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Reaction by Thurmond, Others to Newsom’s May Budget Revision Largely Favorable

May 20, 2019

On May 9, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2019–20. “Our Governor just announced the largest-ever investment in K–12 schools, with 45 percent of all proposed increased spending to benefit our schools. We applaud this commitment to public education, especially by adding funding to assist students with the greatest needs. The revision also makes significant investments in the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers, and supporting the financial burdens they face,” he said.

Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $4.4 billion in non-Proposition 98 spending for the benefit of our schools, while Prop 98 funding is at $81.1 billion, the most it has been in years.

“I am pleased that Governor Newsom is placing a top priority on education and look forward to a strong, productive partnership with him, the Legislature, and all stakeholders in the next few years that will lift up all of our students by improving our education system and increasing the resources that go to our schools – today’s announcements prove his commitment to increasing funding for public education,” he said.

Other highlights include:

  1. $696.2 million ongoing money for special education. This is $119.2 million more than was proposed in the Governor’s Budget, and is a 21 percent year-over-year increase.
  2. $150 million in one-time non-Proposition 98 General Funds.
  3. $89.8 million one-time non-Proposition 98 General Fund money to help recruit and retain qualified teachers, especially in rural communities, and/or in the areas of special education, STEM, and bilingual assignments.
  4. $44.8 million one-time non-Proposition 98 General Fund to provide training and resources for classroom educators, including teachers and paraprofessionals, to build capacity around inclusive practices, social emotional learning, computer science, and restorative practices.
  5. $15 million in broadband infrastructure and updates to ensure all students have access with the growing bandwidth needs of digital learning.
  6. Several new investments to increase access to subsidized child care for low-income families.
  7. Specific charter school proposals to prevent families from being wrongfully turned away from the public school of their choice based on academic performance, student characteristic, or special education status.
  8. Reduction to employer contributions to CalSTRS to provide some immediate fiscal relief to school districts for the rising cost of teacher pensions.

California School Boards Association

CSBA President Dr. Emma Turner said: “We’re encouraged that Gov. Newsom continues to identify and address some of the more pressing issues facing California public schools, such as special education, early learning, employer pension contributions, and teacher recruitment, training, and retention. In his first budget, the Governor has made significant progress toward providing the resources needed to give all students a high-quality education. In the coming months, we look forward to partnering with the Governor to accelerate this work and secure the investment needed to lift California from the bottom of the national rankings in per-pupil funding and into the top 10.”

California Teachers Association

California Teachers Association President Eric C. Heins commended Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revision to the state budget proposal:

“Gov. Newsom continues to demonstrate his commitment to public education from cradle-to-career. The revised budget proposal also continues to focus support on California’s neediest children and families. The historic budget allocations we saw in January have grown mostly due to increased revenues. The additional money for early childhood education, special education, higher education, educator training, providing a secure retirement, and student loan support/forgiveness will help support students, classrooms and educators.

“The revised proposal also includes an unprecedented trigger in the state budget due to increased tax revenues – capital gains – that will move $390 million for the first time ever into the education rainy day fund created by Prop. 2 in 2014. As the governor said, this is certainly ‘frustrating.’ It’s hard for parents, teachers and students to understand why the state would be putting money into a reserve fund when it’s raining right now on our schools. Educators questioned this provision when it was proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, and now we are seeing nearly $400 million going into a rainy day fund when that funding is desperately needed in our schools and colleges right now. It’s hard to understand when we rank 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding and educators are striking to ensure their students have all the resources they need to succeed. CTA will continue to review the revised budget plan to better understand the feasibility of this rainy day fund trigger and its impact on students. Educators will also continue to advocate for the full and fair funding our students, schools and colleges need and deserve.

“CTA also supports the governor’s proposal that will stop privately-managed charter schools from blocking certain students from attending their schools. Educators throughout the state are meeting weekly with lawmakers in their district offices and look forward to working with the Legislature, and the governor, throughout the budget process to ensure all students have the resources to succeed and the opportunity to thrive in their very own communities.”

Education Trust–West

In response to the release of Governor Newsom’s May revisions to his 2019-2020 California state budget proposal, Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director of Ed Trust–West issued the following statement on behalf of The Education Trust–West:

“California’s commitment to progressive values must be coupled with the resources needed to correct long-standing inequities facing our state’s students and families. We’re glad to see Governor Newsom’s revisions to his state budget proposal signal a commitment to the types of bold action that move California closer to educational equity and justice. We urge the governor and legislature to pass a budget incorporating the Governor’s equity-focused proposals, and to double down on providing additional adjustments in a few areas to maximize the potential this budget has for leveling the playing field for all Californians. The proposed state budget includes a number of strong levers for equity – and we look forward to closely monitoring the implementation of these investments to ensure they truly translate into meaningful change for our state’s students.

“As we were in January, we are very glad that Governor Newsom’s first state budget proposal includes an investment in a state longitudinal data system (SLDS). As fierce advocates for the use of data to expose and eradicate education inequities, we strongly urge the Governor and Legislature to approve the an SLDS grounded in 5 equity principles, as laid out in our recently-released Data For The People policy brief:

  1. Engaging students and families in both development and implementation
  2. Counting all students and disaggregating data
  3. Protecting student privacy
  4. Providing accessible, public facing results and tools
  5. Focusing on systemic-, asset-, and equity-oriented change

Early Education and K-12

The Governor’s dedication to supporting California’s families is clear, and we are happy to see his May revision include an increase of funding to support access to child care for low-income families. We appreciate the governor proposing an investment in the teacher pipeline that provides some financial relief to teachers, an initiative that aligns with our sponsored legislation, AB 1623. We urge the legislature to ensure such an investment prioritizes equity by linking the funding to teachers serving in hard-to-fill positions that disproportionately affect underserved students of color. We also commend the Governor for taking a step to address fiscal adequacy while maintaining a commitment to supporting teachers by providing some degree of pension relief for school districts. As discussions around fiscal adequacy in California education continue, we encourage the Governor and other state policymakers to not only address pensions, which are one piece of the adequacy puzzle, but to take on adequacy as a whole and with equity at the forefront, including taking action to ensure our more-equity-focused funding streams are indeed being used on resources for the underserved students they were intended to support.”

Children Now

Children Now President Ted Lempert issued the following statement today in response to Governor Newsom’s May Revision:

“We applaud Governor Newsom’s May Revision for working towards addressing early care and education and the extraordinary costs for families with children. He targets many critical whole-child supports that have long been ignored, and makes some important down payments to help our children’s future. Doing right by all kids is not only the right thing to do, it’s essential to our state’s ability to thrive. Yet unlike with other key issues, California ranks near the bottom in the nation when it comes to children’s well-being. California needs a bold, ambitious plan to ensure that all of our kids have equal access to high-quality education – from birth through higher ed – as well as health care and other services that are so critical to ensuring they can achieve their full potential.”

Sources: California School Boards Association, California Teachers Association, Education Trust–West, and Children Now.

A Total School Solutions publication.