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CA schools face "declining enrollment, larger percentages of SPED students"; costs up

Dec 18, 2018, ABC10 Sacramento: Can California afford Gavin Newsom's vision for school kids? Here's your K-12 primer for 2019 https://www.abc10.com/article/news/education/can-california-afford-gavin-newsoms-vision-for-school-kids-heres-your-k-12-primer-for-2019/103-4d569971-e4f1-4cd3-a4ed-257fc50fd2fd Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom publicly supports many of the same education initiatives being pushed by legislators. But he’s also said he plans to “live within our means” and follow Jerry Brown’s frugal example. Early childhood education. A top-tier national ranking for K-12 per-pupil spending. A data system that would track kids from nursery school through state universities. California’s Legislature won’t reconvene until 2019, but the Christmas wish list for public schools is already long and pricey. On the first day of session, Democratic lawmakers introduced two major education bills, calling for nearly $40 billion more in state spending on schools. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom publicly supports many of the same education initiatives being pushed by legislators. But he’s also said he plans to “live within our means” and follow Jerry Brown’s frugal example. Whether the economy—and the Democrats’ legislative mega-majority—will comply is an open question. … In a state as diverse and large as California, public schools are both a powerful engine of social mobility and key to a skilled workforce for the world’s fifth largest economy. But analysts are warning that school districts will be in dire distress if the state doesn’t help them deal with mounting financial pressures. Declining enrollment, larger percentages of special needs students and growing pension obligations have put officials into cost-cutting mode in several districts. An April report by WestEd, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, described a “silent recession” brewing within school districts as many begin to whittle down budgets because their fixed costs are outgrowing the money they have to pay for them. Meanwhile, Stanford researchers have found that the state needs to spend $25.6 billion more—a 38 percent increase—than it currently is for all California students to meet learning expectations. … Education is already the biggest line item in the state’s budget, absorbing about 40 cents of every taxpayer dollar. Nonetheless, among education leaders and advocates, there is a broad consensus for raising school funding. Incoming state superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond, a former state Assemblyman, said he plans to push an eight-year proposal to raise California’s ranking in per-pupil spending to the nation’s top.