January 7, 2015
State Budget 2016-17: No School Bond or New School Facilities Proposal
Today, the Governor released his 2016-17 State Budget, which does not include a proposal for a school bond, and which restates his previous proposals on K-12 school facilities that were included in his last three State Budgets. The Governor also references the Californians for Quality Schools (CQS) initiative, objecting to the fact that it does not make changes to the existing School Facility Program (SFP), and that it would add an additional $500 million in General Fund debt service; however, when asked directly if he supported the CQS initiative in his press conference, he stopped short of opposing it.
Concerning his programmatic priorities, the Governor reiterated his argument that “California needs a new program that corrects the deficiencies of the existing program,” and that, “…the Department of Finance (DOF) convened a series of meetings to discuss a new facilities program and obtain feedback from education stakeholders.” It is worth noting that the changes the Governor proposes can be accomplished by administrative action.
C.A.S.H. is pleased that key stakeholders continue to discuss the need for a solution to California’s school facility needs. We will proceed with our State School Bond initiative, and continue to advocate for adequate funding for school facilities on behalf of California’s students.
Other Key Issues:
The Governor proposes an additional $323.1 million ($212.1 million General Fund) in one-time funds to continue immediate response to the drought. These funds are proposed for programs across various agencies and departments.
The Governor proposes $365.4 million to support K-12 school districts and charter school energy projects, subject to California Energy Commission (CEC) plan approval in 2016-17. The proposal also includes an increase of $45.2 million to support community college energy efficiency projects clean energy job development programs.
Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan
The Governor proposes a $3.1 billion Cap-and-Trade Expenditure Plan that will “reduce GHG emissions through programs that support clean transportation, reduce short-lived climate pollutants, protect natural ecosystems, and benefit disadvantaged communities.” The Plan funds programs across various state agencies in categories such as “50 Percent Reduction in Petroleum Use” and “Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy.” Addressing climate change will continue to be one of the Governor’s priorities.
General Summary and One-Time Discretionary Funds:
The 2016-17 State Budget includes $122.6 billion in General Fund spending, a 5.6% increase over the current year. While revenues are up and the economic condition is positive, the Governor emphasized the need to plan for the next inevitable downturn by avoiding new permanent spending, favoring one-time uses for additional revenues. For example, he proposes an extra $2 billion payment to the Rainy Day Fund, for a total of $3.7 billion. The budget includes an additional $5.4 billion for K-14 education, including an additional $2.8 billion investment in the Local Control Funding Formula, an increase of 5.4%. Concerning One-Time Discretionary Funds, the Governor proposes an increase of more than $1.2 billion in one-time Proposition 98 General Funds for school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to use at local discretion, for items such as technology, professional development, deferred maintenance, etc.
~ C.A.S.H. Staff