Why Might California’s 2023-2024 Education Budget Lack Billions in Funding?

Things are looking bleak for California’s 2023-2024 education budget and school year. As the state gears up for another legislative cycle and major funding decisions, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office is predicting a hole of $2.6 billion for schools and community colleges beginning in July 2023. Declining state revenues are keeping education funds tight, and persisting difficult economic conditions across the nation (though there are some signs of deflation), reinforce the possibility of an underfunded school year.

What are the specific mechanisms depressing California’s 2023-2024 education budget? And what are the possible consequences of this multibillion dollar deficit, especially on critical state programs? Curtis Culwell, Executive Director of the Texas School Alliance, gives his analysis on the situation and what he sees as the consequences of.

Curtis’ Thoughts on California’s 2023-2024 Education Budget

 

“As 2022 comes to a close, many states are wrapping up their budget process in anticipation of the legislative cycle that begins after the first of the year. Some of the early news out of California as they’re doing their budget analysis is the possible loss of billion dollars from education funding that is due like every other state becasue of some of the headwinds the economy has faced nationally as well as in the state. California’s three major revenue mechanisms are income tax, sales tax and corporate tax.

Like many states where the economy has slowed down then state revenues have possibly slowed down as well, and as you try to anticipate what ’23 and ’24 are going to be like, there is some concern and there is a growing conservative outlook about state expenditures.

 

In a state like California, I think almost 40% of their budget is K12 and community college funding. Those institutions are faced with significant headwinds as well in terms of the growing cost of goods and services. Some of the programs have been started to address learning lag because of the pandemic and many other educational initiatives that are needed for student performance to rebound.

 

So all those things that come together and present some significant challenges and we’ll all be watching what happens in California and other states with interest as they develop their budgets and how they grapple with some of these issues.”

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