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A pending budget deal, but no change to OUSD plan

UPDATE: California’s main budget bill has passed both houses of the state Legislature, John Myers of KQED reports. (He’s posting live Twitter updates here.)

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This might be the first time in the history of my education reporting that California lawmakers pass a budget before the Oakland school district (or any school district) does.

The proposal includes flat funding for k-12 schools, but only as long as some rosy state revenue projections — an extra $4 billion — bear out. If not, look for midyear cuts and a shortened school year in district’s throughout the state.

The OUSD budget proposal, which is up for approval tomorrow night, wasn’t yet posted online as of a few minutes ago, but I understand it will be very similar to recent ones.

Here’s what spokesman Troy Flint had to say this afternoon: “The announcement of a potential deal wouldn’t affect our budgeting scenario, primarily because it hinges on $4 billion of income, and it’s a pretty dubious assumption that we’ll actually receive that money. … We’re not going to budget based on some pie-in-the-sky projections that are made to give an impression of a balanced budget and will later come back to haunt us.”

A statement from Ed Trust-West’s director, Arun Ramanathan:

“While Democrats slap each other on the back for their ‘budget’ deal and Republicans applaud their efforts to prevent any tax increases, California’s poorest students are once again getting a raw deal from our state’s leadership. The potential budget deal is based on Wizard of Oz assumptions that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If that pot of gold does not materialize, our poorest students and most vulnerable communities will once again take the brunt of state budget cuts through inequitable approaches such as shortening the school year. It is long past time to develop a real budget solution that solves the boom and bust cycles of California’s state budget. We have seen courageous Democrats and Republicans in other states forging the difficult compromises and showing the visionary leadership necessary to confront entrenched interests and solve their states’ fiscal crises. As long as California’s children and communities are at the mercy of lawmakers beholden to special interests from public employee unions to taxpayer associations, we will continue our pattern of smoke and mirrors budgeting. The result will always be reprehensible cuts that force our children to pay the long-term price for our current dysfunction.”

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Livegreen

    The difference bet. the Republicans and the Democrats is who pays their political bills. The actions of both parties demonstrate that “Education is Secondary” to their financial donors.