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Brown’s CA budget proposal includes increase for education

Craig Clough | January 7, 2016

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Jerry BrownCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his new $122.6-billion budget proposal today, the first part of a complicated process that should lead to its passage sometime over the summer.

While pundits are describing it as another conservative budget from Brown, K-12 education funding looks to get a boost, with an increase to $51.2 billion from $49.8 billion in the last fiscal year.

The budget will need to be negotiated with state lawmakers and approved by the legislature and readjusted in the spring as updated state revenue numbers roll in. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

The budget increases school spending per student to $10,591 in 2016-17 — a boost of nearly $3,600 compared with 2011-12 levels, according a post on Brown’s website: “The budget provides a fourth-year investment of more than $2.8 billion in the Local Control Funding Formula, which focuses on students with the greatest challenges to success, bringing the formula to 95 percent implementation. The budget also proposes a $1.6 billion early education block grant that combines three existing programs to promote local flexibility, focusing on disadvantaged students and improved accountability.”

The increase for education won praise from around the state. Among the reactions:

  • “It is safe to say this will be the second best year for schools in a decade,” said Kevin Gordon, an education lobbyist, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • “We are glad to see that the continued economic recovery once again allows the California state budget to make noteworthy investments in our children and schools,” said James P. Steyer, founder & CEO of Common Sense Media.
  • “We commend Governor Brown for continuing a strong legacy of ensuring California’s students and education system have the resources they need and rightfully deserve. By increasing funding for our schools, Governor Brown is once again demonstrating that an investment in our students is an investment in the future of our state,” said a statement from Students Matter.
  •  “This is a good news budget for our students, teachers, parents, communities and businesses. The Governor is continuing to devote more revenues to high-quality learning that prepares children for 21st century careers and college, including an additional investment of $300 million in career technical education that emphasizes hands on learning,” said State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The dark cloud hanging over the flush educational budgets of the last few years is Prop 30, a tax increase that has flooded the state with additional billions for schools but is due to begin sunsetting this year unless voters approve an extension that may be on the ballot this November.

The California Federation of Teachers called the need to extend Prop 30 “the elephant in the room,” adding in a statement. “The CFT is working with a coalition of unions and community organizations to place a renewal of Prop 30 on the November ballot. The governor’s budget proposal, and his state of the state message, represents the right moment for the governor to acknowledge that without a Prop 30 extension, the progress we have made over the past few years will be in jeopardy.”

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