Timeline: California public school funding decisions
on March 3, 2010
1988: Proposition 98 earmarks 40 percent of the state’s budget for public kindergarten through community college education.
October 21, 2002: Oakland Superintendent Dennis Chaconas announces that the school district is $35 million in debt.
June 2, 2003: Despite deep cuts and huge layoffs, California Governor Gray Davis signs SB39, a bill written by Don Perata, that grants the district a $100 million loan but also puts it under state control.
July 2009: The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) comes out of its state takeover, but owes $6 million a year to service the loan first. An audit conducted over the summer also indicates that the district has $7 million less than initially thought because of an unreconciled cash accounting issue.
Summer 2009: Federal stimulus funds are granted to the Oakland Unified School District to help patch over the $70 million in budget shortfalls the district faced for the 2009-2010 year. This funding is not expected to be renewed.
July 2009: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger threatens to suspend Prop. 98 in an effort to balance the state’s budget.
December 10, 2010: OUSD CFO Vernon Hal announces that the district will face a $14 million shortfall at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Close to $7 million of this shortfall is the result of an audit that found the district had been over-reporting its available cash.
January 5, 2010: In his State of the State address, Schwarzenegger vows to honor Prop. 98.
January 13, 2010: OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith announces at a school board meeting that the district is facing $36 million in budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year. That number has since increased to $39 million. The majority of the new cuts announced in January come from a negative cost of living adjustment made by the state that will reduce the state’s per student expenditure. School districts are funded by the state on a per student basis; the per student allocation is multiplied by the average daily attendance at a given school district.
February 10, 2010: The OUSD school board approves a resolution to support the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Public Education. In addition to holding a press conference at 4 pm to decry the cuts, on March 4 the district will organize a district-wide fire drill at 9:15 am to symbolize the “disaster” in public education funding. Students and teachers will exit their buildings holding signs and march in front of or around their schools before returning to classes.
March 1, 2010: The Oakland Education Association, which represents teachers and instructional aides in Oakland’s traditional public schools, (charter school teachers are not union members) announces that they plan to strike on March 24. The union has been in negotiations with the district for over a year and has pushed for a raise for teachers in its new contract. Smith has said that the lack of funds makes a raise unlikely.
March 3, 2010: In an interview with Oakland North, Vernon Hal explains that the district will have to operate on $85 million less in 2010-2011 than they were operating on in 2009-2010.
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