State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments On Governor's Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown's proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year:
"This budget gets an 'A' for K-14 education. Governor Jerry Brown clearly did his homework researching the needs and priorities of schools and proposing to allocate money to meet many of those needs.
"The extra money under Proposition 98 is good news for schools across the state. I am also very pleased with the additional funds to help maintain and expand career technical education programs; implement the Local Control Funding Formula and the rigorous new California state standards in mathematics, English language arts, and science; upgrade technology and connect schools to the Internet; and maintain adult education programs across the state.
"I applaud the governor for outlining a plan that can help bring needed funds to help improve and repair broken and outdated school facilities.
"This budget increases our investment in schools, but we still have a long way to go. California is 46th in the nation in per-pupil spending and that is unacceptable.
"My homework is to work with the Governor, the Legislature, educators, and community leaders across the state to help refine these education spending proposals and increase and stabilize school funding in the long term."
California Budget Project Analysis: Increased Revenues Boost the Minimum Funding Level for Schools and Community Colleges
Approved by voters in 1988, Proposition 98 constitutionally guarantees a minimum level of funding for K-12 schools, community colleges, and the state preschool program. The Governor’s proposed budget assumes a 2015-16 Proposition 98 funding level of $65.7 billion for K-14 education programs, $2.6 billion above the revised 2014-15 minimum funding level. Because changes in state General Fund revenue tends to affect the Proposition 98 guarantee, the Proposition 98 funding levels included in the Governor’s proposed budget reflect increases in 2013-14 and 2014-15 estimated revenue compared to the levels that had been assumed in the 2014-15 budget agreement. Based on these revised revenue estimates, the Governor’s proposed budget assumes a 2014-15 Proposition 98 funding level of $63.2 billion, $2.3 billion more than the level assumed in the 2014-15 budget agreement, and a $58.7 billion 2013-14 Proposition 98 funding level, $371 million above the level assumed in the 2014-15 budget agreement.
The Governor’s proposed budget increases funding for the state’s new education funding formula and pays off outstanding obligations to K-12 school districts. Specifically, the Governor’s proposed budget:
· Provides $4.0 billion to continue implementation of the state’s new education funding formula. As part of the 2013-14 budget agreement, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) restructured the state’s education finance system. The LCFF provides school districts a base grant per student, adjusted to reflect the number of students at various grade levels, as well as additional grants for the costs of educating English learners, students from low-income families, and foster youth. The Governor’s proposed budget increases LCFF funding by $4.0 billion to fund grants for K-12 school districts and charter schools in 2015-16. Increasing LCFF funding
may reduce the amount of time it takes to fully implement the LCFF, which depends on funding that is sufficient for all districts to reach a target base grant.
· · Uses $1.1 billion in one-time funding for implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to reduce mandate debt the state owes to schools. In August 2010, the State Board of Education adopted CCSS for California’s K-12 schools. The 2013-14 budget agreement provided $1.25 billion to support CCSS implementation to be used at any time during 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Governor proposes an additional $1.1 billion in one-time Proposition 98 funding in 2015-16 to support CCSS implementation. Funding would be distributed statewide on a per pupil basis to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education (COEs). However, to the extent any of these educational entities have existing mandate reimbursement claims, the Governor’s proposal would reduce those claims by the amount they receive in additional funding for CCSS implementation. Mandate debt reflects the cost of state-mandated services that school districts, charter schools, and COEs provided in prior years, but for which they have not yet been reimbursed.
· · Pays the remaining $897.2 million in previously deferred payments owed to schools. The 2014-15 budget agreement included a provision that earmarked any higher-than-anticipated Proposition 98 spending in 2013-14 or 2014-15 for repayment of previously deferred payments to school districts, which reached $9.5 billion at the end of 2011-12. Because the Governor’s proposed budget assumes an increase of $2.7 billion in the Proposition 98 minimum funding level in 2013-14 and 2014-15 combined, $897.2 million of this increased spending must be used to repay the remaining amount of previously deferred payments owed to school districts.
· · Allocates $320.1 million from Proposition 39 revenues to K-12 school districts for energy efficiency project grants. The proposed spending plan also allocates $5.3 million from Proposition 39 revenues to the California Conservation Corps to provide continued technical assistance to school districts. Proposition 39, approved by voters in 2012, increased state corporation tax revenue by requiring multistate corporations to use the “single sales factor” method of apportionment in calculating their taxable income.
· · Retires the state’s remaining $273.4 million funding obligation for the Emergency Repair Program. The Governor’s proposed budget allocates Proposition 98 funding to eliminate the state’s remaining obligation to schools under the Williams v. California settlement agreement. In 2004, the Legislature agreed to provide $800 million to pay for emergency facility repairs in schools ranked in deciles one through three of the Academic Performance Index as part of the Williams agreement.
· · Adds $100 million in one-time funding to support Internet connectivity and infrastructure. The 2014-15 budget agreement allocated $26.7 million in one-time funding to assess school districts’ Internet connectivity and to provide grants to districts with the greatest need. TheGovernor’s proposal would provide additional one-time Proposition 98 funding to further upgrade Internet infrastructure.
· Provides a 1.58 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for non-LCFF programs. The Governor’s proposed budget funds a 1.58 percent COLA ($71.1 million) for several categorical programs that remain outside of the new education funding formula, including special education, child nutrition, and American Indian Education Centers. The Governor proposes to use the increases in LCFF grants proposed for school districts and charter scools.
Read the California Budget Project analysis of the entire budget. www.cbp.org