California schools receive $128 billion in revised budget

In a major victory for public schools in California and the Bay Area, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state plans to give schools a record $128.3 billion and increase spending by raises $22,850 to boost the state’s education system amid a series of difficulties. throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“That’s a number you’ve never seen in California,” Newsom said on Friday as he laid out details of his revised state budget – revealing a $97.5 billion surplus largely due to economic gains. of the wealthiest in California. “This is an education reform. It is about completely rethinking the education system.

The money will fund transitional universal kindergarten, college savings accounts for all students, educational facilities, youth mental health, and teacher training and recruitment, among other needs informed by the coronavirus pandemic, a he declared.

School leaders and education policy experts have applauded Newsom for his commitment to funding the school from transitional kindergarten through middle school — for the most part. They pleaded for relief as public school enrollment plummets, rates of chronic student absenteeism soar and schools are losing teachers at an alarming rate.

“The revised budget allocates a total of $128.3 billion to education, addresses the most critical needs, including historic funding for school mental health, teacher recruitment and retention, and education strategies. literacy needed to allow students to heal and recover after two very difficult years,” Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of schools, wrote in a news release.

“This provides more per-student funding for schools to close learning gaps and invest in people and programs that will serve all students,” he wrote.

But California School Boards Association leaders said the governor could have done more.

“While the Governor’s May Review makes admirable investments in a number of key areas, it misses an opportunity to provide funding for home-to-school transportation. As we recover from the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that students get to school on time, every day,” Troy Flint, spokesperson for the California School Board Association, wrote in a press release.

Q: So how much money will fund what?

The state budget includes large sums of money to pay for universal transitional kindergarten and school lunches, an expansion of summer school and before and after school programs, a reduction in class sizes, special education, teacher hiring and recruitment, and savings accounts for children. Here is a partial breakdown:

  • $8 billion in a “flexible block grant,” or one-time discretionary fund, that schools can use to address student mental health, professional development, retirement costs or other needs.
  • $2.1 billion to address declining public school enrollment.
  • $2.1 billion to increase the statewide Local Control Funding Formula, the primary mechanism for distributing funds to students in K-12 schools. This is on top of a cost of living adjustment of $1.1 billion.
  • Addition of $1.8 billion to modernize school facilities.
  • $1.5 billion to fund community schools
  • $612 million for universal school meals.
  • $500 million to fund residencies or apprenticeship programs for school counselors and teachers.
  • $403 million to accelerate day/summer school expansion.
  • $385 million in STEM professional development.
  • $63 million in arts and music.

Stephen McMahon, assistant superintendent of San Jose Unified, said the new programming proposed by the governor’s budget is a step in the right direction, but there are immediate needs in the Bay Area, such as focusing on support financial support for families and teachers who find it difficult to stay. Many districts cannot attract enough employees due to high housing costs, he said.

“We are still in a state of emergency in California with in-person teaching and learning,” McMahon said. “We need to bring schools back into line before the introduction of new curricula. These are all good priorities, but we need to make sure we solidify the fundamentals and then look at what we can grow. »

Q: What about higher education?

The state dedicates a 5% multi-year base increase to the University of California and California State University. On Friday, Newsom announced a framework to help Californians access higher education. Statewide, leaders are aiming for a 70% statewide graduation goal with a focus on access and alignment; tuition, accommodation, fees and other charges; closing equity gaps, increasing enrollment and producing annual reports.

“This budget helps more underserved students graduate in a timely manner and increases financial aid for low- and middle-income California students which, combined with UC’s existing large investments in financial aid, will help more California students to receive an education at UC,” Michael V. Drake, president of the University of California system, wrote in a press release Friday.

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