What Would an “All-Cuts” Budget Mean for California Public School Funding?

How would an “all-cuts” budget affect California’s public schools? The Legislative Analyst addressed that question in a February 10, 2011 letter to Senator Leno, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. The letter outlined a path for closing the state’s $26.6 billion budget gap without the Governor’s tax proposals and included a $4.6 billion reduction in state support for public schools – a cut of approximately $764 per student. Two new CBP fact sheets released today document the local impact of an “all-cuts” budget on schools by district and county based on the Legislative Analyst’s assumptions.

California sharply reduced its support for public schools in recent years. On a per student basis, state funding dropped from $8,464 in 2007-08 to $7,358 this year. Schools used federal support provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to mitigate cuts, although the vast majority of those dollars will be spent by the end of this school year, leading many school districts to the edge of a funding cliff. The choice now is between an “all-cuts” budget that would push some schools over the edge or a balanced approach that includes the revenue measures proposed by the Governor, which could allow schools to avoid the abyss.

— Jonathan Kaplan

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