Education Finance Fact

Education Finance Fact - Full - Supermajority
There are 120 legislative members and the 2008-09 Budget stalemate came down to eight votes.


Under California’s Constitution, a supermajority—two-thirds of the Legislature in both houses—is needed to pass a State Budget. In 2008-09, given the composition of the State Senate and Assembly, this means that two Senate Republicans (out of 27) and six Assembly Republicans (out of 54) must vote with all the Democrats to pass a Budget. The constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote dates back to 1879.

California is notorious for its late Budgets, in large part because of the two-thirds requirement. Agreement between the parties is required to pass a Budget—for better or for worse. In fact, California is one of only three states in the country that require a supermajority vote. The other states are Rhode Island and Arkansas. Almost all other states pass budgets with a simple majority.

Records are made to be broken—2008-09 goes down in history as the longest budget standoff, knocking 2002-03 from the top of the list. In that year, the State Budget was passed on September 1 and signed by Governor Gray Davis on September 5, 2002, but who’s counting.

Since the finances of California educational agencies are state controlled, the absence of a State Budget affects planning and management in a significant way. School Services understands the importance of getting information about the State Budget out to school agencies in a timely way because it’s needed to inform school agency budget development and updating. Each year, we offer workshops that quickly turn around information from the Governor’s January Budget Proposal, May Revision, and Final Budget Act in a format that helps with immediate budget planning decisions and broader communication within your school community.

More information can be found at:

Useful Links:
  National Council of State Legislatures
Workshops:
  School Finance Conference
  Governor's Budget
  May Revise
SSC Experts:
  Robert Miyashiro
  Nancy LaCasse
  David Heckler

Education Finance Fact - Full - School Districts

By 1935, there were more than 3,500 school districts in the state. Today, there are fewer than 1,000 local educational agencies.


For nearly a century, as California’s population grew, so too did the number of school districts. By 1935, there were more than 3,500 school districts in the state with a population of around 6 million. In 2007, with more than six times as many people (around 36.6 million), there are one-third the number of school districts (fewer than 1,000).

Over the past 70 years, there have been several successful attempts to provide financial incentives to promote districts to unify, unionize, and consolidate. Today, there are a handful of reorganizations that occur each year and they more or less follow the process introduced more than 50 years ago. The State Board of Education is responsible for reviewing all petitions for district reorganization, which have been reviewed first by a local district organization committee. The structure of the committee varies. In some areas, this responsibility is part of the regular duties of the County Board of Education and, in other areas, there is an appointed board that includes representation from throughout the community.

While the state encourages consolidation of school districts, it is generally a lengthy process, taking years to go from idea to approval. Several factors are considered when evaluating any proposed reorganization, including fiscal and educational impact, community identity, and race/ethnic segregation. Each year, School Services is involved in a number of school district reorganization-related studies where we assess the likely impacts of the reorganization for school districts and/or county committees prior to bringing any recommendation to the State Board of Education. Given the lengthy time and cost of such an endeavor, such studies ensure that implementation barriers and challenges are known up front.

More information can be found at:

Useful Links:
  www.cde.ca.gov/re/lr/do/documents/dochap2.doc
Workshops:
  SSC's School District Reorganization Workshop
SSC Experts:
  Robert Miyashiro
  
  

Education Finance Fact - Full - Ranking

California is well below average among all states in expenditures per student. When adjusted for regional cost variation, the ranking plummets to 47th.

A variety of groups publish reports each year that compare spending on education across the country. During the past decade, California has stagnated near the middle of the rankings when spending per pupil is compared to unadjusted regional cost differences. The NEA's December 2007 Rankings and Estimates report, California was ranked 29th in spending per student in 2005-06. The report noted that California's expenditures per student were approximately $8,486, compared to the national average of $9,100 (a gap of $614 per student).

Based on an analysis by Education Week, California ranked 47th among the 50 states with an adjusted expenditure level of $7,081 per student compared to the national average of $8,973 per student. New Jersey and New York rank 1 and 2 respectively, with cost-adjusted expenditures of more than $12,200 per student.

While California’s relative ranking based on expenditures per student is not new news, it is worth noting that the gap between the spending on education of California and other states continues to lag behind the national average. Given the current state of the California Budget, it may be a while before we see progress relative to what other states are spending.

School Services of California understands how important it is to fight for adequate and fair funding for schools. Over the years, we’ve led the charge to get state funding for equalization of revenue limits, protected support for special education, and ensured that Basic Aid districts are treated fairly. Each year, we also quickly turn around information about the State Budget as it develops through workshops about the State Budget (e.g., Governor’s Budget, May Revision, and School Finance and Management Conference) and Fiscal Report and Community College Update reporting. Our goal is to support the effective and sound management of education agencies by sharing what we know and supporting the expertise of the field.

Education Finance Fact - Full - Hourly Programs
More than 112 million hours of supplemental instruction was provided to students, but an equivalent of only 84% of this time was fully funded by the state.


There are a variety of ways that school districts receive funding for programs offered outside of the school day (e.g., summer school and after-school programs). California funds a special type of program, commonly referred to supplemental hourly instructional programs, to support supplemental instruction. This funding is provided to school agencies with funding based on the number of hours of support provided to eligible students.

California spends around $375 million each year on such programs. This sounds like a lot of money, but, at the current rate paid to school agencies, this amounts to less than 15 hours per student per year. As the state and federal accountability requirements have increased, so too has demand for supplemental instruction programs. Unfortunately, while demand has grown, reflecting the needs of students, funding has increased to reflect inflation alone. If California were to fully fund the hours of support provided by districts each year, an additional $75 million in funding would be required.

Hourly programs were created by the state to address the need for additional instruction targeted to at-risk students and, on a limited basis, provide opportunities for enrichment. During the past several years, deficits to hourly programs have grown with no end in sight. Together with county office and district leaders, School Services created the Coalition for Hourly Instructional Programs (CHIP) to seek changes in law and funding to put an end to deficits to hourly programs and to help districts effectively manage their hourly programs.

More information can be found at:

Useful Links:
  CDE Hourly Program Information
  CHIP Information
Workshops:
  Building a Better Budget Workshop
SSC Experts:
David Heckler