Welcome to the May Revise edition of What We’re Watching in California Education, a newsletter we hope will offer you insight into public education conversations happening at our state Capitol.
Every year, the Governor proposes an initial budget in January and revises that budget in May, once the state government has a better idea of what tax revenues look like. This year’s May Revise is a big one, with much more money coming in from taxes than was expected. Governor Newsom is proposing to use this windfall on a swath of new initiatives, including substantial new spending in education.
Here are the toplines:
TK For All: The Governor is proposing expanding the state’s transitional kindergarten program to serve all four-year-olds throughout California.
More Money For High-Need Districts: The Governor is proposing dedicating ongoing funding to new programs — like after-school and summer programming — and staff in districts with the highest concentrations of low-income students, English Learners, and foster youth.
But Wait, There’s More!: From college savings accounts to teacher training, we’ll discuss the rest of the Governor’s education plans.
TK For All
In California, four-year-olds who will turn five between September 2nd and December 2nd are eligible for an additional year of school called transitional kindergarten. Currently serving about 100,000 students, Governor Newsom is proposing to gradually expand this program to all four-year-olds by the 2024-25 school year. The research on the importance of early learning is robust, with demonstrated impacts on kindergarten readiness and high school graduation, especially for low-income students. Californians also broadly support expanding early learning programs, with large majorities stating that affordability of private preschool is a significant problem. This expansion would both improve educational outcomes and ease financial burdens for hundreds of thousands of additional California families.
The first is a dramatic expansion of no-cost after-school and summer learning, with the goal of ensuring that all students in concentration districts have access to these programs by the 2025-26 school year. The Governor’s hope is that this will result in students having access to nine hours of academics each school day and six weeks of additional summer programming. This program is expected to cost $1 billion in its first year, ramping up to $5 billion per year by 2025-26.
The Governor is also proposing an additional $1.1 billion in ongoing funding to concentration districts to hire additional staff to provide direct support to students. The budget proposal cites the impact of a safe and positive school climate on student well-being and learning, and will ask districts to justify their use of these funds towards that goal in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs). This money can be used for any staff expansions in pursuit of this goal, including additional teachers, counselors, school nurses, or paraprofessionals.
- Increasing Local Control Funding Formula funds – the primary driver of California’s K-12 education spending – by just over 5%.
- $3.3 billion in programs to train, improve, and retain California’s educators, including expansions of the Golden State Teacher Grant program and funding for new teacher residencies.
- $3 billion in grants to promote community school development, allowing districts to partner with local nonprofits to provide additional services to students and families.
- $2.6 billion combined in state and federal funding for intensive in-school tutoring.
- $4.6 billion to the state’s rainy day fund for K-14 schools.
Darcel Sanders, Chief Executive Officer