Why does Educate Our State say Proposition 2 is unfair and fiscally irresponsible?


To begin with, Proposition 2 breeches the minimum guarantee Californians made to our schoolchildren.  For the past 26 years, there has been a MINIMUM guarantee in the Constitution -- that schools would get 40% of the state spending during the REALLY good years.  This is the only hope of leveraging us out of 50th place.  This is a guarantee that the Legislature has relied on when it's taken money away from schools -- the promise that Prop 98 would protect them.  Remember, the state diverts BILLIONS of local school property taxes that are allocated to public education each year -- $8.4 billion this year alone -- to pay its debts (you can learn more about this diversion here). 

Now the State is saying it won’t necessarily replace those funds on time.  It will put the money aside -- using it to help its own cash-flow needs.  That’s unfair.  The state pretense of being helpful -- promising to send the money to schools during down years -- has an abysmal track record.  And its a lousy use of the money.  Better to disperse it to schools, to use in managing their own cash flow, to bolster their own local rainy day reserves, or for one-time maintenance or improvements, than to paternalistically assume it is making better use of the money.

And, if that is not already devastating to schools, the Legislature decided to require local school districts to spend all but three weeks of their savings the minute the state saves a nickel!  (SB 858 [June 2014])  It did this without public comment, without committee discussion, or LAO analysis. We see this as unfair to schools and schoolchildren and extraordinarily fiscally irresponsible.

Too bad for kids.  Two bad for California.

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