Proposition 1B Would Restore Educational Funding

The Vanguard is breaking down the ballot initiatives for the May 19, 2009 special election.  We began last week by looking at Proposition 1A.  Today we look at Proposition 1B.

Proposition 1B ensures that schools receive $9.3 billion over time, so that the money cut during the current budget crisis is not permanent.  The payments to schools will come out of the newly created rainy day fund, but not until 2011-2012 when the state’s fiscal outlook is expected to improve.

However, in order for that to occur, there must actually be a rainy day fund.  This means that Prop 1B is contingent upon Prop 1A passing.  If both Prop 1A and Prop 1B pass, it would guarantee $8 billion in school payments.

This is California Secretary of State’s Office’s description of the ballot initiative:

“The California Constitution requires the state, from all state revenues, to first set apart the moneys to be applied for the support of the public school system and public institutions of higher education.

The Constitution requires that the moneys to be applied by the state for the support of school districts and community college districts be not less than the greater of 3 amounts computed pursuant to specified tests.

The Constitution provides that school districts and community college districts are entitled to a maintenance factor, as specified, for any fiscal year in which they are allocated a reduced amount of funding pursuant to the 3rd test or pursuant to a suspension of the minimum funding guarantee.

This measure would provide, commencing with the 2011-12 fiscal year, that school districts and community college districts are to receive supplemental education payments in the total amount of $9,300,000,000, and would require the Legislature to annually appropriate that amount from a specified account until the full amount of the supplemental education payments has been allocated.

The measure would provide that the payments are in lieu of the maintenance factor amounts, if any, that otherwise would be determined for the 2007-08 or 2008-09 fiscal years.

The measure would make its operation contingent upon the establishment, under a separate provision of the Constitution, of the specified account from which the payments would be appropriated.

The measure would require that, of the appropriations to school districts for this purpose for the 2011-12 fiscal year, an amount not exceeding $200,000,000 be available only for the purposes set forth in a specified statute, as determined pursuant to the funding formula set forth in that statute.

The measure would require that any remaining funds from the appropriations made to school districts for the 2011-12 fiscal year, and all of the funds from the appropriations made to school districts for each subsequent fiscal year, be allocated to school districts as an adjustment to revenue limit apportionments, as specified by statute, in a manner that does not limit a recipient school district with regard to the purposes of the district for which the moneys may be expended.”

Once again we see an interesting mix of supporters and opponents.  Supporters include Budget Reform Now, the California Teachers Association, Farm Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, Retailers Association, Peace Officers Association, NAACP (all of these groups are supporting all six propostions), and the California Federation of Teachers (who is opposing Prop 1A).  Opponents include the California Nurses Association and AFSCME.

CTA argues:

“The budget crisis has cut more than $12 billion from our schools and colleges. Over 5,000 teachers and education support professionals have been laid off and thousands more are threatened. Prop. 1B starts the process of paying back our schools and community colleges as economic conditions improve. Prop. 1B sets up a repayment plan to ensure schools are repaid the $9 billion they are owed under the state’s minimum school funding law. The payments to schools would come out of the newly-created rainy day fund established in Prop. 1A and are dependent on the passage of Prop. 1A. Payments would not begin until 2011-2012. If we don’t pass 1B, California will be permanently downgrading its public school system. The future of our state depends on the investment we make in our public schools.”

David Sanchez, President of the CTA also wrote the ballot statement.  He writes in part:

“California schools have been hit very hard by the state budget crisis. Education spending has been cut by over $12 billion. These horrific cuts have forced the layoff of more than 5,000 teachers and threaten the jobs of at least 13,000 more.

These cuts have increased class sizes, left classrooms with out-of-date textbooks and provided school children with too few teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians. Important student programs like vocational education, art and music have been eliminated in many schools.

Prop. 1B starts the process of paying back to the schools and community colleges some of the money lost by these devastating cuts.

Instead of permanently losing these vital education funds, Prop. 1B sets up a repayment plan to ensure schools and community colleges are paid back as economic conditions improve. If we don’t pass 1B, California will be permanently downgrading its public school system.

That is why the California Teachers Association urges you to vote Yes on Prop. 1B.”

AFSCME’s state council has voted to oppose all of the propositions, but some of their locals have voted to support all of them. 

AFSCME’s opposition to Prop 1B probably has more to do with Prop 1A and the fact that Prop 1B is moot without the passage of Prop 1A.

Peter Hecht of the Sacramento Bee explains the divergence between AFSCME’s state council and some of their locals.

The 179,000-member American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees is calling for “no” votes for the entire package.

“The spending cap (in Prop. 1A) is an awful way of not balancing a budget plan for California,” said Willie Pelote, a lobbyist for the statewide group. It seems that the split between the local and the statewide union may hinge on which has the higher percentage of state workers. … In the statewide union, only about 28,000 of AFSCME’s members are state employees.

Pelote said that the local is in contract talks with the state and want to support the budget initiative plan. He said the statewide union has no protest over the local breaking ranks.

“I understand the situation they’re caught in if their members feel they want to vote ‘yes’ on the initiatives,” Pelote said. “But we’re taking a ‘no’ position. And that’s what we’re putting out in the press.”

