California began the previous budget year with a looming recession forecasted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a projected $54 billion deficit. However, due mostly to the inequitable recovery of the stock market, profits from Silicon Valley, and high-income earners that did not lose their jobs, the state now has projected a $75.7 billion surplus.
When combined with over $25 billion in federal relief, Governor Newsom is proposing a $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,“ released in his May Revision to the 2021-22 state budget proposal on May 14. Given the unexpected surplus, the governor is proposing a five-year “California for All Kids Plan” that radically shifts the state’s investments in public education.
The California Department of Finance said the new proposal contains the highest level of funding for K-12 schools in California’s history and per pupil funding is also at the highest levels ever: “The May Revision includes total funding of $121.7 billion ($70 billion General Fund and $51.7 billion other funds) for all K-12 education programs, the highest level of funding in California’s history. Per pupil funding is also at the highest levels ever, totaling $13,977 per pupil in Proposition 98 General Fund and $21,152 per pupil when accounting for all funding sources.”
Furthermore, the level of revenue to the state this year exceeds a constitutionally mandated appropriations limit, requiring an additional $8 billion payment to the Proposition 98 guarantee funding level that will be allocated next year.
The Legislature will spend the next few weeks reviewing the proposal and must pass a budget bill by June 15. What follows is a summary of the proposed budget for early childhood education, K-12 schools, higher education and state educator retirement programs.
Proposition 2, enacted by the voters in 2014, created the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) and the Public School System Stabilization Account (PSSSA), or the Proposition 98 reserve. The May Revision includes payments of $1.9 and $4.6 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively, for the Proposition 98 reserve, and will trigger a 10% cap on school district reserves starting in 2022-23.
- The 2021-22 Local Control Funding Formula cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is updated to 1.7%. This is added to the 2.31% COLA that was unfunded in 2020-21 for a new compounded COLA of 4.05%. Additionally, the May Revision includes $520 million in ongoing Proposition 98 funding to provide a 1% increase to the LCFF base funding. This results in a 5.07% increase to the LCFF over 2020-21 levels.
- Special education will also be provided an updated COLA, sharing the same compounded COLA of 4.05%.
- All other categorical programs remain at the statutory level of 1.7%.
The budget pays down another $1.1 billion (above the $9.2 billion January proposal) of the $12.5 billion in deferred payments from the 2020-21 budget year, leaving $2.6 billion remaining as a June to July deferral.
Expansion of Community Schools
The budget proposal makes a $3 billion investment in expanding the number of community schools, which provide wrap-around services to students’ needs in healthcare and other social services, in up to 1,400 districts.
Adding a new grade by establishing a universal Transitional Kindergarten program
- Rollout over the next four years, with full implementation by 2024-25.
- Proposal includes initial funding of $250 million one-time Proposition 98 dollars to assist district’s with planning and hiring for expanding TK, and anticipates ongoing funding of $900 million, increasing to $2.7 billion, of General Fund money, and “re-benching” the Proposition 98 Guarantee each year to keep up with new costs.
- In future budgets, the program would call for $380 million for the 2022-23 year and growing to $740 million for 2024-25 to provide additional certificated or classified staff personnel in each TK classroom to achieve adult-to-student ratios of 1:12.
- Keeps TK optional for four-year-olds, who can remain in other ECE programs.
Preschool and Childcare Programs
- $10 million in one-time General Fund money to update the Preschool Learning Foundations to reflect the latest in early childhood development and provide resources for early childhood educators.
- 106,500 new subsidized child care slots, with Prop 64 cannabis tax revenue funding 6,500 of these.
- The administration notes it will develop a comprehensive plan to be implemented in 2022-23 to support existing State Preschool Program providers to maintain their contracts while transitioning to serve younger children, in alignment with the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, to ensure all eligible three-year-olds have access to a high quality early learning.
Student Support & Expanded Learning
- The proposal provides $1 billion and anticipates growing to $5 billion at full implementation, to lower adult-to-student ratios for elementary grade students in districts with high concentration grant students (low-income, English language learners, and foster youth). Funding would require adult-to-student ratios of 1:10 for TK and 1:20 for grades 1-6 and could also be used to expand afterschool and summer school opportunities (for approximately 2 million students at full implementation, focusing on districts with higher levels of concentration grant students) Districts with 80% concentration grant students shall implement by 2021-22, 70% by 2022-23, 60% by 2023-24, and 55% by 2024-25.
- An increase of $1.1 billion to the LCFF concentration grant for districts with at least 55% of their student population who are concentration grant students. Districts would be required to show in their LCAPs how these funds are being used to increase the number of certificated and classified staff (including nurses, counselors, paraeducators and other support staff).
- Another $2.6 billion is proposed to supplement the $4.6 billion allocated earlier this year through AB 86 ($2 billion from the Federal government), Funds would support intensive tutoring and other academic interventions for students that have struggled with distance learning, and health and safety measures for schools to avoid COVID infections including testing, vaccine initiatives, enhanced cleaning PPE, and improved ventilation.
