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Brown’s budget: More for Common Core, Internet, charters, special ed

Craig Clough | January 9, 2015

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Figure from Gov. Brown's proposed 2015-16 budget

Figure from Gov. Brown’s proposed 2015-16 budget


Gov. Jerry Brown‘s proposed state budget for 2015-2016, released today, includes $52 million more in K-12 funding than last year’s budget.

The increase, which would bring the state’s K-12 education spending to $47.12 billion, a one-tenth of 1 percent increase over last year, includes more money for Common Core implementation, Internet infrastructure, special education, emergency repairs and charter schools. It also proposes more state oversight of teacher preparation programs and changes that Brown says will help the state better fund local school infrastructure needs.

Spending on K-12 education represents 41.6 percent of the budget, by far the largest category of state spending.

The budget “proposes investments for 2015‐16 that will substantially increase funding distributed under the Local Control Funding Formula, providing additional funding to school districts and students most in need of these resources. These funds will allow schools and colleges to restore and expand base programs and services, implement major new policy initiatives, and support other key local investments and priorities.”

Superintendent Ramon Cortines of LA Unified, the largest school district in the state, said, “We appreciate Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for real prudence in facing the 2015-16 budget. At the same time, we are grateful that the governor acknowledges with this budget proposal the value of public education in California.”

He added that the additional money “offers an opportunity to close the more than $300 million deficit that we anticipate in 2015-16. This will get us closer to our goal of limiting the number of Reduction-in-Force notices that will need to be sent to employees.”

Among the key items in the governor’s budget on K-12 education:

  • Total per‐pupil expenditures from all sources are projected to increase to $13,462 in 2015‐16 from $13,223 in 2014‐15.
  • Additional growth of approximately $4 billion for school districts and charter schools in 2015‐16, an increase of 8.7 percent.
  • $100 million in one‐time funding to support additional investments in internet connectivity and infrastructure. This builds on $26.7 million funding that was provided in the last budget.
  • $1.1 billion in discretionary one‐time funding for school districts, charter schools and county offices of education to further their investments in the implementation of Common Core.
  • An increase of $59.5 million to support projected charter school ADA (average daily attendance) growth.
  • An increase of $15.3 million to reflect a projected increase in Special Education ADA.
  • An increase of $273.4 million in one‐time resources for the Emergency Repair Program.
  • An increase of almost $900 million in one‐time spending to eliminate all remaining outstanding deferral debt for K‐12.

On the issue of teacher preparation programs, the budget stated that “oversight of the educator preparation system is currently not robust enough to verify that programs are meeting preparation standards and producing fully prepared teachers.”

The budget proposes $5 million to convene an Accreditation Advisory Panel to provide recommendations to the Commission on streamlining preparation standards, develop better data systems and surveys and “increase transparency and access to information about the quality and effectiveness of educator preparation programs.”

The budget also proposes an additional $5 million over a two-year period to update the Teacher Performance Assessment and develop an Administrator Performance Assessment to “verify educator quality and to assist with determining the effectiveness and quality of preparation programs.”

Brown’s budget pointed out despite $35 billion in voter-approved bonds since 1998 to construct or renovate public school classrooms, there remain “significant shortcomings” in the current School Facilities Program.

The budget proposes changes in the program that will help the state focus on “districts with the greatest need, while providing substantial new flexibility for local districts to raise the necessary resources for school facilities needs.”

The California Federation of Teachers praised the proposed budget for contributing “to better achievement levels for our student” and for helping “to restore school programs we need for a quality public education system.’

But the union pointed out that the state still ranks “near the bottom of the nation in per pupil funding and class size average.”

“The governor is a prudent steward of the state’s budget, but we also need his leadership in ensuring that California’s students and our most at-risk communities have the resources they desperately need in the coming years,” said CFT president Josh Pechthalt. “The governor should go beyond simply acknowledging that the source of California’s success is Proposition 30; we need to make this progressive tax and its success permanent, build on it, and the governor should lead the way.”

Dean E. Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, said:  “The governor’s budget proposal gives us hope after learning yesterday that California ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil funding. Even with the fruits of Prop. 30 and unprecedented revenue increases, we’re still at the bottom nationally on how much we invest in our students. We see the governor’s continued commitment to a brighter future for our state by allocating funds to repay the billions of dollars that had been cut from students, schools and colleges.”

*Adds response from LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines, CTA and CFT.


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