Interestingly enough the California Federation of Teachers is opposing Prop 1A but support Prop 1B.  This is probably simply a matter of hedging their vote.  They prefer Prop 1A to go down, but if it does not, they are at least trying to restore educational funding.  Their official position is somewhat vague:

“CFT voted to support Proposition 1B because, although Proposition 1B does not fully address the requirements to fund education under Proposition 98, it is a less costly avenue than filing a lawsuit to secure the bulk of that revenue.”

The bottom line from what we see is that once you figure out what to do with Proposition 1A, it makes Proposition 1B somewhat easier.  No one opposes Proposition 1B who doesn’t also oppose Proposition 1A.  This simply restores the funding that has been cut, but can only do it if it has the rainy day fund to draw upon.  So the question is whether you want the rainy day fund created in the first place along with the other subtleties of Proposition 1A which include extending the tax increase another two years and allowing the Governor to have unmitigated midyear authority to cut spending programs.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. huh?

    “As I said before, when in doubt, vote “no”…”

    In other words, if you don’t have time to read it or think about it, vote “no”, because surely you will be doubting what the initiative is about. Sometimes it’s just easier not to think, isn’t it?

  2. remy

    I agree. Vote no. This is a patchwork of tape, sticks, glue, you name it. The system is broken. Let’s push the whole system over the cliff and start over.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Yep the children, many of them disadvantaged would be the first over the cliff. I certainly do not have faith that if we sent it over the cliff, we’d pick up the pieces any time soon. We’ll be talking about a lost generation of Californians, crime, poverty, it’d be a disaster. Wish people would think more carefully before they become impulsive.

  4. madame shoes

    Do you know how many cuts have come down the pipeline to mental health services, medical – in home supportive services? It’s huge. Why is the CTA not coming in with a proposition to support and reinstate these desperately needed social services to the underserved people? If mental health and other services are cut, the teachers will get their money, but the students will continue to suffer and fail without these other supportive services to supplement the education spending. I ask that the CTA if they are truly interested in the well being of students, then they introduce a proposition to restore funding to mental health and other social service programs that are desperately needed by poor struggling students and their families. These kids and families are being failed any way by the school system and teachers association. Watch and see how many millions of dollars the CTA will spend in advertising dollars to get this proposition passed. That money could be put into a scholarship fund or something. If they want education funding to be restored, why don’t they include in the proposition funding for tutoring, afterschool sports programs, and better support for mental health and special needs students? It would appear that the teachers only care about their bottom line and their own selfish economic interests. It would be a better pill to swalllow if they did more advocating for children, students and families rather than just an increase in their paychecks. County workers get paid nothing and seem to carry the majority of the burden of children failing in schools. WHy don’t we put the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who are responsible for educating the children. The blame should be put on the schools and teachers. Help parents support their children better and stop demonizing those that are less fortunate mr and mrs teacher. Stop putting the children down and furthering the social decline of these populations. Every one is to blame (parents, teachers, students, administrators) Why don’t we all work together to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

  5. madame shoes

    Personally, the teachers should have included provisions in the bill so that everyone would benefit, not just the teachers. And btw, there are already lost generations to crime and poverty and the failure lies in the failure of education. This bill is flawed and should come with strings attached. eg. education should get more money only if students will get more money in the form of alternative education, perhaps private tutoring etc. These additional services will ensure that students won’t fail. Throwing more money at the teachers union unfortunately is not the answer.
    I wish it was, but it’s not. Kids are suffering, parents are suffering, everyone is suffering. THis bill should include services to those that are hurt the hardest by the cuts.
    There’s nothing in the bill for these services. THis is why it’s coming up against so much opposition. Also the state employees get paid nothing compared to the teachers. It seems a bit unfair that one segment gets a huge pay raise while others are ignored and left to flounder in the California public servant arena.
    Like I said, we should work together so everyone can benefit and be part of the solution.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Madame: The teachers didn’t write the proposition, it was one of the propositions that was developed during the budget negotiations to restore the $8 billion cut from schools this year.

  7. When In Doubt

    “As I said before, when in doubt, vote “no”…”
    “In other words, if you don’t have time to read it or think about it, vote “no”, because surely you will be doubting what the initiative is about. Sometimes it’s just easier not to think, isn’t it?”

    IN OTHER WORDS, if you don’t agree w Prop 1A, setting aside a rainy day fund, that removes flexibility in the use of state funding – something the schools could tell you is a real problem – then 1B fails for a lack of funding from 1A. If you are in doubt about 1A, then it makes no sense to vote no on 1A, but yes on 1B! I should have made myself clearer on my point.

    When I have read and understood a proposition, and still have doubts, I generally vote “no”. If it is not clear to me the proposition will be a benefit, and could be a detriment, then I will play conservative, and not vote for it. As I said, when in doubt on propositions, vote “not”, bc so often these things have unintended consequences. For instance, how are we going to afford the funding for light rail that was passed, when the state has to cut basic programs. That just didn’t make any sense to me.

  8. hypocritical union

    The CTA is an integral part of the budget process. They are the ones demanding more money for their programs but are ignoring the rest. I’m going to vote “no” because throwing more money after a program that’s failing any way sounds much like a giant ponzii scheme to me.

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