Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a 2012-13 state budget June 27 that included the education trailer bill AB 1476/SB 1016. Visit www.acsa.org/advocacy for the latest news on the budget.
“The Proposition 98 spending level for 2012-13 remains at $53.6 billion. This is about the same level proposed by the governor in his May Revision,” said ACSA Legislative Advocate Adonai Mack. “This level of spending presumes passage of the governor’s tax initiative in November.”
If the governor’s tax measure fails, the overall K-14 mid-year reduction is expected to be $5.4 billion. The budget proposes a $2.739 billion reduction – approximately $457 per ADA – to K-12 revenue limit apportionments if the November taxes fail, combined with restoration of all inter-year deferrals.
This amount is higher than proposed in the May Revision. The overall revenue limit trigger cuts to K-12 schools will increase by approximately $16 per ADA for an average school district up from the $441 per ADA proposed in May.
The budget authorizes school districts to reduce the instructional school year, or the equivalent number of instructional minutes, to 160 days for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Current law requires 175 days of instruction. This is a change from the governor’s May Revision proposal, which would have allowed for a combined 15 days in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The reduction is tied to a $2.7 billion trigger reduction.
ACSA members remain concerned about shortening the school year, not only for students, but their own futures. Should voters reject the governor’s ballot measure, schools will undoubtedly have to cut days to survive. And, any shortened school year would have to be negotiated with local bargaining units.
There are also concerns over what impact the potential reduction in the number of days in the school year will have on the amount of service credit earned under the California State Teachers Retirement System. CalSTRS has released a statement saying that as long as the school year does not become shorter than 160 days, members will continue to earn a full year of service credit. In addition, there is language in the trailer bill that ensures a full year of credit is authorized.
The budget further:
• Provides $2.065 billion for K-12 inter-year deferral elimination, or buydown. This is $177 million less than what the governor proposed in May. The deferral is reinstated should the ballot initiative fail.
• Modifies the governor’s May Revise mandate block grant proposal to establish a block grant for the majority of K-14 mandates; suspends in 2012-13 those K-14 mandates that were suspended in 2011-12; and, continues the claiming process, but requires school districts, COEs, charter schools or community college districts to choose annually to either claim or utilize the block grant.
• Provides a revenue limit deficit factor of 22.549 percent to reflect a $165 million deficit for county offices of education, and a revenue limit deficit factor of 22.272 to repay K-12 per-pupil reductions in the future, including foregone cost-of-living adjustments.
• Maintains the governor’s proposal to restore $496 million in funding for the Home-to-School Transportation funding in 2012-13 but does not make these funds flexible.
• Rejects the governor’s proposal to eliminate funding for the Transitional Kindergarten program and instead maintains existing law created pursuant to Chapter 705, Statutes of 2010.
• Does not initiate the governor’s weighted pupil funding formula proposal and maintains categorical and general purpose funding allocations per existing law.
As budget agreements were being hammered out in California, the U.S. Census Bureau came out with a report ranking the state 35th in the nation in per-pupil funding. And even more telling in a state where voters continually say they don’t want education or services cut, yet are reluctant to approve any taxes, the Census Bureau says California ranks 44th in the nation in school spending as a portion of personal income.