Stimulus Funds Can't Rescue California Now
The $4 billion in state fiscal stabilization fund money headed to California is barely going to make a dent in the state's budget mess after voters rejected a package of amendments earlier this week that would have capped state spending and freed up more money for schools.
The state is now facing a $21 billion budget deficit.
The result for K-12 education? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said schools may have to close seven days early this year, and tens of thousands of teachers will be laid off. And if you think it's easy to avoid such draconian cuts, then play this "budget challenge" game from a California nonprofit.
The second round of stabilization fund money, to be awarded this fall, will mean an additional $2 billion for schools. But even after all of this stabilization money is sent to California, the state's budget will hardly be stable. This is very bad news for California schools. Perhaps states that aren't in such deep budget trouble (think Wyoming and Texas) would be willing to forgo their stabilization fund monies. After all, states aren't exactly rushing to the till.