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8 things to know about education funding in the new California state budget

Sarah Favot | July 5, 2016

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Gov Jerry Brown LAUSDGov. Jerry Brown last week signed the state’s $171 billion budget for 2016-17.

Here are some highlights of education spending in the budget, including increases for additional preschool seats, efforts to address the teacher shortage and programs to prepare students for college.

1. Overall numbers

The $171 billion state budget includes total funding of $88.3 billion for all K-12 education programs.

This money supports about 6 million students who attend kindergarten through 12th grade in more than 10,000 schools throughout the state. There are more than 1,000 local school districts, 58 county offices of education and more than 1,000 charter schools.

This year’s budget is a 4 percent overall increase in revenue from last year for K-12 funding.

Per pupil spending increased to $10,643, which is $3,600 more than in 2011-12.

2. College readiness

$200 million in one-time funding for College Readiness Block grants to school districts and charter schools serving high school students to provide additional services to help students transition to higher education. Funding will be based on the number of high school students who are English learners, low-income or foster youth.

3. Teacher shortage

An increase of $35 million to fund several programs aimed at recruiting additional teachers. This includes: $10 million for the Integrated Teacher Preparation Grant Program to provide grants to colleges and universities to develop or improve programs so that students can earn a teaching credential and a bachelor’s degree in four years; $20 million to establish the California Classified School Employees Credentialing Program to recruit non-certificated school employees to become certificated classroom teachers; and $5 million for a local educational agency to establish and operate the California Center on Teaching Careers to recruit teachers.

4. Charter school startup grants

An increase of $20 million for operational startup costs for new charter schools in 2016 and 2017, which will help offset the loss of federal funding.

5. Restorative justice grants

An increase of $18 million for truancy and dropout prevention grants.

6. Full-day state preschool

An increase of $7.8 million to provide access to full-day state preschool for an additional 2,959 children from low-income working families starting March 1, 2017. Over a period of four years, a total of 8,877 new full-day state preschool slots will be added costing $100 million.

7. A-G initiative

$4 million to expand University of California’s existing Scout program and provide free online classes and curriculum to meet the A-G subject requirements with the goal of making college preparatory courses more accessible for students.

8. Unfunded liabilities 

$2.4 billion for state contributions to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). It is estimated this unfunded liability will be eliminated in about 30 years.

State retirement liabilities for health care benefits total $74 billion, and $72.6 billion for teacher pensions. The state portion of the unfunded liability for teacher pensions is $13.9 billion.

Source: California State Budget 2016-17

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