Response to the Governor's Revised Budget

We applaud the Governor’s commitment to restoring vital funding for our schools.  The past few years have been devastating and have taken a huge toll on our state’ ability to deliver a well-rounded curriculum.

We understand the Governor’s goal to shift away from the many categorical funding streams that have characterized school finance.  We agree local school districts should be held accountable for student results, with less focus on compliance with a myriad of complex separate funding sources.

However, the proposed elimination of most categorical funds – including the Art and Music Block Grant – risks placing many vital programs in jeopardy. Districts are still digging out of a huge budgetary hole.  The removal of categorical programs may lead to the near term elimination of vital programs and services, along with the key staff and invaluable expertise they bring.

To encourage an effective transition away from the prior categorical funding, we propose a portion of the existing categorical funds be set aside for the next three years as matching grants to local school districts that commit to expanding arts programs and other vital services that have been funded by categoricals in the past.  Participation would be voluntary and only districts that use local resources would be eligible for the matching state funds.  We believe such a program will provide powerful incentives for districts to continue to address the important purposes the Legislature had established via the many categorical funds.
Click here to read our letter to Governor Brown in response to the May Revise.