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 supreme new york
1:37 AM on September 24, 2021 
Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very brilliant chance to read articles and blog posts from here. It is always so awesome and also full of a lot of fun for me and my office friends to visit your blog at a minimum thrice every week to read the fresh issues you have got. And indeed, I'm always impressed concerning the breathtaking tricks you serve. Some 4 points in this posting are unquestionably the most effective we have all had.
supreme new york
Reply kd 13
1:36 AM on September 24, 2021 
I have to express my love for your kindness supporting those people who should have assistance with this particular area of interest. Your special commitment to getting the message all through appeared to be extremely useful and has usually made guys like me to attain their pursuits. This valuable publication can mean this much to me and still more to my mates. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.
kd 13
Reply kd 12
1:36 AM on September 24, 2021 
I needed to post you this little bit of note to give many thanks yet again on your nice strategies you've documented in this article. It was generous of people like you to give publicly all that most people might have made available for an electronic book to help with making some money for themselves, chiefly now that you could possibly have tried it if you considered necessary. These thoughts additionally acted to provide a good way to comprehend the rest have the identical interest much like mine to find out many more around this issue. I am sure there are several more fun occasions in the future for people who examine your site.
kd 12
Reply curry 8
1:36 AM on September 24, 2021 
I wish to express appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this issue. Right after looking out throughout the internet and coming across solutions which were not helpful, I thought my life was over. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the problems you've resolved through this article content is a serious case, as well as those that could have adversely damaged my entire career if I hadn't discovered your site. Your primary understanding and kindness in playing with every aspect was tremendous. I'm not sure what I would have done if I hadn't come upon such a solution like this. It's possible to at this time relish my future. Thank you very much for the high quality and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to endorse your web blog to anyone who requires guidance on this situation.
curry 8
Reply curry shoes
1:36 AM on September 24, 2021 
Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily splendid opportunity to check tips from this web site. It is often so superb and full of a lot of fun for me personally and my office friends to search your website more than thrice in one week to read the fresh secrets you will have. And indeed, I'm so certainly motivated concerning the remarkable tips and hints served by you. Selected 1 tips in this article are rather the very best we've had.
curry shoes
Reply nike off whtie
1:35 AM on September 24, 2021 
Thanks so much for giving everyone such a marvellous possiblity to read critical reviews from here. It is usually so pleasant and also full of fun for me personally and my office co-workers to visit your site at minimum thrice every week to see the newest issues you have. And of course, we are certainly fulfilled with the splendid thoughts you serve. Some 4 ideas in this posting are unquestionably the most suitable we have ever had.
nike off whtie
Reply Terrykeymn
6:06 PM on September 23, 2021 
sildenafil citrate 100mg generic 40 mg sildenafil sildenafil citrate tablets 100 mg best male supplement 5 mg cialis first viagra experience
Reply BigClugs
12:32 PM on September 23, 2021 
viagra connect
Reply KrbcExcaw
12:14 AM on September 23, 2021 
research methodology thesis help with thesis statements
Reply Donovanlew
1:29 PM on September 22, 2021 
goldbuyer sildenafil iv to po conversion cheap generic viagra online sildenafil uses in women reasons for cialis not working
Reply Melvinlab
2:19 PM on September 21, 2021 
doctor online what does vitamin e do for women how does viagra affect the body cheap generic viagra cialis suppliers chinese herbs for female libido best protein pills for women
Reply DennisUsEri
10:40 AM on September 20, 2021 
viagra for men for sale people in church clipart cialis 5mg best male enhancement pills at gnc alli coupon walgreens printable coupons extenze at walmart
Reply air jordan
11:15 PM on September 19, 2021 
I and also my buddies ended up checking out the best helpful hints from your web blog and so unexpectedly I got an awful feeling I had not expressed respect to the blog owner for those secrets. These boys were definitely so very interested to study them and have definitely been tapping into them. Thanks for really being very thoughtful as well as for picking out certain important useful guides millions of individuals are really eager to be aware of. My personal honest apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.
air jordan
Reply moncler
11:15 PM on September 19, 2021 
I as well as my buddies ended up looking at the excellent procedures located on your site and then at once I had an awful feeling I never expressed respect to the web site owner for those tips. My boys are already as a result stimulated to read all of them and have now sincerely been taking advantage of these things. Many thanks for being considerably thoughtful as well as for having these kinds of nice guides millions of individuals are really needing to discover. Our own sincere apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.
Reply yeezy 500
11:14 PM on September 19, 2021 
I wish to show my appreciation for your kind-heartedness for those people who require help on in this field. Your special dedication to getting the solution all through had become astonishingly beneficial and has frequently helped professionals like me to get to their ambitions. Your amazing interesting guidelines means a whole lot to me and even further to my office colleagues. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.
yeezy 500
Reply yeezy boost 350
11:14 PM on September 19, 2021 
I want to show my appreciation to you just for rescuing me from such a trouble. Because of exploring throughout the world wide web and obtaining concepts which were not pleasant, I figured my life was done. Being alive without the presence of answers to the problems you have solved by way of your main review is a serious case, and the kind that could have in a wrong way damaged my career if I had not noticed your website. Your own natural talent and kindness in maneuvering everything was useful. I'm not sure what I would have done if I hadn't discovered such a subject like this. I'm able to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time very much for this skilled and result oriented guide. I won't hesitate to propose your web site to any individual who requires guidelines on this area.
yeezy boost 350
Reply kd 12
11:14 PM on September 19, 2021 
I actually wanted to develop a quick comment to express gratitude to you for all the splendid tips and tricks you are showing on this website. My extensive internet search has at the end of the day been paid with extremely good know-how to go over with my family and friends. I 'd assume that we site visitors are undoubtedly blessed to be in a notable site with many marvellous individuals with great solutions. I feel somewhat fortunate to have encountered the webpages and look forward to so many more cool minutes reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.
kd 12
Reply off white hoodie
11:14 PM on September 19, 2021 
I happen to be writing to let you be aware of what a amazing encounter my girl experienced studying your web site. She came to find such a lot of things, most notably how it is like to possess a marvelous giving mood to make folks without hassle know just exactly selected complex subject matter. You undoubtedly did more than our expected results. Thanks for churning out those necessary, healthy, informative and also unique thoughts on this topic to Mary.
off white hoodie
Reply off white
11:13 PM on September 19, 2021 
I am just commenting to make you be aware of of the impressive encounter my friend's princess obtained reading through your web page. She realized plenty of pieces, with the inclusion of how it is like to have a marvelous teaching heart to get a number of people without problems gain knowledge of a number of specialized matters. You really exceeded readers' expected results. Thank you for coming up with those precious, trustworthy, educational and in addition cool tips on the topic to Sandra.
off white
Reply kyrie 7 shoes
11:13 PM on September 19, 2021 
I would like to express thanks to you for bailing me out of this type of setting. Right after browsing through the world wide web and obtaining advice that were not powerful, I thought my entire life was done. Existing devoid of the solutions to the issues you have sorted out as a result of your write-up is a critical case, and the kind which might have negatively damaged my entire career if I hadn't noticed your web site. That talents and kindness in taking care of every item was helpful. I'm not sure what I would've done if I hadn't come across such a step like this. I am able to at this point look ahead to my future. Thank you very much for the impressive and amazing guide. I won't be reluctant to propose the blog to any person who wants and needs support on this subject matter.
kyrie 7 shoes