Welcome to the January 2023 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. In this edition, we’ll walk you through the Governor’s Proposed 2023-24 Education Budget, which he announced last week.
Governor’s Proposed 2022-23 Budget
Last week, Governor Newsom released his proposal for the 2023-24 state budget. The state is projecting a $22 billion budget deficit in their general fund, which is leading to cuts in many areas across Newsom’s budget. With that context, TK-12 schools and community colleges are currently expected to experience minimal cuts. Overall, per pupil spending at TK-12 schools under Proposition 98 – which sets how much of the state’s general fund is spent on TK-16 education – is set to increase to $17,519, its highest level ever. But that increase is entirely driven by significant student enrollment decreases across the state. Proposition 98 funding on TK-12 schools and community colleges is actually set to drop by about $1.5 billion – it’s just that there are fewer public school students enrolled to split that funding. Importantly, this funding level allows the state to meet its required cost of living adjustment to districts, set at 8.1% this year due to significant inflation.
In addition to the Proposition 98 toplines, the Governor’s budget also includes:
$690 million in continuing funding for the state’s move to transitional kindergarten for all students, which increases access by moving the TK cutoff date from February 2nd to April 2nd. Full implementation of this program is expected by the 2025-26 school year. An additional $165 million is provided for increasing staffing in TK classrooms.
$300 million as a Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) “Equity Multiplier” which would provide even more additional funding to the highest-need schools in the state, beyond the LCFF supplemental and concentration funding that students in those schools already receive.
A one-time expenditure of $250 million to support hiring literacy coaches and reading specialists in California’s highest need schools.
As always, it’s important to note that this budget will certainly change as we learn more about the state’s economic situation, and as the Governor negotiates with the state Senate and Assembly over the coming months. In fact, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is already saying that the Governor’s revenue projections may be overly optimistic. Stay tuned for the Governor’s revision to this budget proposal, expected in May 2023.
Darcel Sanders, Chief Executive Officer