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SACRAMENTO – California State PTA is glad to see that Governor Newsom’s revised budget reflects the values of PTA: to positively impact the lives of all children and families.
This budget invests more in education, more in health services and more in supports for families. It also reflects a growing consensus on the importance of early education, mental health services and support for teachers.
Add to that list a significant investment to combat homelessness, which affects too many families and children in the state of California.
Here is a quick look at the budget highlights and new spending priorities.
- Special education gets a 21 percent increase in funding over last year, as well as funding to help support medical costs and improve the transition of three year-olds with disabilities from regional centers to local educational agencies
- Support for teachers includes money for an estimated 4,500 loan assumptions (repayments) of up to $20,000 for newly credentialed teachers to work in high-need schools. There is also money for teacher and administrator training and support
- Computer science gets funding for broadband infrastructure and a state computer science coordinator
- Pension relief is prioritized with the state giving money for partial relief from the increased pension costs of local school districts
- Charter school enrollment is addressed with proposals to prevent families from being wrongfully turned away from the public school of their choice
- Total K-12 Proposition 98 funding at the time of the May budget revision is $75.6 billion in 2017-18, $78.1 billion in 2018-19 and $81.1 billion in 2019-20.
- The budget includes money for a long-term master plan for early learning and care that will provide for a more well-aligned comprehensive early learning and care system
- There are new investments to increase access to subsidized child care for low-income families, as well as new investments to increase access to pre-school and expand full day kindergarten
- Also included is funding for trauma and developmental screenings, home visiting services, an expansion of paid family leave and a pilot child savings account program to support and encourage families to build assets for their children’s post-secondary education.
- The budget continues to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Cal-EITC: A Cost-of-Living Refund will help low-income families with young children by expanding the additional credit proposed in January from $500 to $1,000
- The May budget revision also provides for monthly advanced payments contingent on a federal waiver to ensure participants do not lose federal benefits. This increased tax refund will help economically distressed families with the costs of food, rent, and child care
- The budget also makes important investments in higher education, health and human services and efforts to combat homelessness.
It would be great to see more dedicated funding for after school programs.
Does this solve the underfunding of California schools? Overall, the budget is a smart investment of the funds available but it does not fix the long-term needs. As schools continue to struggle with growing expenses, we urge the governor and the legislature to develop a plan to bring California education funding to the levels of our highest performing states.
Next Steps for the Budget
After the governor announces the May revision, the Budget Committees of the Senate and Assembly also each adopt their version of the budget. A conference committee irons out differences between these versions.
By June 15, the Senate and Assembly leaders huddle with the governor to hash out the final details and pass a balanced budget by a majority vote of both houses. On July 1, the state begins the new fiscal year.