Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

California School Fiscal Services

Providing comprehensive business office and consulting services to K-12 traditional schools and charters



3 key budget moves favor teacher- not student- needs

Posted on July 19, 2014 at 3:20 PM

If you don't already have bookmarked, be sure to add it to your professional development library.  They are always great at providing robust discussions and analysis of educational issues.  Here's a recent example that I just know many of you will appreciate! 


3 key budget moves favor teacher – not student – needs

Credit: Courtesy of John Affeldt

With increased revenues in the state’s coffers, there are many things to like in the budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but three key developments are setting off alarms for education advocates and community groups who supported the landmark Local Control Funding Formula reform. With each of them, the governor seems to be shaping or restricting the newfound flexibility in the funding formula in ways that principally benefit teachers’ interests and not the high-needs students supposedly at the heart of the reform.

First came the lightning bolt in the May revision of the budget, in which Brown proposed to address the state’s $74 billion unfunded liability in the California State Teachers Retirement System primarily on the backs of school districts. There is no question that the CalSTRS issue needs to be addressed and that failing to do so only makes matters more expensive down the road. But Brown’s solution is to increase the annual contributions from the state and teachers somewhat – and from districts a whole lot. The state’s responsibility and share of the burden vis-à-vis districts should be roughly reversed, with Sacramento instead carrying 70 percent of the load and districts only 20 percent. But rather than propose a plan to raise state revenues for the CalSTRS paydown, Brown wants districts to shoulder the bulk of that burden – with the existing inadequate level of school funding. This only worsens the consequences for kids. Districts use K-12 Proposition 98 funds to pay their CalSTRS share; the state’s contribution is from the General Fund. Thus, under the governor’s district-centric solution, there will be fewer Prop. 98 dollars statewide and fewer dollars from the Local Control Funding Formula on the ground for districts to use for programs and services for students.

Restricting districts’ reserves

Then at the 11th hour came another shocker. In conference committee, Brown inserted a statewide maximum on districts’ budget reserves, the size of which teacher and classified unions have long grumbled about. Now, when the state has a good year or two economically and puts money into its rainy day fund, districts will be forced to spend down their own local rainy day reserves. This might make sense if the state were guaranteeing its fund would fully cover district shortfalls should the economy go south or if the state guaranteed adequate annual funding for schools, but neither is the case. As such, it is folly to undercut local districts’ ability to plan prudently. For every good year that brings rainy day investments, subsequent economic downturns will surely follow. Hundreds of districts were negatively qualified by county offices of education during the recent downturn, and more than a few were close to insolvency. The ability to shore up reserves kept most districts afloat and served students well.

The Brown administration, with union support, slipped in this significant new restriction on local spending without any public hearings or debate or time for thoughtful consideration. With it in place, stores of local rainy day funds around the state will eventually be funneled straight onto the bargaining table in one chaotic swoop. Some funds will go toward temporary new programs and services (only to be eliminated via cuts and layoffs when school funding next takes a hit); other dollars will inevitably flow right into permanent salary increases. In many cases there will be too many new dollars coming too suddenly for districts to absorb into new programs and/or to withstand the bargaining pressure. The result will be better paid staff, but not necessarily new or better services for high-needs students as promised by the Local Control Funding Formula. Either way, when the bad times come, not having the local reserves to keep things afloat will lead to even more calamitous cuts and layoffs, ill serving the neediest students, who typically suffer the most when the cuts come.

For a governor who promised increased local decision-making under a new regime of “subsidiarity,” Brown just contradicted himself with two whoppers…

Limiting transparency

To punctuate the trifecta, near the close of budget negotiations the administration, with CTA’s urging, quietly removed a provision in the budget trailer bill to increase transparency around how supplemental and concentration dollars for high-needs students are spent by districts. The proposal to modify the state’s school accounting codes was advanced by civil rights advocates and community groups in an effort to increase the transparency for locals and policymakers on how this grand LCFF experiment is playing out for the students it is intended to serve. Both houses in the Legislature included language on transparency in their budget versions. The proposal would not have converted any LCFF funds into restricted dollars like the old categoricals nor reduced any flexibility in how LCFF dollars are spent. It merely would have shown, in broad categories, how supplemental and concentration dollars were being spent. Before the conference committee could even consider the proposal, the administration had it removed.

Mind you, the state has acknowledged, without concern, that many local districts are tracking these dollars with local accounting codes. Apparently, the objection is to the statewide aggregation of data and its potential effect on policy. As CTA told the conference committee in opposing the effort: “That aggregated analysis will misrepresent what is truly happening at local districts and will result in the same kind of statewide, data driven critique that the LCFF sought to reverse.”

So now that we value local control, we no longer can analyze aggregated data and respond appropriately? Could it be that the CTA and the governor don’t want it easily known that the bulk of supplemental and concentration dollars are flowing to higher benefit and salary costs (aided by the new CalSTRS fix and the local reserve cap) and not necessarily to new staff and higher services for high-needs students?

