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Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 3/12/2012
Budget Issue: Eliminating non-Proposition 98 funding for select education programs
Program: Non-Proposition 98 Programs
Finding or Recommendation: Recommend approving the Governor's proposal to reduce non-Proposition 98 General Fund support for select education programs by a total $19.4 million given the state's fiscal shortfall.
Further Detail

The Governor proposes to eliminate or reduce funding for several education programs that are not funded through Proposition 98. Specifically, the Governor proposes cutting non-Proposition 98 General Fund support for four education programs by a total of $19.4 million. The proposal consists of reductions or elimination for the following programs: (1) Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), (2) California American Indian Education Centers, (3) supplemental statewide activites for various student organizations, and (4) child nutrition subsidies for students not attending public K-12 schools. In light of the state's fiscal shortfall, we generally concur with the Governor's approach of eliminating or reducing these programs. Below we discuss each program in more detail.


AVID is an elective course available to middle and high school students in the "academic middle" (generally a B or C average) that focuses on college readiness. In California, the program serves roughly 153,000 students in 1,377 middle and high schools. This is about half of all middle and high schools statewide. Schools offering AVID are located in about one-third of all school districts. In 2011-12, the state is providing about $8.1 million in General Fund support for the AVID program. 

Governor Proposes to Eliminate State Funding. The Governor proposes to eliminate the $8.1 million appropriation for AVID. The statewide AVID center (a non-profit organization) receives about $1.2 million of this funding. The remaining roughly $7 million supports 11 regional AVID centers that are run by county offices of education. Both the statewide and the regional AVID centers provide program coordination, technical assistance, professional development, and certification reviews. Funding for direct instruction comes from districts'  general purpose budgets and is not affected by the Governor's proposal.

Districts Still Could Provide College-Readiness Courses Using Base Funding. Under the Governor's proposal, districts still could offer the AVID elective. Districts, however, would have to pay a licensing fee of $3,315 per school to the statewide AVID center since state support for the center would be eliminated. Districts also could incur other associated costs, such as hiring AVID coordinators to perform the functions now administered through the 11 regional centers. Alternatively, in lieu of AVID, districts could find a different college-readiness course to purchase or they could create their own curriculum.

Given that AVID is not a statewide, mandatory program--as well as the fact that currently two-thirds of districts opt not to participate in the program--we find that shifting fiscal responsibility to districts makes sense. This would mean that districts that want to continue to offer AVID could decide whether the benefits of offering the program outweigh its costs--or whether more cost-effective alternatives are available. For example, while there is some research that indicates that students enrolled in AVID courses go to college at higher rates than local or national averages, it is unclear whether the results found in some of these studies are attributable to the effects of the program. This is because AVID is only offered to more motivated students, who may possibly otherwise have gone to college at higher rates even without the services offered by the program. 

Recommend Adopting Proposal. We recommend that the Legislature adopt the Governor's proposal to eliminate state General Fund support for AVID by $8.1 million. Should districts believe that the program is of high value, they could continue to provide it using funding from their base budget appropriations.

California American Indian Education Centers

In 1976, the Legislature created the California American Indian Education Centers. These centers are non-profit, community-based organizations whose purpose is to promote academic and cultural achievement for Native American school children in California. In 2011-12, the state is providing a total of $4 million for the centers. About $3.6 million is funded through Proposition 98 and the remaining $376,000 is non-Proposition 98 General Fund. This funding is provided to 27 centers located throughout the state that serve approximately 5,000 students. In addition, many of these centers receive funding from federal and tribal sources.

Governor Proposes to Eliminate Non-Proposition 98 Funding Only. The Governor proposes to eliminate the $376,000 in non-Proposition 98 General Fund support. Since the Governor does not propose any changes to the Proposition 98 funding, this means that overall state support for the program would be reduced by roughly 9 percent. This reduction would come on top of a roughly 19 percent reduction to the program's state support since 2008-09.

According to CDE, the non-Proposition 98 funding is used for admistrative costs, not direct services. Eliminating this funding, however, could have an impact on direct services since funding likely would have to be redirected from direct services to cover administrative costs.

Recommend Adopting Proposal. Given the state's fiscal shortfall, and considering that the reduction would be a relatively small percent of the centers' overall budget, we recommend that the Legislature adopt the Governor's proposal.

Student Organizations

As part of their educational experience, most K-12 students have opportunities to participate in a variety of student organizations. For example, some students are elected by their classmates to serve on school councils. There also are clubs that are open to students who are interested in pursuing a certain career (such as in health care). These local programs typically are funded by sources such as district revenue limits and fundraising efforts by students.

Earmarked State Funds Supplement Local Student-Organization Activities. The state provides $514,000 in non-Proposition 98 General Fund monies to support seven student organizations. These include the California Association of Student Councils and six student organizations that are centered around certain vocational occupations. The funds supplement local programs by providing statewide training and support to adult advisors (teachers) and students who have been elected to serve as state officers of their respective organizations. For example, the funds cover travel-related costs for student delegates to attend leadership conferences and professional-development training for advisors (on top of training they receive from their local district).

Recommend Approval of Governor’s Proposal. The Governor proposes to eliminate all non-Proposition 98 General Fund support for these programs, for savings of $514,000 in the budget year. Given the state’s fiscal condition, we recommend the Legislature adopt the Governor’s proposal. To the extent schools and students deem these statewide activities to be a high priority, they have flexibility to use their general-purpose funds (or monies obtained through fundraising) to backfill the cut.

Nutrition Subsidies for Students Not Attending Public K-12 Schools

This issue is discussed in more detail here.