LAO 2005-06 Budget Analysis: General Government

Analysis of the 2005-06 Budget Bill

Legislative Analyst's Office
February 2005

Military Department (8940)

The Military Department is responsible for the command and management of the California Army and Air National Guard. To support the operations for a force of about 20,000 personnel, the department maintains a headquarters complex in Sacramento, 118 armories, 32 equipment maintenance facilities, and 10 air bases throughout the state.

The mission of the National Guard is to (1) provide mission-ready forces to the federal government, (2) protect the public safety of the citizens of California by providing military support to civil authorities during natural disasters and other emergencies, and (3) provide service and support to local communities in California.

The budget proposes $673 million ($33 million General Fund) in expenditures. Most of the Military Department's budget, about $571 million, comes from federal funds.

Oakland Military Institute

Since the Oakland Military Institute has been able to increase enrollment and operate for two years with reduced Military Department personnel, we recommend that the Legislature reject the proposed General Fund increase of $1.3 million. (Reduce Item 8940-001-0001 by $1.3 million.)

The budget requests an additional $1.3 million in General Fund support for the Oakland Military Institute (OMI). The request would reestablish 12 positions that were eliminated in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 budgets.

Background. The OMI is a joint effort of the Military Department, the City of Oakland, and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) for a military charter school for Oakland students in grades 6 to 10. The purpose of the school is to promote the academic achievement of disadvantaged students through a strictly structured and disciplined environment. In addition to the standard state curriculum, students receive instruction in military subjects, such as military customs, physical training, drill, and map reading. Military personnel are responsible for OMI administration, including budgeting, program management, policy development, and coordinating campus security. In addition to these duties, military staff escort students to and from the school, provide instruction in military subjects, and serve as classroom mentors. The OUSD provides instructional staffing, books, and educational supplies. The City of Oakland provides facilities, furniture, and computers. Currently, OMI has 425 students.

School Has Expanded Despite Budget Reductions. In 2002-03, OMI had a General Fund budget of $2.4 million. Budget reductions in 2003-04 and 2004-05 reduced OMI's budget—resulting in a General Fund appropriation of $1.3 million in 2004-05. Due to these budget reductions, the Military Department reduced its OMI-assigned staff by 12 positions to its current level of 10 positions. Even with these budget reductions, OMI increased its enrollment this year by 100 additional students. In the budget year, OMI plans to include an 11th grade for the first time.

Recommend Rejecting Proposal. The OMI continues to conduct its programs with reduced Military Department personnel. If OMI chooses to expand in the budget year, it should do so with resources other than the General Fund. A denial of additional General Fund dollars for OMI does not preclude OUSD or the City of Oakland from using existing charter school funds or other sources (including local funds and private donations) to expand the school. Consequently, we recommend that the Legislature reject the proposed augmentation.

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