Allan J. Mucerino
2015-16 BUDGET APPROVED (and in a timely manner too)
Updated: Mar 19, 2018
According to School Services of California, it was with amazing speed that the 2015-16 State Budget trailer bills were made public one day after Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León announced a deal. Among other things, the education trailer bill included $5.994 billion to close the Local Control Funding Formula gap (which may translate into less than the 53.08% closure proposed in the Governor’s May Revision).
The primary differences between the Legislature’s 2015-16 State Budget and the official budget approved June 19, 2015 included:
The elimination of $25 million for Home-to-School Transportation cost-of-living adjustment and equalization;
The elimination of $25 million for After School Education and Safety program (ASES) funding;
A reduction from the proposed $392 million to $265 million for child care and preschool programs;
New funding for adult education grants based on the entire maintenance of effort requirement that districts met in 2013-14 and 2014-15;
$400 million in new funding for career technical education; and
$490 million educator effectiveness block grant designated to be distributed to districts based on the number of certificated staff in 2014-15. These one-time funds are to be used for beginning teacher and administrator support and mentoring and professional development.
A brief history lesson: Between 1998 and 2007, California’s General Fund grew dramatically (as the technology and housing sectors soared). But spending kept pace with increased revenue and then the bottom fell out in 2007. That led to temporary tax increases (recently expired) and spending cuts starting in 2009. After voters approved Proposition 30 in November of 2012, the 2013-14 budget was built on the continuation of these increases. Three years later we still have significant debts consisting of loans from special funds, delayed mandate payments to schools and community colleges and other obligations incurred during the recession. Back to the present: This year's budget is balanced and has a reserve. Attribute both to additional revenues from Proposition 30 and improved economic conditions. Funding for K-12 education in 2015-16 will increase over 2014-15 by about $1.8 billion, increasing per-pupil funding for the 6 million students who attend California's K-12 schools to almost $12,200. While that $12,200 represents progress, it remains 11% below the projected national average. But we’re moving in the right direction.