BUDGET PROPOSAL POSITIVE BUT MAY CLASH WITH LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Last week California Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget for the year. With revenues rising and the state finally coming out of years of deficit spending the Governor has decided to increase his spending on education. The Proposition 98 guarantee will be funded at $61.6 Billion which is an increase of $6.3 Billion over the 2013 Budget Act level. Additionally, the Governor is proposing:
- An additional $6.4 Billion in spending to eliminate all of the education deferrals that have been in place.
- $4.5 Billion in funding to implement his Local Control Funding Formula and
- $46.5 Million to implement the Common Core standards.
- An increase of $25.9 million Proposition 98 General Fund for county offices of education LCFF in 2014-15.
- An increase of $74.3 million Proposition 98 General Fund to support projected charter school growth.
- A decrease of $2.2 million Proposition 98 General Fund to reflect a decline in Special Education ADA.
- Cost-of-Living Adjustment increases of $33.3 million to support a 0.86 COLA for categorical programs that remain outside the LCFF, including Special Education, Child Nutrition, American Indian Education Centers, and the American Indian Early Childhood Education Program. COLAs for school districts and county offices of education are provided within LCFF increases.
All of this additional funding is a very positive sign for the education community but it does set up a battle of priorities between the Governor and the legislature. The legislature, while they will probably support much of this new funding, has its own set of principles that it has publicized. The Democratic members of the State Assembly put out their own budget blueprint last month that included a variety of new spending and program expansions. The Senate leadership has been clear that it would like to use the state’s new revenues to increase access to early learning programs in California. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Darrell Steinberg, has already introduced legislation (SB 837) that would establish transitional kindergarten programs for all children in the state. Additionally, early education advocates are preparing legislation that would establish universal preschool in the state as well. While not commenting on the proposals the Governor did say in his budget press conference that it would not be fiscally prudent to establish new programs in the state simply because revenue projections are up. This will set up a tug of war between the Governor and legislative leaders that may not resolve until a final budget is adopted in June.
To learn more about the Governor’s proposals and other California state updates may impact your charter school, register for a free webinar hosted by Charter School Capital on Tuesday, January 21st at 9:00 a.m. PST. Register now.