New California budget includes historic funding for education
Governor Gavin Newsom signs the 2022-23 state budget in Sacramento.
Governor Gavin Newsom signs the 2022-23 state budget in Sacramento.
School districts, enjoy it, make it last, and spend it wisely, because you may never see an education budget like the one Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law on Thursday.
Total state funding for schools and community colleges will be $128 billion.
That’s a dramatic increase from 2011-12 when, in the depths of the Great Recession, districts and community colleges secured $47.3 billion in funding from Proposition 98, the formula that determines the share from the state’s general fund that goes to TK-12 and community colleges. . In 2022-2023, the total increase in total Prop. 98 alone will be $37.2 billion.
Higher education funding also increased by 5% for general funding with new spending planned for Cal Grants, the state financial aid program for students.
Inflation is high and staffing shortages are significant in many districts and charter schools. So some of that new money will cover rising costs, salary increases, new hires, and a few billion dollars in districts’ share of higher retirement costs for teachers and other employees.
The bulk of the new funds will go to new programs and grants, most spread over several years.
Elementary school families, especially in low-income neighborhoods, should see a tangible, even life-changing benefit starting this fall. Their districts will be funded to provide 3 hours of before and after school activities and 6 weeks of summer school. At a minimum, they must offer the programs to all low-income students and English language learners.
Transitional kindergarten will be deployed for 4-year-olds who will celebrate their birthday between December 2 and February 2. That, in turn, will create more publicly funded preschool openings for 3-year-olds – a relief for at least some parents facing crippling childcare costs.
A progressive tax system, in which the top 1% of earners pay 50% of state income tax, produces cycles of boom and bust. We have seen this over the past 40 years. Some economists predict that a recession could slam the door on the boom this year. But the budget assumes that state revenues — and Prop. 98 – will be at least stable for another year. And if things go south, the Reserve Prop. 98 for rainy days will be filled to the brim – $9.5 billion – to be mined when needed.
To simplify the complex, the following is a graphical guide to the key elements of the budget.
Most of the remaining funding is for grants, new programs, and program expansion. Some are ambitious, including significant funding for after-school programs, new career paths in IT, health, and education, literacy coaches in high-poverty schools, and teacher training in math with a focus on kindergarten to 3rd grade.
The largest, the $7.9 billion Emergency Learning Recovery Fund, gives districts five years to spend the money and adds to billions of dollars in federal relief funding and Previous states for Covid. Much of that money goes unused, with many parents upset over the lack of their number one priority: tutoring.
The Learning Recovery Emergency Fund is among the new programs that are limited or targeted to school districts serving low-income students.
Districts have complained that one-time funding prevents districts from hiring teachers, counselors and assistants because they could be forced to fire themwhen the money runs out. But other districts, like Long Beach and Los Angeles Unified, have taken on large numbers of staff, assuming retirements and staff attrition and good planning would head off a problem.
Edgar Zazueta, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators, said it’s okay to invest in new people with dollars that can be used for an extended period — if districts have the reserves and a plan to avoid a tax cliff if funding is cut: but be careful. He called that advice the “Mike Fine Rule,” referring to the CEO of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team, or FCMAT, a state agency that helps districts avoid financial insolvency.
A number of other new TK-12 programs also have spending deadlines of at least three years.
Here is an overview of important credits:
Apprenticeship Recovery Emergency Fund
$7.9 billion, usable through 2027-28, including $650 million earmarked for community colleges.
Portion TK-12 distributed to all districts – approximately $2,000 per child – tied to the number of English Learners, Low Income Students, Foster and Homeless in a district.
Permitted uses include tutoring, learning recovery programs, K-3 literacy interventions and programs, after-school programs, health, mental health and social-emotional support, and actions aimed at reducing or stabilizing staff-student ratios (flexible use).
Discretionary Block Grant for Arts, Music and Educational Materials
$3.56 billion, usable through 2025-2026
One of the few programs distributed based on a district’s total average daily attendance, approximately $600 per student.
Permitted Uses: Don’t be fooled by the title, which emphasizes instructional material; it can also be used for “operational purposes”, including “raising pension and healthcare costs”. In other works, it is very flexible.
Expanded Program of Learning Opportunities
$4 billion, including $1 billion carried over from last year
The funding will allow schools to add 3 hours of after-school classes for a nine-hour day and 6 weeks of summer enrichment programs for students who enroll. It will apply to all K-6 schools, with higher payments of $2,750 per English learner, low-income, foster or homeless youth in districts where these students jeopardize more than 75% of registrations. These districts must offer the program to all students.
The per-student payment in districts with less than 75% high-needs students has not been set, but is expected to be around $1,250. These districts must offer the program to all students with high needs.
Golden State Pathways Program
$500 million in planning and implementation grants for up to 5 years
The program will foster regional partnerships of school districts, colleges, community groups and employers to advance high school students into careers in health, computing, education, STEM and education, including early childhood education. Priority districts will be those with below-average rates of AG course completion and above-average rates of homelessness and foster youth, school suspension, expulsion, and dropout .
The grants will train and pay literacy coaches, with grants of at least $450,000, usable through June 2027, in high-poverty K-3 schools – those where at least 97% of students are English language learners, low income, homeless and foster children; $25 million will go to select county offices of education to develop and provide training for educators to become literacy coaches and reading and literacy specialists.
Instead of issuing new state construction bonds, the state will spend $1.3 billion of what remains from the 2016 bond and $2.9 billion from the state’s general fund in 2023. -24 and 2024-25. The money will be distributed according to the existing formula in which the state shares the cost of new construction with the districts and pays 60% of the renovation and modernization.
Other budget items include:
- $1.1 billion to add to last year’s $3 billion to create community schools in low-income neighborhoods.
- $184 million to establish teacher residences for counselors-in-training, in which veteran counselors provide training and mentorship.
- $85 million for math professional development for teachers, led by the Fresno County Office of Education, with $35 million to develop math concepts and parent engagement in K-3 , and $50 million for grades 4-12.
The state budget increases general funding for the University of California and California State University by 5%. CSU’s budget will grow from $4.22 billion in 2021-22 to $4.43 billion in 2022-23. The UC budget will grow from $4.0 billion in 2021-22 to $4.2 billion in 2022-23.
The budget also includes a plan to expand Cal grants, the state’s main financial aid program, if funds are available: $364.8 in 2024-25; $348.8 in 2025-26 to reform the program and expand eligibility to 150,000 students.
EdSource reporter Michael Burke contributed to this report.
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