Education could get record-high funding
Governor’s proposed budget allocates $102 billion for California schools in 2022-23
January 24, 2022
California’s schools stand to receive a record $102 billion in funding next year from the governor’s proposed 2022-23 budget, which was released Jan. 10.
Surpassing last year’s highest-ever investment in K-12 education, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget is buoyed by a $45.7 billion surplus in revenues. Per-pupil spending would rise to a historic high of $15,261 under the Prop. 98 guarantee, should Newsom’s spending plan be approved by the Legislature in June.
Read the full analysis from ACSA’s Governmental Relations team.
ACSA Interim Executive Director Marc Ecker gave his initial reaction to the budget proposal during the ACSA Legislative Lunch Break on Jan. 10.
“It’s hard not to look at this introductory step in the budget development as very, very positive,” he said. “There will be changes — we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we don’t know where we’ll be sitting in June, but I am really thrilled at the numbers and it clearly indicates to me that the governor and his staff realize the critical needs that public schools have.”
ACSA Senior Director of Governmental Relations Edgar Zazueta noted that the administration listened to school leaders on a number of concerns, including the impacts of declining enrollment. The governor’s proposal aims to mitigate the fiscal impact of declining enrollment on LEAs by allowing them to calculate ADA using the current year, prior year, or an average of the three prior years’ ADA.
Zazueta said he was also pleased the administration recognized the need for consistent investment in some of the more ambitious programs that were created in the last budget, such as universal TK, extended learning and universal meals.
“It’s taking things that were created last year and trying to follow up and send resources to those programs,” Zazueta said.
During his press conference, Newsom presented a $286.4 billion balanced budget that addressed five of California’s “existential threats”: COVID, climate crisis, homelessness, cost of living and safety on our streets.
When it came to education funding, Newsom was proud of historic funding levels that are double the investments being made 10 years ago.
“We’ve got to reimagine the future, and if you’re going to reimagine the future you have to begin at the beginning by making sure we invest in the future,” Newsom said, referencing early childhood investments such as transitional kindergarten.
Newsom also touted proposed spending on afterschool/summer school programs to make sure all families, even those living paycheck to paycheck, can afford quality academic enrichment daily. The budget proposes an additional $3.4 billion ongoing Prop. 98 funds for Expanded Learning Opportunity grants, bringing the total ongoing program funding to $4.4 billion, with additional funds anticipated in future years.
“Your kids deserve what every fancy family gets, which is those extra supports. You deserve that,” Newsom said. “Especially with all the social-emotional damage that’s been done because of this pandemic.”
Newsom did warn that the budget was created before the Omicron variant and that the surge in COVID cases could impact the state’s financial picture as the May revise approaches.
ACSA’s Governmental Relations staff has compiled a summary of key proposed investments and policies related to K-12 education. The following are some highlights:
Proposition 98: The governor proposes $102 billion for the Prop. 98 guarantee, which represents an $8.2 billion increase over last year’s enacted budget. For 2022-23, Prop. 98 funding would reach $15,261 per pupil.
Local Control Funding Formula: The governor proposes a 5.33 percent cost of living adjustment for the Local Control Funding Formula, an increase of $3.3 billion, representing the highest COLA since the Great Recession.
K-12 Categorical Programs: The governor proposes $295 million, a 5.33 percent COLA, for various K-12 categorical programs outside of LCFF, including Special Education, Child Nutrition, Youth in Foster Care and the Mandates Block Grant, in addition to County Offices of Education.
Local Reserve Cap Triggered: The governor’s proposal includes $3.1 billion in payments to the Public School System Stabilization Account (Prop. 98 Rainy Day Fund). This figure is well over the threshold needed to trigger a 10 percent cap on local district reserves. The cap will go into effect in the 2022-23 year.
COVID Relief: The governor’s budget includes a $2.7 billion COVID-19 relief package to bolster testing, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and the health care system and battle misinformation. The funding includes the distribution of tests to schools and county offices of education already underway, as well as ongoing testing site enhancement and availability for the general public.
Independent Study: The governor recognizes that there will be families who continue to want virtual education options in the 2022-23 school year. The budget authorizes LEAs to serve students through independent study for an additional year and increases some flexibility to the program.
Transitional Kindergarten: The governor’s proposal provides $639.2 million to expand transitional kindergarten for children turning 5 years old between Sept. 2 and Feb. 2, beginning in the 2022-23 school year. These funds will increase through the process of rebenching Prop. 98. Further, $383 million is proposed to add one additional staff person to every TK class.
“We’ve got to reimagine the future, and if you’re going to reimagine the future you have to begin at the beginning by making sure we invest in the future.”
— Gov. Gavin Newsom, California governor
Special Education: The governor’s budget invests $500 million into the AB 602 formula coupled with the following policy changes:
  • Calculate special education base funding at the LEA level, rather than the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) level;
  • Allocate Educationally-Related Mental Health Services funding directly to LEAs;
  • Consolidate the two special education extraordinary cost pools into a single pool;
  • Develop a Special Education Addendum to the LCAP.
Facilities: The governor’s budget includes two General Fund allocations totaling more than $2 billion to support new construction and modernization projects through the existing School Facility Program, with approximately $1.3 billion proposed for 2022-23 and $925 million proposed for 2023-24. In addition, the budget proposal allocates the remaining Proposition 51 facilities bond act funds — approximately $1.4 billion — to support school construction projects.
Transportation: The budget proposes $1.5 billion over three years to support school transportation programs, with a focus on greening bus fleets. Grants of $500,000 will be available for electric buses and charging equipment.
Nutrition: The governor’s budget proposes $596 million to fund universal school meals. The state will then cover any remaining unreimbursed costs up to the combined state and federal free per-meal rate. The budget also proposes $450 million one-time funds to upgrade kitchen infrastructure and $3 million one-time funds to support School Breakfast and Summer Meal Start-Up and Expansion Grant Program.
More Resources
Read ACSA's full analysis of the governor's Budget Proposal and watch the webinar on ACSA's Resource Hub.
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