State budget crisis means shrinking school budgets

By: Greg Daley, Rocklin Unified School board president
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There has been a great deal of media coverage regarding the tax extensions that Governor Jerry Brown wanted on the June ballot. The ability to vote on these extensions has failed. How this will affect your children is every parent’s concern as well as the rest of the community. To adequately understand the ramifications of the legislature’s failed vote, it helps to know how schools are funded. In general, K-12 Education revenues come from State Proposition 98 funds (~50%); Local Proposition 98 Property Taxes (~18%); Federal funding (~12%); State Lottery funds (~1%); Local Miscellaneous funds (~7%); and Non-Proposition 98 State and Local Property Tax funding of (~12%). The one funding source that affects us the most is the State Proposition 98 funds. Proposition 98 passed in 1988 guaranteeing a minimum funding level for schools. The thought was if state revenue is growing, education funding would increase; never being any less than the prior year’s allotment. If state revenue decreased over the fiscal year, like we have now, education funding would be reduced. We have not received our full funding over the past few years. We have been told by the state to expect another dramatic reduction in our funding for each student based on the ADA (Average Daily Attendance). This expected loss of $349 per student equates to a multi-million dollar decrease in district revenue. School district employees, both certificated and non-certificated, have been partners through the fiscal turmoil for the last two years. The superintendent provided leadership by being the first to volunteer for reduction in wages. The rest of the teachers and staff followed suit with voluntary furlough days. This latest fiscal challenge will now affect our students through program losses, larger class sizes and a continued loss of teachers and counselors. The remaining heroes that teach our children and keep the schools safe and clean will continue to do more with less There is a point when even their Herculean efforts will be unable to uphold the standards that we have attained and grown to expect. The continued loss of school revenue will certainly impact the quality of education. This will ultimately result in poorer standardized test scores, which will affect family decisions to move to our community, which is intermingled with home values. The first step to a resolution is to contact your state Legislators and let them know your thoughts on education. Greg Daley is currently president of the Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees.