CSBA survey finds LEAs widely split on budget assumptions

About half of school districts and county offices of education are not planning for additional cuts in the 2011-12 state budget beyond the funding level proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in May, according to a survey by the California School Boards Association.

The other half of those polled said they planned for an additional cut of about $2 billion or more, which equates to about $350 per student.

The survey polled 267 local educational agencies, which is just over a quarter of LEAs statewide.

The deadline for finalizing and submitting local school budgets is this Friday.

Given recent announcements around budget negotiations in the Capitol, most of the LEAs surveyed appear to have written their budgets prudently.

Yet even with Monday's announcement of a budget agreement between the governor and majority Democrats - that does not include big, additional cuts to schools - there remains much uncertainty.

The plan, expected to be adopted today (see related story), is dependent on big increases in tax collections over the next year. But if the economy doesn't generate those additional dollars, new large cuts could be coming.

Both Democrats and Republicans have indicated that there is no support for suspending Proposition 98 - therefore, a majority of the LEAs surveyed by CSBA will not have to impose deeper cuts when a deal finally comes together in Sacramento.

Earlier this month, the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a no-tax budget to the governor that would not have enacted further cuts to schools.

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