For a governor who promised increased local decision-making under a new regime of “subsidiarity,” Brown just contradicted himself with two whoppers: a new state mandate to spend limited funds on CalSTRS and a new prohibition on local fiscal planning. It’s true that most teachers deserve raises, just as most high-needs students deserve greater services to succeed with the new Common Core standards. But we trusted Brown that funding formula distributions would be decided locally, through the LCFF process – not precluded through CalSTRS mandates, funneled predominantly into salaries, and hidden from view.

It’s as if the administration has forgotten that LCFF was passed and carries legitimacy precisely because so many stakeholders came together – not just the unions, but also many districts and superintendents and civil rights and grassroots organizations representing parents, students and community advocates. These late-breaking, insider maneuvers risk undermining the consensus support for the new law. To restore that delicate consensus, a new conversation on how to adequately fund our schools (including the CalSTRS obligation) should begin; more immediately, the reserve cap should be removed and the transparency reporting provision reinserted. And going forward, these late-dropping, ground-shifting surprises have to be avoided.


John Affeldt is Managing Attorney at Public Advocates Inc., a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization. He has been recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as a California Attorney of the Year.



Categories: LCFF, California State Budget (2014-15)

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.


Reply curry shoes
7:59 PM on November 21, 2020 
I truly wanted to post a simple remark so as to appreciate you for all of the precious steps you are sharing here. My incredibly long internet investigation has at the end of the day been paid with beneficial concept to share with my relatives. I 'd state that that many of us website visitors are rather endowed to dwell in a really good place with so many brilliant people with very beneficial techniques. I feel somewhat privileged to have discovered your webpages and look forward to many more excellent minutes reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.
curry shoes
Reply stone island
7:59 PM on November 21, 2020 
My husband and i have been excited John could finish off his web research out of the precious recommendations he discovered from your very own site. It's not at all simplistic to simply be giving away ideas which many people have been selling. Therefore we figure out we have you to thank for this. The specific explanations you have made, the straightforward site navigation, the friendships you can aid to promote - it's mostly overwhelming, and it is aiding our son in addition to the family consider that the concept is thrilling, which is certainly tremendously serious. Thanks for the whole lot!
stone island
Reply supreme new york
7:59 PM on November 21, 2020 
I wish to express my appreciation for your kind-heartedness for those people that absolutely need help on this important question. Your personal commitment to passing the message around became particularly powerful and have surely encouraged individuals much like me to arrive at their aims. Your personal invaluable guidelines denotes this much a person like me and even more to my mates. Thanks a ton; from all of us.
supreme new york
Reply pandora outlet
7:08 PM on November 15, 2020 
I as well as my pals have already been taking note of the excellent procedures found on your website and then instantly developed a horrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the blog owner for those secrets. All of the young boys ended up absolutely warmed to study them and have now pretty much been making the most of those things. I appreciate you for being very accommodating and for figuring out varieties of useful issues most people are really desirous to be informed on. Our own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
pandora outlet
Reply giannis shoes
7:07 PM on November 15, 2020 
I wanted to create you one very little observation to be able to say thanks as before on the awesome tricks you have featured on this website. This has been certainly strangely generous with you to give freely precisely what most of us might have made available as an electronic book to make some money for their own end, precisely considering the fact that you might well have done it if you ever wanted. The solutions likewise acted like the good way to recognize that someone else have the same desire just as my own to know the truth a little more with respect to this matter. I'm certain there are some more enjoyable periods up front for many who examine your blog.
giannis shoes
Reply jordan shoes
7:06 PM on November 15, 2020 
Thanks so much for giving everyone a very special opportunity to read from this blog. It is often so awesome and stuffed with amusement for me and my office co-workers to visit your site not less than three times weekly to see the fresh secrets you have. Of course, I'm also always motivated with the special secrets you give. Selected 2 points in this post are indeed the most suitable I have ever had.
jordan shoes
Reply longchamp handbags
7:05 PM on November 15, 2020 
I enjoy you because of all of the efforts on this site. Debby really likes going through investigations and it is simple to grasp why. A number of us learn all relating to the lively tactic you present valuable ideas via this website and as well as improve response from some other people on this article so our favorite child is actually being taught a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. Your performing a glorious job.
longchamp handbags
Reply golden goose
7:05 PM on November 15, 2020 
Needed to create you this very small remark just to say thanks yet again considering the spectacular basics you've documented in this article. This is certainly shockingly generous of people like you in giving unreservedly exactly what most people would've supplied as an ebook to help with making some bucks on their own, principally given that you could have tried it if you ever wanted. Those tactics likewise served as the easy way to be sure that some people have the same interest just like mine to find out many more in regard to this matter. I think there are numerous more pleasant sessions ahead for those who start reading your blog post.
golden goose
Reply supreme clothing
7:04 PM on November 15, 2020 
Thank you so much for giving everyone an exceptionally superb opportunity to read in detail from this blog. It is usually so pleasurable plus packed with a lot of fun for me and my office acquaintances to visit your website at least thrice in 7 days to learn the fresh guides you have got. Not to mention, I am just actually astounded considering the mind-boggling ideas served by you. Some 1 areas in this article are in truth the simplest I have had.
