School Finance 2009-10: Budget Cataclysm and its Aftermath


Trying to make sense of the 2009-10 education budget and a year when everything went topsy turvey?
This 20-page report looks at how California got to this point and leads you through the cuts, funding delays, and policy changes that lawmakers implemented in 2009 to address a state budget crisis that just kept getting worse. It also explains the impact on local education agencies, including the changed rules around many K-12 programs such as Class Size Reduction.
Some key messages from the report:

  • California has struggled with creating sound state budgets since the early 2000s, so the national economic downturn hit the state particularly hard.
  • K-12 spending cuts have been a major part of the budget solutions and were accompanied by substantive changes in how education funds are allocated, including some new flexibility.
  • Local school agencies must absorb funding cuts, address cash flow challenges, and plan carefully in order to avoid insolvency.
  • Going forward, Californians may either have to accept the “new normal” of continued education reductions or push for schools to be exempted from further cuts as another bad year begins.