May 5, 2015 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
May 7, 2015 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education
February 27, 2018 - This post traces the history of state special education funding in California to better inform conversations about how this funding might be allocated going forward.
February 21, 2013 - The Governor's 2013-14 budget provides $56.2 billion in total Proposition 98 funding--a $2.7 billion (5 percent) increase from the revised current-year level. The Governor dedicates new monies to paying down school and community college deferrals, transitioning to a new K-12 funding formula, restructuring adult education, funding Proposition 39 energy projects for schools and community colleges, and adding two mandates to the schools mandates block grant. The Governor also proposes various changes and consolidations relating to special education funding. Though we think the Governor's basic approach of dedicating roughly half of new funding to paying down existing obligations and the other half to building up base support is reasonable, we have concerns with many of his specific Proposition 98 proposals. In the areas of adult education, Proposition 39 energy projects, mandates, and special education, we provide alternatives for the Legislature 's consideration. Our assessment of an alternative to the Governor's Proposition 39 proposal can be found both in the Proposition 98 report and in a standalone budget brief--2013-14 Budget: Analysis of Governor's Proposition 39 Proposal.
November 6, 2019 - Recent legislation directed the Legislature and administration to work collaboratively to consider changes in how the state organizes, delivers, and funds special education, with the overarching intent to improve outcomes. With this report, we aim to inform these fiscal and policy conversations by providing an overview of special education in California.
Update 11/8/19: Adjustments made to per-student education costs
January 25, 2022 - This post provides background on various special education programs, describes the Governor's proposals related to these topics, and offers associated recommendations and issues for the Legislature to consider.
February 19, 1996 - Analysis of the 1996-97 Budget Bill, K-12 Education Chapter
January 3, 2013 - Special education is the catch-all term that encompasses the specialized services that schools provide for disabled students. Developing a more thorough understanding of how California’s disabled students are served is the first step towards improving their educational outcomes. Toward this end, our primer is intended to provide the Legislature and public with an overview of special education in California—conveying information on special education laws, affected students, services, funding, and academic outcomes.
Also, see our 2016 animated video series Overview of Special Education in California.
January 26, 2012 - The 1992 legislation that authorized charter schools in California created a funding model intended to provide charter schools with the same per-pupil operational funding as received by other schools in the same school district. The state subsequently modified this policy in 1998, enacting legislation specifying that “charter school operational funding shall be equal to the total funding that would be available to a similar school district serving a similar pupil population.” This policy remains in place. In this report, we assess whether operational funding received by charter schools and their school district peers is comparable. We (1) describe the funding models used for charter schools and school districts, (2) compare funding rates for the two groups, and (3) provide recommendations to simplify the funding system, maximize flexibility for both school types, and equalize funding rates for charter schools under the current funding system or under a fundamentally restructured system.
February 20, 2008 - Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill, Education Chapter
February 4, 2021 - This post provides background on special education preschool and school Medi-Cal billing, describes the Governor's proposals related to these topics, details our assessments of the proposals, and offers associated recommendations for the Legislature to consider.
April 11, 2014 - Due to a combination of poor budgeting practices and competing funding priorities, all of the state's education segments currently have a backlog of deferred maintenance projects. The Governor’s budget includes a package of proposals to begin addressing this backlog. While we commend the administration for highlighting deferred maintenance as a problem, we have concerns with the Governor's specific proposals and recommend the Legislature consider various alternatives. Looking beyond 2014-15, we believe the state should have a long-term strategy for properly maintaining education facilities. While a one-size-fits-all response very likely is not appropriate for such a diverse array of education segments, segment-specific plans likely could be very helpful. To this end, we recommend the Legislature require the education segments to develop plans that detail how much they set aside annually for scheduled maintenance, how they plan to eliminate their existing deferred maintenance backlogs over the next several years, and how they plan to avoid creating new backlogs thereafter. (In contrast to the other segments, we believe the state should not impose additional maintenance requirements on elementary and secondary schools at this time. The different approach for schools acknowledges the state’s recent decision to shift fiscal decision making and accountability for many aspects of schools’ operations—including maintenance—to the local level.)