The 2011-12 Budget: To Defer or Not Defer? An Analysis of the Effects of K-12 Payment Deferrals
January 24, 2011
Over the last several years, the state has deferred payments to school districts as a way to achieve significant Proposition 98 savings. Relying on deferrals has allowed the state to achieve significant one-time savings while simultaneously allowing school districts to continue operating a larger program by borrowing or using cash reserves. As the magnitude and length of payment deferrals have increased, however, school districts have found fronting the cash required to continue operating at a higher programmatic level increasingly difficult. As part of his 2011-12 budget plan, the Governor continues to rely heavily on payment deferrals. His one major budget proposal for K-12 education is a $2.1 billion deferral. In this report, we track the state's increased use of deferrals, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of deferrals, and highlight several other major factors the Legislature should consider as it decides whether to approve additional K-12 deferrals.