Friday, April 29, 2011

San Francisco’s “All-Cuts” Budget

Educational Slash and Burn (Image by Joseph Robertson)
Governor Brown’s tax extension proposal, which would have possibly closed California’s gaping budget hole, is now off the table. As a result, San Francisco Unified now faces two possibilities: “Scenario B” (the new best-case scenario) requires cutting $25 million ($330 per student) for 2011-12, and more in 2012-13; or an “all cuts” budget that would slash $800 or more per student, according to SF School Board Member Rachel Norton.

The California Budget Project (CBP) has published a district-by-district breakdown of what an all cuts budget might look like. The cuts are breath taking and will likely result in class size increases, more layoffs, furloughs, and losses of instructional programs and services (See  Schools Prepare to Cut Foreign Language Classes).

Historically, state budget cuts have harmed the “revenue limit” districts (the overwhelming majority of districts) the most, as the “basic aid” districts tend to have higher local property tax revenues to offset state cuts. (Basic aid district receive only “basic aid” from the state because they need less due to their higher tax revenues.) This has recently changed, with the governor signing a “share-the-pain” law that cuts deeply into what the state pays out to basic aid districts. Some basic aid districts have had their state funding slashed by 90%, which is resulting in per pupil cuts of anywhere from $680 to $800.

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