supreme clothing
Reply kyrie 3
3:08 PM on November 12, 2020 
My husband and i have been really thankful when Chris managed to round up his researching by way of the ideas he came across through your web pages. It's not at all simplistic just to be giving out guidelines which usually other people might have been trying to sell. And we realize we have the website owner to thank for this. The main explanations you have made, the simple website navigation, the relationships you make it easier to promote - it's everything excellent, and it's really facilitating our son and our family believe that this theme is cool, and that is extremely important. Many thanks for everything!
kyrie 3
Reply hermes belt
3:07 PM on November 12, 2020 
I and my pals happened to be digesting the good information and facts found on your website and then instantly I had an awful suspicion I had not thanked the web blog owner for those techniques. All the ladies are actually absolutely glad to learn them and already have very much been having fun with those things. Many thanks for being considerably helpful and then for finding certain very good information most people are really needing to understand about. Our own honest apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.
hermes belt
Reply golden goose outlet
3:07 PM on November 12, 2020 
I have to express appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this instance. As a result of checking through the the net and finding tips which are not beneficial, I assumed my entire life was well over. Living without the presence of strategies to the issues you've resolved all through the blog post is a critical case, and those that might have badly damaged my career if I hadn't encountered your web page. Your main knowledge and kindness in playing with almost everything was important. I don't know what I would have done if I had not come upon such a stuff like this. I can also at this moment relish my future. Thank you so much for this high quality and effective guide. I won't be reluctant to suggest your web page to anybody who would need care on this situation.
golden goose outlet
Reply yeezys
3:07 PM on November 12, 2020 
I and my guys have already been viewing the best hints located on your site while quickly I had a terrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the site owner for them. Most of the women came as a consequence stimulated to learn all of them and now have pretty much been enjoying them. Appreciate your simply being simply kind and also for figuring out varieties of great resources most people are really desperate to understand about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
Reply yeezy wave runner 700
3:07 PM on November 12, 2020 
I precisely wished to thank you so much once more. I do not know the things that I would've sorted out in the absence of those creative ideas provided by you regarding this subject. It was actually a real intimidating setting in my view, however , encountering this expert technique you dealt with the issue forced me to cry for happiness. I'm grateful for your support as well as wish you really know what an amazing job you are always getting into educating the rest via your web page. Probably you haven't encountered any of us.
yeezy wave runner 700
Reply off white clothing
3:05 PM on November 12, 2020 
I wish to show my thanks to this writer just for bailing me out of such a crisis. As a result of searching throughout the internet and meeting solutions which were not powerful, I thought my entire life was gone. Being alive without the presence of approaches to the issues you have resolved by means of this website is a critical case, and those that would have negatively damaged my career if I hadn't encountered your web blog. The talents and kindness in maneuvering a lot of stuff was priceless. I am not sure what I would've done if I had not discovered such a thing like this. It's possible to at this point relish my future. Thanks for your time very much for your professional and sensible help. I will not hesitate to suggest your web site to anybody who should have guide on this matter.
off white clothing
Reply yeezy boost 700
3:04 PM on November 12, 2020 
I simply wished to thank you so much yet again. I do not know the things that I would've implemented without these tactics documented by you directly on my subject matter. Completely was an absolute horrifying issue in my circumstances, nevertheless looking at the specialised mode you resolved that made me to leap over fulfillment. I am happier for your information and in addition have high hopes you realize what a powerful job you are always doing educating some other people using your blog post. Most probably you haven't encountered all of us.
yeezy boost 700
Reply golden goose shoes
5:38 PM on November 9, 2020 
I have to get across my respect for your generosity giving support to men and women who need guidance on that subject matter. Your special dedication to getting the solution all over appeared to be amazingly interesting and has regularly encouraged women just like me to achieve their endeavors. Your personal interesting facts indicates much a person like me and still more to my mates. Thank you; from all of us.
golden goose shoes
Reply yeezy
5:35 PM on November 9, 2020 
Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extremely memorable possiblity to discover important secrets from this site. It is usually so amazing plus full of a great time for me personally and my office friends to search the blog a minimum of thrice per week to see the latest items you have got. And indeed, I am also at all times fulfilled with your superb advice you serve. Some 3 areas in this article are easily the most effective we have ever had.
Reply moncler
5:35 PM on November 9, 2020 
I have to show my respect for your kindness supporting visitors who really need help with this one subject matter. Your special commitment to passing the solution all over turned out to be unbelievably valuable and have in every case made guys and women much like me to achieve their endeavors. Your entire warm and friendly useful information indicates a great deal to me and especially to my fellow workers. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.
Reply curry 7 shoes
2:55 PM on November 6, 2020 
I happen to be writing to let you be aware of what a remarkable experience my wife's princess enjoyed browsing your web page. She mastered a wide variety of details, with the inclusion of how it is like to possess an ideal giving spirit to make a number of people just understand several extremely tough topics. You undoubtedly surpassed our own expectations. Thank you for giving the insightful, safe, edifying and even unique tips about that topic to Kate.
curry 7 shoes