- More details will be released regarding the reform of the Independent Study program, which will allow parents an option for non-classroom based study for those not ready to return to in-person instruction in the wake of the pandemic.
A $7 billion investment proposes to bring broadband internet to more parts of the state, supporting not just the backbone infrastructure but the connection lines in the “last mile” between a backbone and a residence. Proposal allows local governments to provide broadband services.
College Savings Accounts
- The governor proposes using $2 billion federal dollars to establish individual student 529 college savings accounts for low-income, English language learner, foster youth, or homeless students. The ongoing cost would be $170 million per year, and funded through the General Fund.
- These first graders would receive a $500 initial deposit. Homeless or foster youth students would receive an additional $500 deposit.
- These accounts are investment accounts and earn a return on the investment, and it is hoped to inspire families to make subsequent deposits as the student grows.
Education Workforce Expansion
The May revision increases funds for educator training to $3.3 billion one-time dollars.
- $550 million for teacher training and recruitment in residency programs.
- $500 million for the Golden State Teacher Grant Program to help teachers who commit to teaching in high-need areas for four years.
- $125 million for the Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program, to be spent over five years.
- $111.1 million one-time Proposition 98 and General Fund allocation is earmarked to support the Pre-K–12 Educational Employment Program, which encourages pathways to the teaching profession.
- $20 million for credential fee waivers in 2021–22 for new teachers.
- $15 million to assist teachers in completing coursework required for state certification in computer science.
Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program
The May revision proposes $60 million for the CSESAP fund, allowing more classified school employees to participate in this program that offers up to a dollar-for-dollar match in deferred compensation saved up throughout the year and paid out over the summer months.
The governor proposes $4 billion for allocation over five years to identify and treat behavioral health needs early, including trauma, depression, anxiety, psychological disorders, and substance use in youth ages 0–25. The intent is to identify children who need help early, provide services where and when needed, and make programs and services available to meet their needs.
The governor’s May Revision includes an ongoing $150 million incentive for districts to participate in federal universal meal programs and a $100 million one-time opportunity for upgrades and training at school kitchens.
Career Technical Education ROCP
The May Revision includes $86.4 million in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money for career technical education regional occupational centers or programs (ROCPs) operated by a joint powers authority to address costs associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Curriculum, Accountability & Assessments
The May Revision proposes numerous new curriculum-related proposals, including $3 million for LGBTQ curriculum & training, $1.8 million for cultural competency training, $15 million to the Collaborative for Education Excellence (CCEE) to curate high quality open-resource platforms, $2 million for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for dyslexia teacher professional development support, and $2 million for one or more LEAs for reading instruction technical assistance, including dyslexia.
The statutory cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2021-22 is updated to 1.7%. May revise proposes an increase of $185.4 million to support the compounded COLA of 4.05% for the community college apportionments. This reflects the 1.7% plus the 2.31% COLA that was unfunded in 2020-21, compounded to 4.05%. The January proposal included only the COLA for 2021-22.
An increase of approximately $326.5 million above the January proposal of 1.1 billion one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money to fully retire deferrals from the 2021-22 fiscal year to the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Workforce Development Related Proposals
- One-time funds are proposed for numerous programs:
- $20 million for High Road Training Partnerships and Regional Partnerships.
- $157 million for a regional workforce investment package between the California Workforce Development Board and the CCC Chancellor’s Office.
- $20 million for Work-Based Learning. The May Revision proposes an increase of $10 million in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money to develop work-based learning opportunities in (1) cloud computing, and (2) zero emissions and supply chain fields.
- $1 million for CCC Registry Modernization, which is an online database of job opportunities for the CCC.
- $10 million to pilot implementation of competency-based education at select community colleges.
- $12.4 million ongoing funds proposed for the Strong Workforce Program. The state currently provides $248 million for this program.
Proposed ongoing funding includes:
- $115 million to develop and implement zero-textbook-cost degrees and open educational resources.
- $50 million to expand vocational training opportunities and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for ESL students at the community colleges.
- An increase of $30 million for colleges to establish basic needs centers and hire basic needs coordinators. The Governor’s January budget proposed $100 million in one-time for basic needs, and $30 million ongoing for technology and mental health.
- $23.8 million to increase Student Equity and Achievement Program funding by 5%. This funding is contingent on implementation of a plan to close student equity gaps by 2027 and an increase in online learning programs above 2018-19 levels.
- An increase of $5.8 million s to further support Dreamer Resource Liaisons and student support services for immigrant students, including undocumented students in community colleges
- $10 million the systemwide acquisition of software that visualizes and clearly maps out curricular pathways for students choosing their pathway and for students needing help to stay on their pathway. This investment would also support the long-term development and integration of a common application platform within the proposed Cradle-to Career Data system.
- $27.2 million to support revised estimates of students eligible for the Student Success Completion Grant.
One-time funding proposals include:
- $150 million to implement Guided Pathways programs.
