Local school officials said today they will sue California over $2.1 billion in education funding they believe state leaders should have provided in the June budget.
The California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators and school districts will hold a press conference Wednesday to explain their case. The San Francisco Unified School District is among those participating.
School administrators have bristled at the state budget ever since Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown brokered a last-minute deal with the California Teachers Association in June. Teachers won job protections and restrictions on how school districts can cut their budgets if the state determines in December that revenues will fall short of expectations.
The backdrop to that deal was the fact that the CTA, one of the most powerful forces in the Capitol, could have filed the same suit against the state that CSBA and ACSA are announcing this week.
K-12 schools are due to receive roughly the same amount of funding they had last year, even as the state expects a surge in tax revenues. Under Proposition 98’s constitutional provisions, California is required to give about 40 percent of any tax spike to K-12 schools, and the school groups believe that amounts to the $2.1 billion they are seeking.
To avoid that requirement, lawmakers and Brown agreed to a onetime diversion of $5.1 billion in sales tax dollars to counties to pay for new responsibilities, such as housing state prisoners in local jails. As part of the deal with CTA, state leaders agreed to seek taxes on the 2012 ballot and to reimburse schools for the $2.1 billion retroactively if those taxes fail.
At the time, state leaders believed that may have been enough to avoid a lawsuit on the Proposition 98 issue. But the school groups were never satisfied with how the budget turned out.
Remember Republicans at the time of the budget passing by a majority vote (No Republicans voted for it) called the Jerry Brown crafted budget a sham. It appears the chickens have come home to roost and the California economy has worsened.
There are some automatic cuts that will be required early in 2012, if the economy does not improve. I wonder how this lawsuit will affect this or whether the entire budget may be ruled invalid and unconstittuional?
Remember Assembly Republicans asked the Attorney General Democrat Kamala Harris to review the budget and decide whether it was legal or not. She declined.
A court will now decide.