Schools face ongoing challenges despite recent budget reprieve

December 13, 2011
Photo by Michael Brunk

Photo by Michael Brunk

Despite largely escaping the mid-year “trigger” cuts, many school districts are still struggling to cope with the accumulated effect of budget cuts over the past three years.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday that schools will face only $79.6 million in mid-year cuts to their general funds instead of a possible $1.5 billion. However, the state did eliminate $248 million for school buses, which may cause districts to cut back on transportation, or dip into their reserves or general funds to offset the cuts, especially for special education students.

At the same time, the unexpected reprieve that school districts were handed yesterday will do nothing to alleviate the cumulative effect of cutbacks over the past three years that are making it increasingly difficult for schools to meet the needs of their students. An  EdSource survey of the 30 largest school districts conducted this fall underscored how the ongoing financial crisis in California has affected classrooms. Preliminary findings show that:

EdSource has partnered with New America Media to shed light on what the ongoing financial crisis means on a day-to-day basis for California schools. The New America Media website offers a number of stories illustrating the impact of these cuts on individual schools.  The stories will be made available in several languages and distributed to news outlets around the state.

In January, EdSource will release a full report on its survey results and other findings that describe a number of “stress factors” affecting the state’s largest school districts serving over 2 million students.

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