California Budget Update: February 2024

Every January, the California Governor announces their budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1. When the economy is booming, taxes, in the form of personal income tax, taxes on investments, as well as various other taxes, pour into Sacramento, creating a plethora of opportunities to fully fund existing programs and projects and, when the economy is really going strong, leaving the door open to new programs and projects to fund.

But a booming economy is not guaranteed and, as many of us have witnessed over the years, the economy is a roller coaster of highs and lows.

This past January, Governor Newsom unveiled his budget for the next fiscal year, including a projected 37 million dollar shortfall.

In February, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office announced that they estimate the actual budget shortfall to be 73 million dollars.

Budget shortfalls in the state can directly affect school district budgets.  

In addition to the lower fiscal outlook at the state level, school districts are also grappling with high inflation, the end of state and federal one-time COVID funding, and declining school enrollment.

District leadership has anticipated tightening budgets for the last few years. This early planning allows for time to adjust spending plans and prepare the District for cuts that can take place over several years, instead of the shock of immediate and drastic changes to the system – the difference between a long runway and a cliff.

Superintendent Brown addressed the budget in his comments at the February 21, 2024 meeting of the CUSD Board of Trustees. “Luckily the district has done a lot of planning with staff to soften the ramp…to make sure that we get to a place of fiscal stability for the long term. My commitment is really to the Board and our community to be transparent about what is happening to our budget as we deal with the challenges of lower enrollment and fewer dollars in our budget.”

In May, the state will provide an update to their budget projections and any anticipated cuts to projects and programs across California.

We will provide our community with updates along the way.

For more information and to understand the state budget and its impacts on public schools, please see the Q&A that the Orange County Department of Education recently published. 

OCDE Budget Q&A

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