California public schools, community colleges and counties got an early holiday surprise: Sacramento is paying the $1.9 billion that it owes them a month earlier than promised. Plus, the state will pay on time in March nearly $1 billion that it was going to defer until April.
This is just the first of many tangible benefits of passing Proposition 30. And the state has CTA and you and the voters of California to thank.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office projections show billions in surpluses. Key factors in the “dramatic” turnaround are the improving state economy, prior budget cuts and passing Prop. 30. By 2014, California will have a $1 billion surplus that will grow to more than $9 billion by 2017, according to the fiscal outlook.
Now school districts will avoid damaging cuts, shortened academic calendars, increased class sizes, teacher layoffs, and cuts to core programs along with music, arts, and physical education — all of which would have occurred if the measure had failed. For many districts (Shasta, Pleasanton, Glendora, Los Banos, Santa Monica-Malibu, Long Beach, Sacramento, San Diego, San Rafael City and Fresno, to name a few), cuts were avoided.
Here are a few examples of how the hard work passing Prop. 30 statewide is helping out locally:
• Cal Poly students won’t face a tuition increase next fall, and they’ll receive a $500 refund for an annual tuition increase that began this fall. Also, they no longer have to pay a $300 annual student fee, set to start in January.
• Sequoia District Teachers Association members received a salary increase.
• Pleasanton Unified School District canceled four additional unpaid furlough days and planned layoffs.
• Ross Valley School District in Marin County canceled plans to increase class size and to implement furlough days, and they shelved plans to cut library staff and school maintenance budgets.
• In Coronado cuts of up to one-sixth of the school district’s staff were averted.
• Lake Elsinore Unified School District’s school year is longer as five of nine furlough days were restored.
• Encinitas Union School District is reversing two planned furlough days and reinstating the before-school program for 50 students; plans call for opening the after-school program, too.
• Selma Unified School District’s school year will end June 7 because unpaid furlough days to teachers and classified employees were restored.
• Woodland schools restored five furlough days that would have been taken in March and May.
• The Alum Rock Educators Association settled their contract after nearly two years of bargaining, an unfair labor practice charge, and many other adventures.
• Cupertino Union School District is restoring programs, such as the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program.
• Los Angeles USD and Cypress School District, an Orange County elementary school district, will take zero furlough days in 2012-13.
• NEA-Jurupa had three of eight furlough days reinstated.
• In Gilroy, 10 furlough days are being rescinded.
• Pomona Unified avoided an additional seven furlough days.
• South San Francisco Unified School District and the South San Francisco Classroom Teachers Association are renegotiating 10 furlough days for this school year.
• California’s 2.4 million community college students may find it easier to get classes because the system will received $210 million in additional funding and will be able to serve about 20,000 more students.