Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
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

Blog

Blog

3 key budget moves favor teacher- not student- needs

Posted on July 19, 2014 at 3:20 PM

If you don't already have edsource.org 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!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

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

4273 Comments

Reply giannis antetokounmpo shoes
11:10 AM on December 26, 2021 
I'm writing to make you understand of the impressive encounter my princess obtained going through your web page. She even learned lots of details, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an awesome teaching heart to make other people without problems grasp a number of complex issues. You actually did more than her desires. Thank you for coming up with these powerful, trustworthy, explanatory and as well as easy tips on your topic to Ethel.
giannis antetokounmpo shoes http://www.giannisantetokounmposhoes.us
Reply golden goose outlet
11:10 AM on December 26, 2021 
I simply desired to say thanks yet again. I do not know the things that I could possibly have created without the type of opinions shown by you on this concern. It was before the depressing crisis in my view, but encountering a new expert strategy you dealt with it made me to weep for fulfillment. I am just happy for your guidance as well as hope you comprehend what an amazing job you're getting into teaching many people by way of your web blog. I am sure you have never met all of us.
golden goose outlet http://www.goldengooses.us
Reply ggdb
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
I enjoy you because of every one of your efforts on this web page. Ellie enjoys managing investigations and it is simple to grasp why. A lot of people know all relating to the powerful way you convey effective ideas on your blog and invigorate response from the others on the point then our favorite daughter is now starting to learn a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are always doing a brilliant job.
ggdb http://www.golden-gooses.com
Reply lebron 16
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
My husband and i ended up being so cheerful that Raymond managed to round up his research from the ideas he received out of your weblog. It is now and again perplexing just to choose to be handing out things that a number of people could have been trying to sell. And we also realize we need you to appreciate for that. These explanations you made, the straightforward web site navigation, the relationships you will help to promote - it's got all superb, and it is helping our son and us imagine that that situation is entertaining, and that's exceptionally fundamental. Thank you for the whole thing!
lebron 16 http://www.lebron16.us
Reply supreme clothing
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
I together with my friends ended up examining the good items from your site then then I got an awful suspicion I never thanked you for those strategies. Those ladies appeared to be certainly warmed to learn all of them and have now surely been having fun with these things. Thank you for actually being very thoughtful and for considering some extraordinary topics most people are really eager to learn about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.
supreme clothing http://www.supremesonline.com
Reply kd shoes
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
I enjoy you because of your own effort on this website. My daughter enjoys setting aside time for internet research and it's really easy to understand why. Most people notice all regarding the compelling way you offer both useful and interesting suggestions through your website and in addition welcome response from the others about this concern while our simple princess is actually learning a great deal. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the new year. You're performing a fantastic job.
kd shoes http://www.kd12.us.com
Reply hermes birkin
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
I am glad for commenting to let you be aware of of the terrific discovery our child experienced checking your blog. She even learned lots of issues, with the inclusion of what it's like to have an ideal helping mindset to get many more without difficulty master a variety of extremely tough things. You really surpassed her expected results. Many thanks for offering the warm and friendly, safe, revealing and fun tips about your topic to Julie.
hermes birkin http://www.hermesbirkinbags.us.com
Reply jordan shoes
11:09 AM on December 26, 2021 
Thank you for all of the efforts on this web site. My mum delights in doing research and it is obvious why. Almost all hear all regarding the lively tactic you make practical secrets via the web site and in addition encourage contribution from people on this theme while my daughter is always being taught a whole lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. Your conducting a really good job.
jordan shoes http://www.shoesjordan.us.com
Reply chrome hearts online store
11:08 AM on December 26, 2021 
I simply wanted to send a message in order to express gratitude to you for all of the fabulous secrets you are showing on this site. My extended internet look up has at the end been rewarded with good quality strategies to write about with my neighbours. I 'd claim that we visitors are unequivocally lucky to live in a fantastic community with many marvellous professionals with interesting pointers. I feel truly happy to have discovered the site and look forward to really more fun minutes reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.
chrome hearts online store http://www.chromeheartstoreonline.com
Reply Markjeaky
5:27 AM on December 25, 2021 
cialis cheapest price canada
Reply curry 8
5:09 AM on December 25, 2021 
I have to convey my passion for your generosity in support of those people who need help on this one area. Your personal commitment to getting the message all around turned out to be really significant and have permitted men and women much like me to achieve their goals. Your own helpful guidelines denotes a whole lot a person like me and far more to my peers. Best wishes; from all of us.
curry 8 http://www.curry8shoes.us
Reply yeezy boost 350
5:08 AM on December 25, 2021 
I enjoy you because of each of your effort on this site. Debby loves managing internet research and it's really easy to understand why. We know all of the dynamic medium you render efficient solutions by means of the web site and as well as welcome participation from other people about this subject plus my child is in fact starting to learn a lot. Enjoy the rest of the year. You're the one doing a stunning job.
yeezy boost 350 http://www.yeezy-350.us.com
Reply golden goose outlet
5:07 AM on December 25, 2021 
I needed to put you a bit of remark in order to thank you so much again relating to the striking advice you have featured at this time. It's really shockingly open-handed with people like you to allow unreservedly precisely what many people would have advertised as an e book in making some bucks on their own, specifically now that you might have done it in case you considered necessary. The inspiring ideas likewise served to be a great way to be certain that someone else have similar dreams just like mine to figure out very much more around this issue. I am certain there are some more pleasant instances ahead for folks who scan through your blog.
golden goose outlet http://www.golden-goose.us
Reply makcialis
4:07 AM on December 25, 2021 
cialis price costco cialis super active
Reply Ugojeaky
7:36 PM on December 24, 2021 
how to order viagra online safely
Reply yeezy shoes
7:07 PM on December 24, 2021 
A lot of thanks for your whole effort on this web page. Gloria really likes participating in investigation and it's really easy to understand why. All of us hear all concerning the compelling medium you offer insightful tips and hints through this blog and as well as boost participation from visitors on that subject while my daughter is starting to learn a lot of things. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You have been conducting a really great job.
yeezy shoes http://www.yeezy-shoes.us.org
Reply golden goose
7:06 PM on December 24, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all your efforts on this site. Betty really loves making time for investigation and it is easy to understand why. My partner and i notice all of the compelling means you make efficient tips and tricks by means of your web blog and even improve response from some others on that area plus our favorite princess is now understanding a whole lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You are performing a first class job.
golden goose http://www.goldengoosesonline.com
Reply golden goose shoes
7:04 PM on December 24, 2021 
I happen to be commenting to make you understand what a impressive experience my friend's child undergone going through your site. She even learned a wide variety of details, most notably how it is like to possess an amazing giving nature to get other people easily know just exactly some advanced subject areas. You undoubtedly surpassed our expected results. I appreciate you for giving such effective, dependable, edifying and as well as cool thoughts on the topic to Lizeth.
golden goose shoes http://www.goldengoosesneakers.us.org
Reply cheap jordans
7:03 PM on December 24, 2021 
I simply wanted to make a small note to be able to appreciate you for some of the splendid ideas you are placing here. My time consuming internet research has at the end been recognized with incredibly good facts to write about with my friends and family. I would assert that most of us visitors actually are extremely lucky to exist in a wonderful community with very many perfect professionals with very helpful solutions. I feel extremely privileged to have discovered the website and look forward to really more thrilling moments reading here. Thanks again for everything.
cheap jordans http://www.retro-jordans.us.com
Reply Amyjeaky
4:02 PM on December 24, 2021 
best pharmacy prices for cialis