Jason Willis Coauthors Report on the Silent Recession California School Districts Face

July 2018

Jason Willis, Director of Strategy and Performance in the Comprehensive School Assistance Program at WestEd, coauthored a report with Kelsey Krausen detailing the fiscal pressures that California school districts face that are largely hidden from public view. The report suggests that despite efforts to help school districts recover from the Great Recession by increasing per-pupil funding, the costs that school districts are saddled with to maintain operations and cover the rising cost of employee pensions means that districts across the state are experiencing a Silent Recession. Willis and Krausen analyzed budgets for 55 school districts in California and conducted interviews with district and county leaders for this report to draw attention to fiscal pressures such as declining student enrollment and aging facilities. The report also outlines the implications of the Silent Recession and strategies districts employ to mitigate its effects while preserving quality education programs for students.