Gov. Gavin Newsom showed he intends to honor his campaign promises to California’s educators, parents and students with his proposed budget for 2019-20, which includes a record $80.7 billion for education.
The proposal reflects Newsom’s commitment to supporting children and students by increasing resources to the state’s public education and health and human services — a combined 81 percent of California’s budget is earmarked for these areas. CTA President Eric Heins says the governor’s proposal shows he understands the needs and priorities in public education.
“He clearly listened to parents and educators by presenting his historic $80.7 billion budget for our students, which is a big step toward reducing chronic underfunding of public education,” Heins says. “Educators look forward to working with Gov. Newsom and the Legislature throughout the budget process to ensure all students have the resources to succeed, safe environments to grow, and opportunities to thrive in their communities.”
“Cradle to college”
Newsom is proposing a $2.8 billion increase over last year’s record funding in the K-12 education budget (including a $2 billion increase to the Local Control Funding Formula, reflecting a 3.46 percent cost-of-living adjustment), and per-pupil spending from all funds is projected to be $17,160. The budget makes good on Newsom’s promise to support California kids “from cradle to college” by expanding investments to preschool, kindergarten and child care while improving access to health care services for these children. This new focus on early childhood education includes the development of a long-term plan for providing universal preschool, a major part of working toward educational equity.
“The governor’s commitment to universal kindergarten and preschool is how we give all children an equal start,” Heins says. “As educators, we know the importance of early childhood education. It gives kids the start they need and improves learning as they advance in school.”
Boost for higher education
For higher education, the proposal includes a 7 percent increase in Prop. 98 funding for California Community Colleges, including a boost in money to support a second year of free tuition, impacting about 28,000 students. The California State University (CSU) budget includes an overall increase of 8 percent and no tuition increase.
“The CSU funding increase and money for a second year of free community college for full-time students is a historic achievement,” Heins says. “This will make college and careers accessible to more students who want to further their education but just can’t afford it.”
Newsom’s budget also takes a stand against waste, fraud and abuse in privately managed charter schools that adversely impact students. Newsom called for transparency and accountability at corporate charter schools to ensure they are subject to the same public records and open meeting laws as other public schools.
Other highlights of the governor’s budget proposal:
- Special Education — $576 million to expand special education services and school readiness support at school districts with high percentages of both students with disabilities and unduplicated low-income students, foster youth and English learners.
- Pension Costs — $3 billion in one-time non-Prop. 98 General Fund dollars for a payment to CalSTRS to reduce long-term employer liabilities.
- Paid Family Leave — Newsom has a goal of extending the current leave for parents to bond with newborns from six weeks to six months. The budget proposal includes a down payment on expanding the program, and a task force will be convened to work out options and details.
The budget is available for review online at ebudget.ca.gov. Newsom will present a revised 2019-20 proposal in May. The state Legislature is expected to pass a budget by June 15.