Tuesday, January 19, 2010

California budget and school funding

The Governor’s School Budget: The Race To Mediocrity
Peter Schrag. excerpts.
Those expectations represent far and away the biggest chunk of the governor’s “solution” in closing the state’s $20 billion deficit. The governor vows that if he doesn’t get all the money he wants from Washington, he’ll totally wipe out some of the health, welfare and other social services programs that he’d already cutting to the bone. But those cuts – plus his proposed raid on a major state program for young children – would affect the chances of closing the state’s achievement gaps almost as much, if not more, than cutting school spending.
(That Schwarzenegger accompanied his demand for the federal money with attacks on the federal health care program and, more generally, on the feds for stiffing California -- by inference a slap at California’s congressional representatives -- hardly improved his chances for any sort of federal help). 
In addition, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the governor seems to be counting on nearly $900 million in estate tax revenue the state probably won’t get and ignores the cost of tax breaks for “green” technology.
But those are only the most obvious parts of the cadaverous budget plan he sent down the other day. Schwarzenegger pretends that it was the recession which put the biggest hole in his budget. But in fact the largest single element was the cost of litigation growing out of the baseless assumptions and illegal cuts in Schwarzenegger’s prior budgets. This year’s budget has a lot more of the same.
And while the governor tells Californians that he’s fully funding education, by almost every definition his budget falls well short of that. He’s whacking $1.2 billion out of administrative school funding even as the state and feds are demanding more from school administrators. And since “administration” includes everything from truant officers to school buses, it’s hard to know from where he expects the local districts to get it. He assumes that districts can save another $300 million by contracting out for services, but since many are already doing that, it’s hard to know where they’ll get it.
From the California Progress Report.
Read the entire piece at; http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/?q=node/7350

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