Nanette Asimov | San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, May 15, 2008
(05-14) 19:18 PDT -- PROPOSAL: Funding would drop by 8.8 percent. The Proposition 98 funding guarantee for schools would remain intact but would be insufficient to make up a $4 billion shortfall. So the governor would cut programs and withhold a cost-of-living increase. Per-pupil funding would rise from $8,521 to $8,610. He is also proposing a ballot measure to end public education's guaranteed 35 percent share of state lottery revenue and freeze its future share at the dollar amount it received this year - $1.2 billion.
WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU: Although fewer teachers would lose their jobs, schools and programs would not escape deep cuts. Elementary class sizes would swell, and many other programs - including class-size reduction, classes for academically gifted students, adult education and professional development for teachers - would be cut. Special education would not be cut, as had been proposed in January. Districts would receive new flexibility in managing their budgets. This would give them access to funds previously locked up in mandated reserves, or capped at certain levels. Educators have not yet analyzed the impact of a lottery ballot measure.
REACTION: Exhausted after months of rallies and protests, educators expressed relief that schools might be shielded from the worst. But they aren't happy. "The failure to fund a cost-of-living adjustment amounts to a serious budget cut," said state schools chief Jack O'Connell. Scott Plotkin, executive director of the California School Boards Association, said: "The bottom line is that schools statewide will still be woefully underfunded."