California schools could face cuts as state budget deficit soars to $68B

As California faces a ballooning deficit — now up to a staggering $68 billion — the state must act to balance its budget, including potentially reducing funding for schools and community colleges, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a report Thursday. But the nonpartisan group said its recommendations would preserve the state’s essential services, and could be implemented in a way to minimize disruption to schools. 

The analyst’s office pointed to nearly $24 billion in reserves that California could tap, as well as ways to reduce spending on schools and community colleges, saving $17 billion. Reductions to one‑time spending could save about another $10 billion, it said. 

“These options and some others, like cost shifts, would allow the Legislature to solve most of the deficit largely without impacting the state’s core ongoing service level,” the group said. 

Although the deficit is severe, California is better positioned to cope than during past downturns, said Ann Hollingshead, principal fiscal and policy analyst, in an interview. 

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Gavin Newsom by Gage Skidmore is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons

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