Updated Information on the State-Wide Propositions and BRSSD

We have received updated information on the potential impact BRSSD will see from Propositions 30 & 38. The clear import is that it is absolutely critical that we pass Proposition 30–Governor Brown’s proposal.

Proposition 30

The failure to pass Prop. 30 will result in dramatic cuts to many districts in California–especially those that are “revenue limit” districts (see my prior post for descriptions of revenue limit and basic aid districts). BRSSD, of course, is not a revenue limit district. Nonetheless, we will not be held harmless. Rather, we will be assessed a further “fair share” payment to the state to the total of an addition $1.5M. This amount can come from categorical money we receive and/or from Special Education money we get from the state. Those following BRSSD’s budget will recognize that the state has already taken nearly all of our categorical money; now they are threatening to take our Special Education money as well. We get roughly $2M in Special Education money. We have been given something of a reprieve for 2012-2013 and can expect to lose $75K, but for 2013-2014, we could lose $1.5M. Given that Special Education already represents approximately a 25% encroachment on the General Fund (in part because the federal government is failing to pay what it has promised), you can quickly see the dire consequences this would have.

The passage of Proposition 30 is essential to our efforts to continue providing a quality education to our children and I encourage everyone to learn about it and get involved.

Proposition 38

Prop. 38 is better known as the Molly Munger initiative. Our consultants have told us that we should be very concerned about its passage. If the Munger Proposition passes and gets more votes than Prop. 30, it will become law and Prop. 30 will fail. BRSSD would stand to get some money in the short term. Unfortunately, it is looking likely that the state would declare a fiscal state of emergency because it could not fund all the other worthy priorities it has. (The Munger plan forces the tax money to be used for education while the Brown plan gives the state more flexibility.)

Declaring a state of emergency would allow the state to suspend the provisions of Prop. 98 (guaranteeing schools get a percentage of the state budget) for an indeterminate amount of time. The state could then shift money away from schools leaving only the money mandated for schools by the Munger plan–equalling no real benefit. The downside would be that schools would lose Prop. 98 and the Munger taxes have an expiration date. The future funding would be very unclear once they expire. The lost guarantee would be very risky for our schools.

I described the Munger plan as a 2nd option to Proposition 30 in a prior post. Given that our consultants have confirmed what Sen. Leland Yee said could happen, I would not feel comfortable encouraging voters to vote for Proposition 38. The risk of unintended consequences is too great. I also think we should be concerned about making spending decisions through the initiative process–it makes it terribly difficult to govern the state.

In any event, I encourage everyone to learn what they can about these Propositions and get involved. I strongly support Proposition 30 and would hope you would too. Having said that, we will still need to have local solutions to some of these problems so I also ask you to get involved with our schools. Volunteering for School Force, PTA, and parcel tax efforts are a great way to get to know people and have a positive impact on our community’s children’s futures. 

About Brian Matthews

Belmont-Redwood Shores School District Trustee
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