What’s happening now?
As most people know, the Governor’s proposed budget for 2020-21 (presented on May 14) shows $54 billion in revenue loss for the state, and cuts education funding significantly – including TK-12 funding, higher education, and early childhood education. For summaries of the impacts on check out:
- Education Coalition’s statement on the May Revise: “Schools Cannot Physically Reopen Safely with the Funding Level Proposed in the May Revision” (May 20)
- Education Coalition’s letter to policymakers
- California School Board Associations’s May 20 webinar on the May Revise
- CalMatters analysis: “Schools face prospect of layoffs, furloughs as state budget shrinks” (May 15)
- California Budget and Policy Center on cuts to subsidized child care (which Albany Children’s Center is partially funded by)
How will AUSD be impacted?
Our Chief Budget Officer estimates that we will lose $2.3 million in revenues for 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23. This includes revenue losses for Local Control Funding Formula allocations, an increase in special education funding, and cost savings for pension contributions (which have been frozen at 2019-20 levels for at least two years; former budgets included an increase in those costs).
What happens next?
The state legislature must vote on a budget by June 15, which the Governor must sign by June 30. The Governor’s proposal is not guaranteed to be the final budget. Many things could change:
- The legislature could come up with a different configuration of cuts (i.e. less funding for prisons, more for K-12, or spreading the K-12 cuts differently among districts).
- The legislature could use a different projection of revenues and expenditures that leads to a bigger or smaller reduction. No one can be sure what actual revenues will be for 2020-21, so everything is a guess. The Governor’s budget is probably closer to the worst-case scenario; the legislature may prefer to pass a budget with a rosier scenario (this has pros and cons: it also takes the legislature off the hook for finding new revenue sources, and if the federal aid or state revenues they count on don’t materialize, we would have to make cuts mid-year).
- The legislature could push for new revenue measures (many of which would need to go on the November ballot), such as fairer taxation on corporations, which have benefited from decades of tax cuts.
- The federal government could approve some aid to states and/or school districts. If it comes to states, it’s not clear how that would affect K-12 funding.
There are “trigger cuts” that might be restored with sufficient federal aid. The budget passed in June will likely incorporate such language – making it clear how federal aid will be spent. (Because Congress seems to be moving slowly, it’s a near certainty that the California budget will pass before the federal government approves additional stimulus spending).
Even the June budget may not be the final 2020-21 budget. When state taxes are calculated in August, the legislature could approve additional budget modifications, which would take effect immediately.
What can I do?
Call and email your state legislators: demand that we fund education better, and that the legislature explore new revenue sources (temporary or permanent) to fill the gap. There are some good talking points in the Education Coalition’s letter to the Governor (above).
If you’re in Albany, here are your representatives:
California State Senate, District 9
Senator Nancy Skinner
Capitol Office: Phone: 1 + (916) 651-4009/ Fax: 1 + (916) 651-4909
District Office: Phone: 1 + (510) 286-1333/ Fax: 1 + (510) 286-3885
California State Assembly, District 15
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
Capitol Office: Phone: 1 + (916) 319-2015/ Fax: 1 + (916) 319-2115
District Office: Phone: 1 + (510) 286-1400/ Fax: 1 + (510) 286-1406
Assembly Committee on Budget: has links with updated information about the budget, and contact information for committee members.
Senate Standing Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review: has links on upcoming hearings and contact information for committee members. The education subcommittee met on Monday May 25.
Elisa Wynne – K-12 and Child Care – firstname.lastname@example.org