California's budget crisis is further drawing down home-to-school transportation by $248 million after mid-year trigger cuts of $1 billion were announced today by Gov. Jerry Brown when state revenue was $2.2 billion less than forecasted.
A California Department of Education spokesperson explained that the trigger cut for transportation equals half of the current appropriation, meaning that, if a school district has already received 50 percent of what the state allocates for the school year, it is possible that no further funding will be received for the remainder of the school year.
"Today the trigger cuts are going into effect, but fortunately not the full $2.4 billion," said Gov. Brown in a news conference. "The good news is the economy of California is recovering."
The governor and state Democrats initiated the mid-year trigger cuts in June to go into effect if revenue was down, and a month later State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued a letter highlighting resulting cuts to K-12 education, including the $248 million for home-to-school transportation.
The Los Angeles Unified School District faces a $38 million cut to transportation starting Jan. 1, which would mean half of the current transportation budget would evaporate on top of current operating expenditures, with a half-year of services remaining. In response, the district was set to file a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday, as a 1981 court decision mandated LAUSD provide transportation for 35,000 students in magnet school and desegregation programs. The lawsuit says the state is in violation of equal protection guarantees.
Additional statewide cuts could be announced next month when the new budget proposal is released, after which point Gov. Brown said he anticipated no further negative movement until after the state election next November, when voters will again be presented with a plan to raise taxes. Voters rejected tax increases the last time around.
"This is not the way we want to run California," he added. "You can't provide money you don't have"