Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom approved a set of bills that together make up California’s $308 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
While much has been said and written about reimbursing state taxpayers to help Californians offset rising gas prices, the new budget also takes education spending to a record high, with a increased core funding and block grants to support everything from learning recovery to operations. costs.
Here are some takeaways from the state’s 2022-23 spending plan for public schools.
Base funding for TK-12 schools will increase by approximately $9 billion, or 13%.
Proceeds from sales and use tax, along with corporate taxes, helped boost state cash receipts by more than $1 billion over previous forecasts. As a result, new revenue has been funneled into the state’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) – which is the primary source of funding for schools – and the Education Block Grants.
Along with a statutory cost of living adjustment of 6.56%, the new budget increases LCFF benefits by an additional 6.28%. Compared to last year, base funding under this model will increase by approximately $9 billion, or 13%.
The state will help mitigate the fiscal impacts of declining enrollment.
School districts across California have faced significant enrollment challenges due to the pandemic and long-term trends, such as soaring home prices and declining birth rates. Because school district funding is based on average daily attendance, or ADA, these conditions can cause sudden drops in revenue that can significantly disrupt school operations.
To soften the blow, the new budget allows school districts to use their three-year ADA average if it is higher than the current year or the previous year. To account for fluctuations in COVID-19, school districts, county offices of education, and classroom charter schools may also use their 2019-20 attendance percentages if they are higher than 2020-21.
Home-to-school transportation funding is getting a long-awaited boost.
For years, education officials have criticized transportation funding as inadequate. After lengthy discussions, the state will now reimburse school districts and county offices for up to 60% of home-to-school transportation costs, double the current average of 30%.
In addition to receiving an ongoing funding increase under Proposition 98, one-time funding of $1.5 billion will be used to create a zero-emission school bus program that prioritizes rural and low-income schools , according to the California School Boards Association.
Each district and county office must develop a plan outlining the transportation services provided to students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. Districts and county offices are permitted to partner with municipally-owned transit systems to transport middle and high school students.
The budget provides $7.9 billion in one-time funding for learning recovery programs.
This funding can be invested throughout the 2027-2028 school year and would be distributed according to state formulas that prioritize students with the greatest needs. Funds can be used to extend instructional time with extra days or hours, add programs that accelerate learning, and expand interventions, while enhancing other supports such as tutoring, early intervention in literacy, mental health and counseling services.
Campuses with a high percentage of students with high needs will have the option of extending the school day.
California’s Expanded Learning Opportunities program has been expanded to provide about $4.4 billion to help schools extend class hours and add summer or intersessional programs at the K-6 level.
In schools and districts where high-needs students make up at least 75% of their population, per-student stipends of $2,750 would benefit low-income households, English language learners, foster youth and homeless children. Districts where high-needs students represent less than 75% could receive $1,250 per eligible student.
A flexible block grant worth $3.56 billion can fund music, arts, educational materials and other costs.
Although known as the Discretionary Block Grant for Arts, Music and Educational Materials, this block grant is very flexible. The funds, which are to be committed by the 2025-2026 school year, can be used for standards-aligned professional development, educational materials, COVID-19 mitigation supplies, school climate strategies and operating costs, including increases in retiree benefit costs.
An investment of $500 million will create a new college and career path program.
With $500 million in competitive grants, the Golden State Pathways program aims to connect low-income or underperforming school districts with colleges, universities and businesses. The focus, according to EdSource, “would be on career opportunities and regional employment needs in IT, health, education, including early learning and child development, and STEM. , with attention to climate resilience”.
Schools would receive additional funding.
The 2022-2023 state budget includes a total of $4.75 billion that would be allocated over a three-year period for new construction and modernization projects based on formulas set out in the education code. of State.
For 2022-23, $1.3 billion will be available from a government bond approved in fiscal year 2021-22. The Legislative Assembly has signaled its intention to appropriate an additional $2.06 billion starting in fiscal year 2023-24 and $875 million in fiscal year 2024-25.
Separately, the state will set aside $100 million in 2022-23 for transitional kindergarten and pre-kindergarten grants, and the legislature intends to provide an additional $550 million for those sites in 2023. -24.
For a more detailed overview of California’s budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.