No Oscars for legislators this year

The California School Boards Assn. will be giving no Tip of the Hat, only a collective Wag of the Finger, to the Legislature.

For only the second time in a quarter century – but also the second time in the past three years ­ – CSBA has announced it won’t be handing out an Outstanding Legislator award this year.

“Unfortunately, there are no members of the Legislature who have been truly ‘outstanding’ in their support of public education in 2011,” said CSBA President Martha Fluor in a press release. “In many ways, the governor and Legislature have significantly impeded progress in public education.”

CSBA is irritated with the Legislature, and indirectly with its partner in the Education Coalition, the California Teachers Assn., for making a budget deal that pulled $5 billion in sales tax revenue out of the general fund that would otherwise have been included in calculating Proposition 98, the state’s minimum obligation to fund schools. In return, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to ask voters in November 2012 to raise taxes to restore the money to schools.

The governor and Legislature also agreed not to cut school spending this year by building in optimistic projections of $4 billion more in revenue. And if revenues fall short, as now appears increasingly likely, schools will indeed be cut, as much as $1.9 billion, mainly in furlough days, assuming districts negotiate that contingency with their unions.

Last month, CSBA and the Association of California School Administrators sued Brown and the Legislature for the shift, saying raiding Prop 98 violated the state Constitution.

CSBA also disliked the budget trailer bill, AB 114, which in theory required school districts to restore some teachers whom the district had laid off on lower revenue assumptions and temporarily limited budget oversight functions of the county offices of education.

Author: John Fensterwald - Educated Guess

John Fensterwald, a journalist at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, edits and co-writes "Thoughts on Public Education in California" (, one of the leading sources of California education policy reporting and opinion, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before that, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter. His wife is an elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the University California at Davis.

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