Friday, January 14, 2011

From the Superintendent: State Budget Proposal Still Means Tough Choices for 2011-12

While our new governor, Jerry Brown, came out strongly in favor of education in his budget message, the district is still expecting another year of cuts — possibly $120 million -- to the 2011-12 general fund. This is on top of the $400 million cut over the last three years. In his budget message, the governor pledged to keep funding at its current levels, stating "Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions in recent years...” At San Diego Unified, our staff is still analyzing what this budget will mean to our district.

Each year, the governor submits a budget proposal to the legislature in January. School districts must start planning their next-year budget based on this proposal, submitting a balanced budget by June 30. In past years, the legislature has debated far past the July 1 start of the fiscal year, making the situation extremely challenging for the district. This year, Gov. Brown has asked the legislature to have next year’s budget completed by March so a package of tax increases can be submitted to voters in June. We hope they follow this schedule. Making their job easier is the passage of Prop. 25 last fall, which eliminated the two-thirds requirement for passing the state budget.

While we appreciate the Governor’s support of K-12 education, his proposal delays some payments to school districts until 2012-13 and assumes that voters will provide $2 billion to schools (statewide) by extending current income tax rates.

In addition, San Diego Unified's costs are increasing and we will no longer have federal stimulus dollars in 2011-12. Keeping next year’s budget the same as 2010-11 means we cannot afford as much.

We will continue to provide regular updates on the status of our budget. The Board of Education will hold several special budget and regular business meetings over the next few months. Most meetings are televised on ITV Channel 16 and video streamed on our website. In addition, check for frequent updates on our budget web page at

As we face an even more difficult budget cycle, we hope you stay involved with your schools and contact your state legislators to let them know what you think.