to use millions of dollars earmarked for high-need students on police, surveillance, janitorial staffing, and building upgrades...

read more

Study: Most States Fund Schools in High-Poverty Districts Far Below What’s Needed to Achieve Average Outcomes

March 23, 2018

A new policy brief, authored by researchers at Rutgers University and released by Education Law Center, shows that most U.S. states fund their public schools at a level far below what is necessary for students in high-poverty districts to achieve at even average levels in English and math.

The full report, entitled “The Real Shame of the Nation: The Causes and Consequences of Interstate Inequity in Public School Investments,” is the first of its kind to examine the relationship between school funding, student achievement, and poverty levels across all states and the District of Columbia in the United States.  The report builds on the comparisons in state school funding systems in the “National Report Card, Is School Funding Fair?”... 

read more

Controller Yee Reports State Revenues Behind February Estimates, But Still Ahead for Fiscal Year

March 23, 2018

California’s total revenues of $6.51 billion for February were slightly lower than estimates in the governor’s 2018-19 proposed budget by 6.3 percent, and under 2017-18 Budget Act projections by 8.7 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported today.

For the fiscal year overall, the “big three” sources of General Fund revenue, personal income tax (PIT), retail sales and use tax, and corporation tax, are beating estimates in the enacted budget. For the first eight months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, total revenues of $81.07 billion are 3.1 percent higher than expected in the January budget proposal, 6.0 percent above the enacted budget’s assumptions, and 10.6 percent higher than the same period in 2016-17...  

read more

DeVos Announces New Federal Assistance for Fire-Impacted Districts

March 9, 2018

On February 28, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced new federal assistance for students and schools impacted by the 2017 California wildfires and recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico. An additional $2.7 billion, authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will be used to help K-12 school districts and schools as well as institutions of higher education (IHEs) in their recovery efforts.

"The long road to recovery continues, but these funds should provide vital support to schools and institutions to help them return to their full capabilities as quickly and effectively as possible," said Secretary DeVos. "I continue to be inspired every day by the dedication shown by educators, administrators and local leaders to getting students' lives back to normal."...

read more

Commentary
Trump, DeVos Continue to Undermine Public Education with Their Proposed Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

March 9, 2018

By Stephenie Johnson, Neil Campbell, and Scott Sargrad, Center for American Progress

In February, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released their proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The Trump administration’s budget proposal for this year makes strikingly similar drastic cuts to the administration’s fiscal year 2018 proposal, which represented the most devastating funding cuts to the U.S. Department of Education since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. On the heels of that widely criticized proposal, the Trump administration has doubled down this year with a $7.1 billion cut to the Department of Education’s funding-a 10.5 percent decrease from 2017 levels. And while an unusual addendum-released on the same day as the original proposal-seems to restore $3.3 billion to the education budget, Trump and DeVos have made their priorities clear: Starve public schools to fund private school schemes that benefit the wealthy...

read more

2018 State Revenues Off to a Strong Start

February 24, 2018

California’s total revenues of $17.35 billion for January beat the governor’s 2018-19 proposed budget estimates by $2.37 billion, or 15.8 percent, and outpaced 2017-18 Budget Act projections by $1.45 billion, or 9.1 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported on February 13.

Personal income taxes (PIT) and corporation taxes, two of the “big three” sources of General Fund dollars, exceeded estimates for the second consecutive month and are both surpassing assumptions for the fiscal year. For the first seven months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, total revenues of $74.56 billion are higher than expected in the January budget proposal by 4.0 percent, 7.5 percent above the enacted budget’s assumptions, and 11.7 percent higher than the same period in 2016-17...

read more

LAO Releases Prop. 98 Education Analysis for '18-'19 Budget

February 10, 2018

(Editor’s note: on February 7, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released a detailed analysis of Prop. 98 funding for education. The reports executive summary is below, click on the link at the end to read the complete report.)

*

In this report, we analyze the Governor’s overall Proposition 98 budget package as well as his specific spending proposals for K-12 education and early education.

