January 27, 2016 - The District of Choice program is one of several statutory options allowing a K-12 student to transfer from one school district to another school district. The program will sunset on July 1, 2017, unless the Legislature decides to reauthorize it. This report, prepared at the request of the Legislature, assesses the program and offers our recommendations regarding reauthorization.
For the follow-up to this evaluation, published in February 2021, please click here.
January 31, 2020 - In response to concerns over K‑12 student achievement gaps, the Legislature tasked our office with convening a work group on the topic and submitting a report. The required report needed to: (1) examine data on K‑12 student achievement gaps, (2) identify funding provided for disadvantaged and low‑performing students, (3) assess existing state efforts to serve these students, and (4) develop options for better supporting these students. This report responds to these requirements.
October 8, 2018 - Housing is very expensive in California—in early 2018, the typical California home cost $481,000, roughly double the price of the typical home in the United States. The state offers the Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program to help certain homeowners afford their property taxes and stay in their homes. This report evaluates the advantages and shortcomings of the PTP and offers policy alternatives for legislative consideration.
November 14, 2018 - In this report, we examine how the minimum guarantee might change over the next several years and discuss the factors likely to be driving those changes. We then examine key aspects of district budgets—focusing on the main cost pressures facing districts over the next several years.
In addition to this report, you can find the main California's Fiscal Outlook report along with a collection of other fiscal outlook material on our fiscal outlook budget page.
March 1, 2021 - The Commission on State Mandates recently found new requirements to offer feminine hygiene products in certain public school restrooms to be a reimbursable mandate. In this post, we provide background on state mandates and the recent decision, share our assessment, and provide an associated recommendation.
January 21, 2020 - In this report, we examine district budgets—both looking back at actual experiences to date and looking ahead at what experiences could be over the next few years. First, we provide background on districts and their budgets. We then discuss trends in districts’ main cost drivers. Next, we examine overall district fiscal health, with a particular focus on districts in fiscal distress. In the final section, we identify some ways the Legislature could help school districts address their cost pressures moving forward.
October 14, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Education Committee Hon. Patrick O’Donnell, Chair and Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee Hon. Miguel Santiago, Chair
January 24, 2020 - State law authorizes the California Community Colleges (CCC) to award associate degrees, generally limiting the awarding of more advanced degrees to the state’s universities. As an exception to this rule, Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorized CCC to offer bachelor’s degrees on a pilot basis at up to 15 community colleges. Chapter 747 directed our office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot by July 1, 2018 and a final evaluation by July 1, 2022. This report reflects our final evaluation.
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
February 7, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s overall Proposition 98 budget package as well as his specific spending proposals for K‑12 education and early education.
May 14, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the 2018-19 May Revision education proposals. We first provide an overview of Proposition 98 funding and then focus on the Governor’s major proposals for K‑12 education, child care and preschool, community colleges, universities, and student financial aid. In the pages that follow, we offer many specific recommendations for the Legislature to consider. Our package of recommendations includes adopting some proposals, modifying others in certain ways, rejecting others but inviting better proposals next year, and rejecting some proposals in their entirety.
January 20, 2006 - If enacted by Congress, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 would have a significant fiscal impact on California. We project, based on the provisions which we can estimate at this time, that the fiscal impact of this legislation on California would be $3.1 billion--$1.7 billion in reduced federal funds and $1.4 billion in increased state costs-during federal fiscal years 2006 through 2010. These amounts are preliminary estimates and do not reflect potentially significant secondary effects. In this report, we review the major provisions of this legislation, estimate the fiscal impact on federal funds and state funds based on current law, and identify key issues for legislative consideration.
June 16, 2008 - Most students who enter California Community Colleges (CCC) lack sufficient reading, writing, and mathematics skills to undertake college–level work. Thus, one of the CCC system’s core missions is to provide precollegiate “basic skills” instruction to these students. In this report, we find that a large percentage of students do not overcome their basic skills deficiencies during their time at CCC. We identify a number of state policies that we believe stand in the way of student success, and recommend several structural and systemwide changes designed to help increase preparedness and achievement among community college students.
April 4, 2014 - We believe California's child care and development system has several serious design flaws. Most notably, families accessing some subsidized child care programs may choose among a broad array of providers whereas families accessing other programs have access to child care only offered in particular places. In addition, some child care programs are required to include developmentally appropriate activities whereas other programs are required to meet only health and safety standards. While these two elements--choice and developmentally appropriate care--are strengths of specific child care programs, the fundamental shortcoming of California's current system is that no subsidized program exhibits both of these strengths concurrently. Given the serious shortcomings of the state's child care and development system, we recommend the Legislature fundamentally restructure it. Our report lays out a plan for a new, simplified, more rational system that treats similar families similarly. Since a fundamental restructuring would take time, the report also includes a roadmap that the Legislature could use for incrementally moving to this new system.
February 19, 2021 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposals to address teacher shortages, as well as his proposals to provide additional professional development for school staff. For each, we provide background, describe the Governor’s proposals, assess these proposals, and offer associated recommendations.