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California Conference Committee Closes Out Budget Negotiations

Branché Jones

June 13, 2013


Monday night, June 10th, the conference committee closed out the open items in the budget negotiations.  The legislature and the California Governor have reached agreement on a budget deal and while we are still waiting for the language to actually appear for the education trailer bill (and other issue area trailer bills), it is very important that we see the actual trailer bill language because that will be the language that fully implements this agreement but here is a summary of the deal.
Proposition 98 will be funded at levels similar to the Governor’s May Revision, with minor adjustments – $15 million less in the current year and $22 million higher in 2013–14. The compromise spends virtually the same on deferral buy down in the current year, but spends $650 million less than the Governor proposed for 2013-14.  There will also be $1.25 billion in the budget for the implementation of common core standards.  The federal sequestration cuts to special education are not going to be backfilled but the budget does spend $30 million for equalization.  Proposition 39 funds will be used for K-14 schools only.  The pending language should revolve around a poverty-weighted allotment of Prop 39 funds to each school district and community college district based on their average daily attendance (ADA). Charter schools should be included in these allotments.  You would be responsible for submitting applications for energy saving projects based on criteria established by the California Energy Commission and to have those applications approved before receiving funds.  A small amount of funds will be provided for the Workforce Investment Board ($3 Million) for Veterans and at-risk youth focused on energy related projects.  Additionally, the requirement that LEAs give charter schools first priority on sale or lease of surplus property will be extended until 2016.
The Governor also won on his effort to change the way that schools are funded in California.  Though he compromised with the legislature his Local Control Funding Formula will be implemented with changes to proposed funding levels and the supplemental and concentration grants.  There will be $2.1 billion to implement the plan, roughly $214 million more than the Governor proposed. The Administration says the compromise spends 84% of the funds on the Base Grant and 16% on the Supplemental and Concentration Grants.
Here are the highlights of the plan:

  • Increases target per-pupil Base Grant by $537 above the May Revision.
  • The portion of the overall formula that is devoted to Base Grants is 84% (May Revision was 80%).
  • The compromise provides additional funding for an “economic recovery payment” to ensure that virtually all districts get back to their 2007-08 state funding levels, adjusted for inflation. (Because of some anomalies, a small number of very small school districts would not get back to the 2007-08 levels.)
  • Districts and charter schools would receive an additional 20 percent of the Base Grant for low income and English learner students.
  • While the Supplement Grant rate is reduced from the May Revision level (35% of the base rate), the Supplemental Grant rate is calculated on the much higher Base Grant. Thus, there is very little difference between the lower Base Grant/higher Supplemental Grant approach vs. and higher Base Grant/lower Supplement approach.
  • Districts and charter schools would qualify for additional concentration funding if 55% of their students are low income and English learners. (May Revision threshold was 50 percent.)
  • The Concentration Grant rate would be at 50% of the Base Grant for each low income and English learner student above the 55 percent threshold.
  • Full implementation is estimated to take eight years.
  • There are also ‘hold harmless’ provisions so no district or charter school receives lower funding in the budget year than they currently do.

These are the highlights and what is available today.  We are all waiting for the actual language to be released so everyone can provide a better analysis and make sure the figures are accurate.

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