- $100 million to bolster CCC student retention rates and enrollment. This is in addition to the $20 million in one-time dollars provided in the early action agreement, AB 85, this year.
- $20 million to support the implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity best practices, as developed by the Chancellor’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Advisory Committee.
The May Revision proposes an increase of $75 million of one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money to expand new and existing College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) agreements between school districts and community colleges.
Common Course Numbering
The May Revision proposes $10 million one-time Proposition 98 dollars to develop a common course numbering system throughout the community college system, which should better enable students to identify the courses needed to complete a degree or certificate, or transfer to a four-year institution. This investment would also support the long-term development and integration of a common application platform within the proposed Cradle-to Career Data system.
Library Services Platform
The governor proposes $4 million ongoing Proposition 98 funds to support a systemwide technology platform for library services to better manage and deliver digital information to support teaching and learning.
The May Revision proposes $314.1 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money and $250 million one-time American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to address deferred maintenance.
COVID-19 Response Block Grant
The May Revision proposes $50 million in one-time Proposition 98 grants to assist community colleges with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioning back toward in-person education.
The May Revision proposes an increase of $69.3 million in ongoing General Fund (2%) money to the UC base augmentation above the governor’s January budget proposal of $103.9 million. This results in a 5% ongoing base increase beginning in 2021-22. The May Revision maintains expectations articulated in the governor’s budget that UC:
- Maintain resident undergraduate tuition and fees at current levels for the 2021-22 academic year.
- Take action to significantly reduce equity gaps with the goal of fully closing equity gaps.
- Adopt policies furthering educational opportunities using online learning programs.
- Better align student learning objectives with workforce needs.
- Create a new stand-alone dual admissions pathway enabling first-time freshman applicants to be considered for guaranteed admission to the UC or CSU campus of their choice upon completion of an Associate Degree for Transfer or another transfer pathway at a California community college.
Restores $302.4 million funding cut in the 2020 Budget Act, starting in fiscal year 2021-22. This was a part of the legislative early action agreement announced in February.
UCLA Labor Center: The May Revision proposes $15 million in one-time General Fund money to renovate the UCLA Labor Center facility.
UC Office of the President: The May Revision proposes to eliminate the UCOP budget line item and consolidate the separate funding items for the UC Office of the President and UC campuses into one item. The May Revision also enables the UC Office of the President to return to a campus assessment model.
UC Campus Facilities: $150 million in one-time federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to address deferred maintenance and energy efficiency projects at UC campuses. This funding is provided in addition to $175 million one-time General Fund money provided in the Governor’s Budget for UC deferred maintenance and energy efficiency projects.
Animal Shelters: $45 million in one-time General Fund money for the UC Davis Koret Animal Shelter Medicine Program to develop a grant program for animal shelters. This augmentation would enable the center to provide expertise, support, and local assistance over a five-year period to help communities achieve the state’s policy goal that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat should be euthanized.
UC San Francisco Dyslexia Center: The May Revision proposes $10.2 million in one-time General Fund money to enhance the center’s app, support collaboration with teacher training programs, and support dyslexia research that could inform practices.
UCLA Asian American Studies Center: The May Revision proposes an increase of $5 million in one-time General Fund money to support analysis and research associated with the prevention of hate incidents experienced by Asian Pacific Islander communities and to provide grants to community-based organizations focused on preventing hate incidents experienced by Asian Pacific Islander communities.
UC Berkeley Alternative Meats Lab: The May Revision proposes $1 million in one-time General Fund money to support the UC Berkeley Alternative Meats Lab.
Employer Contribution Rates
The January proposal included $330 million and $820 million, respectively, to reduce CalPERS and CalSTRS employer contribution rates. No additional funding is included in the May proposal to further reduce these rates.
- CalPERS employer rates would be reduced from 24.9% to 23%.
- CalSTRS employer contribution rates would be reduced from 18.1% to 15.92%.
- The May Revision increases state contributions to CalPERS state plans by a net total of $550 million relative to the January budget. The governor’s January budget included $5.5 billion in one-time funding.
- The governor’s January budget included $1.5 billion in one-time Proposition 2 debt repayment funding in 2021-22 to further reduce the unfunded liabilities of the CalPERS state plans. Due to an increase in the estimated availability of Proposition 2 debt repayment funding, the May Revision increases this proposed payment to $1.9 billion.
The May Revision increases state contributions to CalSTRS by $4.9 million, relative to the governor’s January budget. The governor’s January budget included $3.9 billion in one-time funds for required contributions. This contribution amount includes a one-time $174 million in payment to offset the reduction in the state’s contribution in 2020-21 to allow the funding plan to stay on track to be fully funded by 2046.
The May Revision maintains the governor’s budget proposal to include a one-time $410 million in Proposition 2 supplemental pension payment to be paid to CalSTRS in 2021-22 toward the state’s share of the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program’s unfunded liability. This payment is estimated to result in $1.1 billion gross savings to the state through 2045-46.