Friday, June 10, 2005

Ever wonder where those $2 billion could have gone?

The LA Unified School District is being forced to make severe budget cuts. According to the LA Times the district is planning on cutting $221 million from their budget this year.
"The Los Angeles Board of Education got its first glimpse Tuesday of additional cuts needed to balance the school district's 2005-06 budget, including scrapping a $14-million attendance incentive program and reducing the special education books and supplies budget by $10 million.


"Also facing a $1-million funding cut is the Education Options program, a dropout prevention effort."
The article, to its benefit, clearly links this budget shortfall to Gov. Schwarzenegger's not fully funding Proposition 98:
"The district is facing a budget shortfall largely because of a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to withhold the school funding that Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988, requires. The law set up a funding formula that provides schools with at least 40% of the state's budget each year and increases education spending with revenue.

"The governor and education groups agreed last year to withhold about $2.2 billion in state funds due to schools under Proposition 98. The governor promised that he would reinstate Proposition 98's provisions the following year and would not tamper with it again.

"Instead, Schwarzenegger proposed a budget in January that would again withhold the guaranteed funds from schools and announced that he would seek voter permission to amend Proposition 98."
However, there are two things the article fails to mention. Gov. Schwarzenegger had a chance to fully fund schools in his May revised budget (thanks to an unexpected increase in revenue), but he chose not to, and these budget cuts come after years of already slim budgets.

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