Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Could Funding for California Public Schools Be Put on Hold?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    California has a responsibility to its children to provide educational funding from kindergarten all the way through high school.  But it doesn't stop there.  Community colleges are also included. That's what voters decided when they approved Proposition 98 back in 1988. It insures the basic educational needs of the state's kids will be met.  

    Now, facing a mountain of debt, a legislative analyst says the suspension of Prop 98 is unavoidable.

    Mac Taylor is a member of the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office. He suggests that California doesn't have the funds to satisfy its obligation under Prop 98.The purpose of the proposition is to set minimum annual funding that grows each year with both the economy and the number of students.  But what if the economy shrinks, the number of student applications grows and you're in a $20 billion hole?

    That's where the suggestion to suspend 98 comes in. 

    A temporary suspension would give the legislature a little breathing room while it tries to agree on just what the Prop 98 requirement is for the upcoming year. Seems a bit of a reach considering the two parties can't agree on how to close the budget gap, or how to raise additional revenues.  
     
    There's a "maintenance factor" built into 98.  That means that for each year the state fails to come up with the funds, IOU's are put in place.  That's money that has to be paid back.  That number now sits at $11 billion. 

    Neither the governor nor the Dems in the legislature have suggested a suspension of Prop 98.  At least not yet.