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.
February 1, 2021 - The District of Choice program is one of several laws allowing students to transfer from one school district to another school district. The program is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2023. This evaluation, prepared at the request of the Legislature, assesses recent trends in the program and provides our recommendations regarding reauthorization. It is a follow-up to our previous evaluation, published in January 2016.
January 12, 2018 - This publication is our office’s initial response to the Governor’s 2018-19 budget. In the proposed plan, the Governor places a high priority on building reserves, proposing a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In addition to building reserves, the Governor’s proposed budget allocates sizeable funding increases available within the constitutionally required guarantee for schools and community colleges and supports a variety of new infrastructure projects. This report also discusses how new federal tax changes may affect state revenues and reasons why we believe there could be more resources available in May.
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.
February 9, 2017 - An analysis of the Governor’s overall 2017-18 Proposition 98 budget package as well as his specific spending proposals for K‑12 education, including a summary of our recommendations.
February 26, 2014 - Traditionally, the state has reimbursed local educational agencies (LEAs) for performing mandated activities by requiring them to submit detailed documentation of their costs. In recent years, the state has tried to simplify this process by creating two alternative reimbursement structures. The reasonable reimbursement methodology (RRM) provides reimbursement for a particular mandate using a formula developed in a quasi-judicial forum. The education mandates block grants (one for schools and one for community colleges) provide reimbursement for all active education mandates using a per-student rate established in the budget. Whereas the rarely used RRM process has been very adversarial (once involving litigation) and resulted in long reimbursement delays, nearly all LEAs have chosen to participate in the block grants. Given their overlapping purposes and the comparative advantages of the block grants, we recommend the Legislature repeal the RRM for education mandates.
May 28, 2019 - In this web post, we analyze the 2019-20 May Revision proposal to fund a new mandate relating to the Cal Grant program. We provide background on the mandate, discuss the Governor’s proposal, share our assessment, and provide an associated recommendation. This post fulfills a requirement for our office to analyze new mandates, as specified in Section 17562 of the Government Code.
March 9, 2017 - Presented to: Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education
February 23, 2006 - The Governor’s budget proposes $133.6 million from the General Fund to pay for the costs of state-mandated local programs in K-12 education and community colleges in 2006-07. We find that the amount proposed in the budget bill for mandates falls short of fully funding ongoing mandate costs; the mandates claims process could be streamlined and simplified by reimbursing districts on a per-pupil basis for all K-12 mandates; recent action by the Commission on State Mandates (CSM) on the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) mandate raises issues about how the state should address local implementation costs of this program; and funding for state truancy mandates could be used more effectively by transforming these programs into a categorical program aimed at reducing truancy and dropouts.
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 16, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the community colleges, covering base apportionments, enrollment, students’ basic needs, online tools, apprenticeships and work-based learning, instructional materials, and faculty professional development.
December 20, 2017 - The Supplemental Report of the 2017-18 Budget Act required our office to examine how much existing funding and support is provided to these students and identify options for increasing that funding and support. This report fulfills this requirement.
February 18, 2015 - The Governor's budget includes $7.8 billion in Proposition 98 funding increases for schools and community colleges, including $5 billion for programmatic increases and $2.8 billion for retiring outstanding obligations. In this report, we recommend the Legislature improve some of the Governor's specific Proposition 98 proposals and reject others. Most notably, though we recommend the Legislature adopt the Governor's proposal to provide $500 million for adult education consortia, we recommend making various programmatic improvements, folding some of the Governor's other proposed workforce funding into the adult education program, and rejecting a couple of the Governor's career technical education proposals. We also recommend rethinking the Governor's Internet infrastructure proposal. Additionally, we have various recommendations relating to the Local Control Funding Formula, county offices of education, and education mandates.
February 20, 2020 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s higher education budget proposals. Similar to last year, these proposals are wide ranging—including large base increases; targeted increases for apprenticeship programs and food pantries; one-time initiatives relating to extended education programs, work-based learning, faculty diversity, and animal shelters; and many facility projects.
January 14, 2019 - This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s Budget. The budget’s position continues to be positive. With $20.6 billion in discretionary resources available, the Governor’s budget proposal reflects a budget situation that is even better than the one our office estimated in the November Fiscal Outlook. The Governor’s Budget allocates nearly half of these discretionary resources to repaying state liabilities. Then, the Governor allocates $5.1 billion to one-time programmatic spending, $3 billion to reserves, and $2.7 billion to ongoing spending. Although the Governor’s allocation to discretionary reserves represents a smaller share of resources than recent budgets, the Governor’s decision to use a significant share of resources to pay down state debts is prudent. The Governor’s ongoing spending proposal is roughly in line with our November estimate of the ongoing capacity of the budget under an economic growth scenario. This was just one scenario, however. Recent financial market volatility indicates revenues could be somewhat lower than either we or the administration estimated.