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April 28, 2020 - This post describes the major higher education provisions of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It also highlights some key issues for the Legislature to consider relating to its upcoming budget and oversight decisions.
April 26, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance Hon. Kevin McCarty, Chair
April 5, 2020 - In recent weeks Congress has passed legislation that has directed funding to respond to the coronavirus emergency. This post discusses how some of the major pieces of funding could affect the state budget’s overall condition. In particular, we focus on how funding could help the state address some of the sources of a budget problem that could emerge as a result of the coronavirus emergency.
April 5, 2020 - As the public health crisis related to COVID-19 has unfolded, the possibility of the state facing a budget problem seems increasingly likely. One key tool to address a budget problem is budget reserves. This post assesses the current reserve situation of the state and school districts—whose funding largely depends on the state.
March 19, 2020 - In this post, we provide background on fiscal oversight of school districts in California, describe the Governor’s proposals to augment oversight and reporting requirements related to school district budgets, assess those proposals, and provide associated recommendations.
March 13, 2020 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide Hastings College of the Law with a $1.4 million ongoing, unrestricted General Fund increase. As it reviews this budget request, we encourage the Legislature to consider each aspect of the school’s plan to increase overall operational spending, reduce tuition discounting, grow enrollment, and eliminate its operating deficit.
March 11, 2020 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide $17 million one-time General Fund to establish the Fresno Integrated K-16 Education Collaborative. The primary objective of the proposal is to create more education pathways in the greater Fresno region that help students transition from high school into college and the workforce. We raise several concerns with the proposal and recommend the Legislature consider other one-time spending options.
March 10, 2020 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposals to increase the capacity of school districts to teach computer science. We first provide background on computer science in California schools, then describe the Governor’s proposals, assess the proposals, and offer associated recommendations.
March 6, 2020 - This report focuses on a state law enacted in the 1990s that shifts some of the property tax revenue in certain counties from schools and community colleges to other local agencies. For historical reasons, the shifted revenue is known as “excess ERAF.” (The acronym refers to the local accounts—known as Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds—that facilitate the shift.) We recently found that some counties are calculating excess ERAF in ways that seem contrary to state law and shift too much property tax revenue from schools to other agencies. We have three specific concerns related to the calculation of excess ERAF that together affect about $350 million in annual property tax revenue. Earlier this year, the Newsom administration began to address one of these concerns. In this report, we recommend the Legislature direct the administration to enforce state law on our other two concerns. We also recommend improving oversight to prevent similar issues from arising in the future.
March 5, 2020 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education Finance
March 5, 2020 - Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 On Education Finance
March 4, 2020 - Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
February 27, 2020 - In this brief, we provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). We then (1) assess the Governor’s Cal Grant cost estimates, (2) analyze the Governor’s proposal to fund a student loan outreach initiative, and (3) analyze the Governor’s state operations proposals for CSAC.
February 24, 2020 - In this report, we assess the Governor’s overall Proposition 98 budget and his specific proposals for K-12 education. Of the $3.7 billion in new Proposition 98 funding for 2020-21, the budget dedicates $2 billion for one-time initiatives and $1.7 billion for ongoing augmentations. Nearly all of the ongoing funding is to cover an estimated 2.29 percent cost-of-living adjustment for various K-14 programs. Total K-12 funding per student would grow to $12,619 in 2020-21, an increase of $499 (4.1 percent) over the revised 2019-20 level. Most of the one-time proposals in the Governor’s budget seek to address longstanding issues in K-12 education. Many of the proposals, however, seem unlikely to have much long-term effect on these issues. We also are concerned that many proposals are missing important details regarding how the funds would be spent. We recommend the Legislature reject most of these proposals, freeing up more than $1 billion in Proposition 98 funding. We think the Legislature should consider using the freed-up funds to provide fiscal relief to districts. Although the Legislature has various options for providing fiscal relief, we think making additional payments toward districts’ unfunded pension liabilities would offer the greatest fiscal benefit. Paying down these liabilities would improve the funding status of the pension systems and likely reduce district costs over time.
Correction 2/26/20: Corrected reference to the cost of the Governor’s education workforce proposals.
February 21, 2020 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s early education proposals, then analyze his three major early education proposals. Specifically, we analyze his proposals to (1) expand the number of full‑day preschool slots, (2) create a new department to administer child care programs, and (3) fund facilities for more preschool programs.