A Looming Fiscal Emergency
Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, state and local budgets will be under siege across the country. The scale of this economic crisis will quickly deplete any financial reserves states and localities built before the outbreak.
Unlike the federal government, states are required to have balanced budgets, meaning that cuts are inevitable without federal help. While Congress has allotted various rounds of COVID-19 stimulus, it has yet to fund states and local governments at the levels needed to avoid crippling public services. Learn how you can help.
What Students Deserve
CTA believes that students need and deserve smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks, computers, and a safe learning environment.
CTA also believes that the state must provide assistance, rather than sanctions to those schools that have been labeled low- or under-performing based on state or federal assessments. These schools have the most crowded campuses and classrooms, have more students from low-income families, a higher number of uncredentialed teachers, and a larger number of students still learning to speak English. State funding is also needed to support the community colleges and California State Universities, which have the responsibility of training California’s 21st century workforce.
School Funding Today and in Our Recent History
Despite the funding approved in the state budget for 2019-20, California continues to lag behind the national average in per-pupil funding, has some of the largest class sizes in the country and ranks dead last in the number of counselors and librarians in our schools.
California’s schools and students saw some relief with the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, with much needed funding flowing to the state’s public school system. With Prop. 30 originally set to expire in 2018, Californians passed Proposition 55 - the California Education and Health Care Protection Act in 2016. Passing Prop. 55 extended taxes on the wealthiest Californians, preventing a staggering $4 billion budget deficit and severe cuts to public education.
As a result of Proposition 13 in 1978, more than 80 percent of school funding comes from the state. The state’s budget crisis from the not-too-distant past made us all too aware of the pitfalls of our faulty tax structure, which is currently benefiting the wealthiest corporations over Californians themselves. It’s time to restore fairness to our tax system.
In 1988, CTA led the fight for Proposition 98, which was approved by California voters and guarantees minimum funding to California public schools.
CTA Policy Brief: Financing Public Education
CTA believes that adequate state and federal funding is vital to ensuring each and every student the high-quality education they deserve. See below for CTA’s Policy Brief on Financing Public Education (August 2019)
CTA believes that adequate state and federal funding is vital to ensuring each and every student the high-quality education they deserve. Proposition 98’s minimum funding guarantee is a floor, not a ceiling for school funding. CTA opposes any reduction in revenue to the State’s General Fund that would reduce Proposition 98 funding, including tax cuts.
Schools also need to be funded adequately so that they can provide necessary resources in classroom supply budgets to meet the individual needs of ALL students.
At a minimum, funding adequacy means that schools should receive allocations that — when measured on a per- pupil basis — put California in the top ten of all 50 states.
CTA believes any additional revenues, such as any new tax increases, should go directly to the General Fund.
PROPOSITION 98 FUNDING GUARANTEE
The Proposition 98 funding guarantee must be considered the minimum level – not the maximum of level – in any given state budget. CTA believes we must protect the integrity of Proposition 98.
The voters intended that Proposition 98 funding should be used for instructional purposes. Proposition 98 funds should not be used to underwrite the costs of school facilities. School facilities should be funded primarily from general obligation bonds.
CTA believes the state and federal government should provide adequate funds for education so that school districts can meet the goal of assuring all students receive a high-quality education.
PRIVATE SCHOOL FUNDING, TAX CUTS AND TAX “EXPENDITURES”
CTA opposes any reduction in revenue to the State’s General Fund that would reduce Proposition 98 funding, including tax cuts and tax credits, or taxes that are designated to a special fund other than education.
CTA opposes any attempts to use public school funding for private schooling, including vouchers, tuition tax credits, or any use of education funding for private purposes.
CTA believes closed public school buildings should not be sold or leased to organizations which provide education services in direct competition with public schools.