Education Funding

California Governor Eyes Plan to Cap State Spending

By Joetta L. Sack — December 10, 2003 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to protect education funding during his campaign. But less than a month after taking office, the governor is discussing a plan to cap state spending, which many say would result in sizable cuts to K-12 and higher education programs.

The governor has asked the legislature to approve a measure that would allow Californians to vote on a $15 billion general bond to “refinance” the state’s deficit. He also proposed a total of $1.9 billion in cuts for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, out of a total annual state budget of about $90 billion.

The governor wants to cut an $85 million program that helps minority students gain access to college.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, says the measures, which he calls the “California Recovery Plan,” are needed to shore up the state’s struggling economy and ensure that the state does not spend more than it collects in revenues.

The move has infuriated some educators and Democrats, and threatens to end their amicable relationship with the governor that was evident in the first few weeks after the Oct. 7 recall election (“Educators Watchful as California Opens Schwarzenegger Era,” Oct. 15, 2003.)

Last week, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, a likely Democratic candidate for the state’s 2006 gubernatorial race, launched a campaign against the governor’s bond plan. Speaking at a private school on Dec. 2, Mr. Angelides said the proposal would spread out the state’s debt over up to 30 years, and would force the next generation to pay for current spending.

“Clear and simple, this massive deficit-borrowing proposal will mortgage our children’s future,” he said. “Lawmakers should reject the governor’s bond plan and call on him to bring them a comprehensive plan to truly balance the budget.”

If approved by the legislature, residents would vote on the bond issue as early as March.

Also at issue is Proposition 55, a $12 billion school facilities bond that is scheduled to go before voters in March. If the governor succeeds in getting his measure on the March ballot, he may ask the legislature to reschedule the Proposition 55 vote in order not to compete with the general fund bond and create too much debt.

‘Important Step’

The governor’s office said that $15 billion bond would only be sold if Californians agreed to a constitutional spending limit that would fix the amount of general-fund money the government can spend. The plan would also deposit extra money into a rainy day fund.

Vincent F. Sollitto, a spokesman for the governor, said he would not cut K-12 spending and that he believed cutting the college-outreach program would have the least impact on classrooms.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said that the plan to cap spending would adversely affect Proposition 98, the state’s 1988 constitutional amendment that guarantees schools will receive a minimum funding level from the state. In harsh economic circumstances, Proposition 98 allows the legislature and governor to suspend the school aid guarantee, but stipulates that the lost funds would be paid back to schools when the economy improves.

Under Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposal, schools would not recoup lost funds, which could amount to about $2 billion a year, said Rick Miller, Mr. O’Connell’s spokesman.

“Amending the constitution is a serious and important step, and we should not move too fast or we will end up with a flawed result,” said Mr. Miller. He added that Mr. O’Connell believes Gov. Schwarzenegger will continue to support Proposition 98, as he promised during his campaign this fall.

Gov. Schwarzenegger called the legislature back into a special session just after taking office on Nov. 17 to deal with the budget.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding When There's More Money for Schools, Is There an 'Objective' Way to Hand It Out?
A fight over the school funding formula in Mississippi is kicking up old debates over how to best target aid.
7 min read
Illustration of many roads and road signs going in different directions with falling money all around.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Explainer How Can Districts Get More Time to Spend ESSER Dollars? An Explainer
Districts can get up to 14 additional months to spend ESSER dollars on contracts—if their state and the federal government both approve.
4 min read
Illustration of woman turning back hands on clock.
Education Week + iStock / Getty Images Plus Week
Education Funding Education Dept. Sees Small Cut in Funding Package That Averted Government Shutdown
The Education Department will see a reduction even as the funding package provides for small increases to key K-12 programs.
3 min read
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about healthcare at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26, 2024.
President Joe Biden delivers a speech about health care at an event in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26. Biden signed a funding package into law over the weekend that keeps the federal government open through September but includes a slight decrease in the Education Department's budget.
Matt Kelley/AP
Education Funding Biden's Budget Proposes Smaller Bump to Education Spending
The president requested increases to Title I and IDEA, and funding to expand preschool access in his 2025 budget proposal.
7 min read
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering prices for American families during an event at the YMCA Allard Center on March 11, 2024, in Goffstown, N.H.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering prices for American families during an event at the YMCA Allard Center on March 11, 2024, in Goffstown, N.H. Biden's administration released its 2025 budget proposal, which includes a modest spending increase for the Education Department.
Evan Vucci/AP