California State PTA’s Look at Governor Brown’s May Revision of the 2018-19 State Budget
Good news: California’s proposed budget maintains and expands important investments in the health and education of children, youth and families.
The not so good news: Despite a strong economy, California’s investment in education continues to lag the nation.
The Governor’s Budget Approach: Caution
With an eye to a future rainy day, the governor’s budget targets this year’s surplus for one-time investments rather than a host of long term commitments. The May Revision projects $8 billion in additional revenues and proposes $4 billion in increased spending above the January budget proposal.
New investments include paying down debts and liabilities, investments in infrastructure, and efforts to combat homelessness, and mental illness —all of which affect California’s children and youth.
There is $1.8 billion proposed for discretionary one-time funding for school districts, charter schools, and county offices of Education.
Education funding continues to increase. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will reach its funding target of digging California out of the deep hole created by the Great Recession. This is a significant accomplishment but still leaves California behind other states.
“We applaud the Gov. Brown’s strong commitment to the Local Control Funding Formula. This formula provides local flexibility on spending decisions and additional funding for needy students. We support the governor’s proposal to ensure consistent and annual local control funding plus annual cost of living adjustments and a stable and transparent process for certifying the minimum guarantee of funding under Proposition 98.”
Funding, however, remains below the national average and far below the education funding levels of the highest performing states. Increased pension contributions and other costs dilute recent funding increases and many school districts are looking at budget cuts.
To address some of these long-term issues, California State PTA supports greater equity in special education funding as well as a major increase to the LCFF funding over time. These are not included in the governor’s proposal.
While there is some increase in funding for early education, it is falls far short of the pre-school, transitional kindergarten, and child care needs of California’s children.
We anticipate there will be continued discussion on these issues as the final budget is adopted.
More money for PTA priorities
Several of the governor’s proposals target PTA priority areas:
- A Community Engagement Initiative. This proposes $13.3 million in one-time money to help build the capacity of school districts to engage more effectively with local school communities as they develop their local budgets and spending plans
- Fiscal Transparency. The budget includes efforts to provide parent friendly reports that contain information on how supplemental grants for student in need are used to increase and to improve services and to make the California School Dashboard easier to use
- Improve School Climate. A proposed $15 million in one-time money is to foster positive school climate
- Special Education Staff Support. This continues the January budget proposal for more money to hire and train teachers, and paraprofessionals, to meet the needs of students with special needs.
We look forward to working on the development of these ideas.
Support for mental health
In addition to support for education, the budget contains proposals to improve mental health services:
- A proposal for a November 2018 ballot measure for housing to support those needing mental health services and who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness
- Funding for children’s mental health services to support early intervention and prevention, with an emphasis on teens
- Homeless mentally ill outreach and treatment for earlier identification of mental health needs, prevention of criminal justice involvement, and improved coordination of care
- Funding for graduate medical school education to address the lack of mental health professionals.
The May Revision provides additional funding to pay for expanding health care coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, and restoring health benefits to low-income Californians that were eliminated during the recession, including adult dental services.
As this budget is developed, PTA will continue to advocate for the needs of our children, youth and families.
PTA Advocacy Goals include:
- Support adequate funding for public education by educating our members and policy makers, and by advocating for legislation to bring California within the top 10 states in per-pupil funding
- Promote schools as safe and welcoming environments for all students, families and communities and support children’s health and welfare in all aspects of their lives
- Support and protect high-quality public education from efforts that would weaken this vital foundation of our democracy
- Advocate for authentic and measurable family engagement standards in education policy.
More budget information