California Schools, Colleges Faces $19 Billion Budget Deficit: Report

California Schools, Colleges Faces $19 Billion Budget Deficit: Report

The Orange Unified School District offices in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

12/12/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

California’s schools and colleges will likely face a $19 billion budget deficit over the next three years, according to the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
In a fiscal outlook report published Dec. 7, analysts found that California’s overall budget deficit could more than double in the next year—from $30 billion for fiscal 2022–23 to about $68 billion for 2024–25. The state’s budget for the current 2023–24 fiscal year is $310 billion.
The education budget for the current fiscal year is $108 billion, and is likely to take a hit of $19 billion in 2024–25.
The projected deficit could jeopardize 5 percent annual increases for the state’s two public university systems—the University of California and California State University—which Mr. Newsom agreed to two years ago.
However, the analysts said the state’s education system is in a better position than in 2009 due to $8.1 billion in education rainy-day funding accumulated during higher-revenue years like the past several.
To balance education spending, analysts made several recommendations.
The first is to maintain TK-12 and community college funding as much as possible and cut funds from extra programs, such as public child care and daycare centers.
They additionally said the Legislature could ease the burden by pulling $8.1 billion from the rainy-day fund and cutting the remaining $10 billion from one-time funding pledges and other programs.
Analysts have seen the deficit on the horizon for months now, as it indicated in a March 14 memo to the state’s Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance that “the state now faces a budget problem.”
The analysts’ outlook is a projection of what Californians can expect to see on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2024–25 fiscal year budget proposal in January.
The growing deficit is largely due to declining revenue in the state, according to analysts, who compared the projected shortfall to a similar deficit the state faced in 2009 during the Great Recession.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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