California schools not banking on new taxes from Gov. Jerry Brown UPDATED
Gov. Jerry Brown hopes his tax plan will keep schools from making deep budget cuts. But most school officials aren’t counting on the revenue being there after voters cast their ballots in November, according to a new report from the Legislative Analyst's Office.
The nonpartisan office, which provides budget advice to lawmakers, surveyed hundreds of school districts and found that almost 90% are taking a wait-and-see approach before factoring in the extra money.
“In contrast to the governor's approach in building the state budget, only a limited number of districts plan to build their budgets assuming the ballot measure will pass,” the report said.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office has previously warned that schools would probably reduce spending as a precaution in case Brown’s tax plan fails. Otherwise, it would be too difficult to make budget cuts in the middle of the school year.
Brown wants voters to approve higher taxes on wealthy residents and an increase in the sales tax. If the initiative doesn't pass, there would be $5.4 billion of budget cuts, with most of them falling on public schools. School officials have said they need new laws that will make it easier for them to reduce spending halfway through the school year in case voters reject the taxes.
[Updated 2:25 p.m.: H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, said the governor's tax plan "is designed to renew the state’s investment in education and avoid deeper cuts to schools."
He added, "We will continue the discussions we’ve already begun with school officials to develop a menu of measures to achieve savings if the initiative does not pass."]
Photo: Legislative analyst Mac Taylor at a news conference last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento