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.
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.
“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