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California State Budget Cuts Could Affect BHUSD Programs

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget revision could end up cutting billions in education funding.

With a plea to voters to accept tax hikes, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed steep cuts across a variety of programs Monday to close a nearly $16 billion state budget deficit.

Public education from kindergarten though college could see billions in cuts, pending voter approval of tax hikes this November. The fiscal year starts July 1.

"We're going to have to cut deeper," the Democratic governor said in Sacramento while releasing his annual budget revision. "I'm linking these serious budget reductions—real increased austerity—with a plea to the voters: Please increase taxes temporarily on the most affluent and everyone else with a quarter-of-a-cent sales tax."

Brown said the state's budget deficit ballooned to $15.7 billion since January, when it was estimated to be about $9.2 billion. His revised budget includes billions of dollars in cuts—including a proposed four-day work week for some state employees, while allowing some offices to be closed once a week. There are also proposed cuts in home-care funding and Medi-Cal payments.

Funding for schools and the state's two major university systems will remain in question, however, until the November election, when Brown will ask voters to approve a bump in the state's 7.25 percent sales tax rate to 7.5 percent, and to increase the income tax rate on people earning more than $250,000 a year.

If the proposals fail, another $6 billion in cuts will take effect Jan. 1—most of them to community colleges, which could see $5.5 billion in cuts.

Brown's K-12 budget assumes passage of the tax initiatives, which could provide a 16 percent increase of $6.9 billion in funding compared with what was budgeted to the current fiscal year. If the measures don't pass, the budget includes automatic trigger cuts of $4.8 billion, the equivalent of more than the cost of three weeks of instruction.

The triggers make budget planning for the year ahead very difficult for the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which is already facing higher expenses from new state mandates. Last week, for example, the Board of Education approved $160,000 in spending to hire two additional teachers to meet a requirement regarding the credentials of special education staff.

"Just as we think BHUSD has found a way to maintain our programs and low class sizes, the state government finds a way to further deplete an already taxed system," board President Brian Goldberg told Patch. "If the governor's cuts go into effect after the November election, I am not sure where we will find the money without cutting what we call core programs, but others consider to be extras.” 

Last year when the district faced similar budget cuts from the state, the community rallied to support the schools through the , organized by the . It is uncertain if that campaign could be repeated after the November elections.

The district may need to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Compared to January of 2012, Brown's recent revision to the budget proposes "far deeper" cuts, his office said in a press release. It increases cuts by $4.1 billion, bringing total cuts to state employee compensation, welfare, health care, higher education, courts and other critical government programs to $8.3 billion.

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Peter Wolf May 16, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Absolutely, positively AGAINST anymore tax increases !! You got to be kidding !! The LAST thing the businesses ( what's left of them) and people need in this state is another bloody tax increase. We need that like we need AB32. Oh, wait. I forgot. We already passed AB32. So we can expect that too to kill off more tax paying jobs.
jc May 16, 2012 at 04:54 PM
So WE (and I) have to pay MORE money for this mistakes these NAZI morons make? That's just wonderful. SO they can screw up as much as they like and oops, I have to pay for it? what a cool job. Wish I could screw up everything and them make others pay for it.
Brent kenefick May 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Brown is a gangster! This is not just "Coddling" the Unions, but this is fraud against CA taxpayers! First Brown says that the increase in pay and benefits to the prison guards can be "Budgeted In" Then he says oops guess the budget didn't really support that. similar to Owebama saying " oops, I guess there weren't as many shovel ready jobs as we thought." but now that we passed the increase, we have to increase taxes otherwise there is no money for CA Schools and Universities. A ploy to claim Republicans are against Education. We need to vote the Democrats out of Sacramento and DC this November!
Brian David Goldberg, PhD May 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Since I was elected in 2007 we have cut nearly 7 million in revenue while maintaining almost all our programs and keeping class sizes near the lowest in the State while also increasing our API scores. I do not know how we are going to cut any more with out impacting the quality of our programs. Public Education is free but a great education costs money.
Dede May 17, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Why he does not start with cutting off the salaray and jobs of managers in the state offices, they not only increase the buearucy and inefficiency but also a huge cost of their wages. Instead of lay off the technicians lay off the managers.

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