12.11.12: News Summary
State Board of Education Personnel Change
Susan Burr, the State Board of Education Executive Director, has announced her retirement effective at the end of this year. She has served the State as a consultant to the Senate Education Committee and as the State Board Executive Director. She also has served local education as the Chief Business Officer for the Elk Grove School District and a similar position at the Sacramento County Office of Education. Sue dedicated almost 40 years to serving public education. Her retirement will create a void at the State Board not only because of her leadership but also because of her local school experience. It is too early to determine how her retirement will affect advocacy for the weighted student formula discussions that are expected to begin in earnest after the Governor releases the 2013-14 State Budget on January 10, 2013.
Facebook and On-Line Sales Tax
Last week the State Controller reported that State General Fund revenues were significantly lower than anticipated because of lower than expected capital gains tax revenue from the sale of Facebook stock. SSDA recognizes this situation, but also believes the state has underestimated the amount of sales that will be received from California holiday online purchases that are now subject to sales tax. If newly taxable purchases exceed $5 billion, then the sales tax revenue could mitigate some of the Facebook capital gains loss.
CalSTRS Funding Discussions
Last Thursday the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) conducted its first roundtable meeting between CalSTRS staff, Board members and stakeholders. SSDA’s lobbyist, Dave Walrath, was part of that roundtable discussion that is looking at how to address the CalSTRS $64 billion unfunded obligation that will grow if no action is taken to improve and stabilize the Teachers’ Retirement Fund. SSDA will be deeply involved with solving this problem during the next year. If the increasing CalSTRS unfunded obligation is not addressed, then the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirement for school districts to show their share of the CalSTRS unfunded obligation starting on July 1, 2014 will force school districts and county offices of education to show greater debt.