Overall Proposition 98 Budget
Governor’s Budget Contains $6.3 Billion in Proposition 98 Spending Proposals. Of the new spending, almost $5 billion (78 percent) is for K-12 education, $1.2 billion (19 percent) is for the California Community Colleges (CCC), and $193 million (3 percent)...

read more

Analysts Weigh In on Governor’s January Budget Proposal

January 29, 2018

Various analysts are sizing up the impact of the Governor’s January Budget Proposal on K-12 education. Here are some highlights:

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) offered the following executive summary on January 12:

Governor Prioritizes Reserves. The Governor’s 2018-19 proposed budget places a high priority on building reserves. To that end, the Governor proposes a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion, including an optional $3.5 billion deposit into the state’s rainy day fund. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In considering the Governor’s proposal, we advise the Legislature to first set its own optimal level of reserves in preparation for a future recession...

read more

Brown’s January Budget Proposal Draws Some Praise, Some Criticism from Legislators, Educators

January 15, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said:

Governor Brown’s budget proposal provides a big boost to our public school students. The proposal shows how far we have come as a state in the past seven years in increasing investments in education so our students can continue to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy.

The proposal adds $3.8 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will raise per-pupil spending 66 percent above 2011-12 levels and bring total Proposition 98 funding from $47.3 billion in 2011-12 to $78.3 billion. The proposed budget will provide $11,614 per pupil in the next fiscal year, compared with $7,008 in 2011-12...

read more

December Report Shows State Revenues Surpassing Estimates

January 15, 2018

As the governor’s Department of Finance released its proposed 2018-19 budget on January 10, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported California’s total revenues of $16.25 billion for December were $2.79 billion above June’s budget expectations.

“I can sum up the governor’s budget in one word: smart. The federal tax measure did not just stick it to California’s individual taxpayers–it also likely will have a devastating impact on our state budget, which may mean less money for essential social services such as Medi-Cal, Medicare, and the children’s health insurance program,” said Controller Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer. “We are not going to know for months just how deep the wounds will be from the president’s massive giveaway, so until we do, Governor Brown is once again wise in exercising caution with responsible short-term spending, boosting rainy day fund reserves, and paying down debt.”...

read more

State Income Tax Revenues Top Projections for December

January 15, 2018

On January 3, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) issued a statement reporting that California income tax revenues ran much higher than projections ’ presumably due to taxpayers making early payments due to pending changes under the new federal tax law that was approved by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Trump last month. The LAO’s statement said:

December is a major revenue month for the state General Fund. As shown in the table below, the state’s two income taxes (the personal and corporate income taxes) combined were nearly $4 billion (32%) above the monthly target reflected in last June’s state budget plan. The positive December personal income tax results could be partially offset by softer January and April collections, as some taxpayers may have made final 2017 tax payments a few months early in order to maximize deductions under the recently passed federal tax plan...

read more

CDE Announces Help is Available for Schools Impacted by Southern California Wildfires

December 18, 2017

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on December 2nd that assistance for schools is ready as wind-driven wildfires continue to spread destruction, damage, and school closures in Southern California.

Nearly 135,000 total students were displaced as schools shut down and evacuations spread. As of mid-December, the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County burned more than 200,000 acres and closed schools in multiple school districts, while three separate fires in Los Angeles County shut down schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified and Los Angeles Unified School districts.

Assistance details are available on the CDE Wildfires Web page. School fire recovery resources are listed on this Web page...

read more

Controller Reports November Revenues Exceed Expectations as Retail Sales Remain Strong

December 18, 2017

State Controller Betty T. Yee reported on December 11 that California’s total revenues of $8.31 billion for November were $449.8 million above expectations, powered by strong retail sales. Personal income tax (PIT), the largest state revenue source, fell short by nearly $200 million.

For the first five months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, total revenues of $40.96 billion are outpacing budget projections by 2.5 percent, with retail sales and use taxes and corporation tax beating expectations.

Sales tax receipts of $3.30 billion for November were $538.1 million higher than anticipated in the budget. For the fiscal year, sales tax receipts of $10.16 billion are $733.4 million above budget estimates...

read more