I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

27 February 2010

Interesting Developments in School Funding

1. The Governor's proposed budget - and it is very important to remember that this budget is his proposal, and the state Legislature is not required to adopt it - requires the federal Secretary of Education handing California a waiver.

California took stimulus funding for education, and doing so required that it agree to maintain school funding at the same levels as four years prior. In the case of massive shortfalls, the state can get a waiver if the same proportional funding is maintained. Through prefunding (budgeting money for next year into the 09-10 budget, so that schools get it now but can't use it until 10-11) and changing gasoline taxes into "fees" (a change in name only that keeps these TAXES from entering the General Fund, thereby making them unavailable to Prop. 98's funding guarantees) the Governor's budget claims to do this.

This is, obviously, a scam - or at best, it uses the letter of the law to beat the hell out of the spirit. If Duncan refuses the waiver, the Governor needs to cut the cuts - $850 million need to come back into the budget.

The state Legislature is trying to come up with a way that will enable the tax/fee reversal to go through but maintain school funding through upping tax revenue; all current proposals have been threatened by veto (even the one that passed). It is a win-win for the Governor and state Dems to get an agreement here: the state Dems look tough and the Governor gets to claim he totally saved education. I do not support these: taxes are taxes are taxes, and this particular renaming also underfunds transportation infrastructure projects.

2. The ACLU is suing LAUSD. They want an injunction against layoffs at three schools in Watts based on the inequitable education created by the 2009 layoffs. Note: they're suing LAUSD, not UTLA. It is the district, not the union, that is required to create ed equity. It is the district, not the union, that decides what impact funding cuts will have. It is the district, not the union, that agrees to contracts that do not protect high-needs schools.

In short: We should be printing mass copies of the complaint, folding same into paper airplanes, and firing them at St. Carlos, the Most Blameless Superintendent Who Ever Gifted SFUSD with His Presence.

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