On July 9, Governor Newsom signed a historic education budget with an unprecedented investment in our students and schools.

The California Legislature voted on and passed identical budget bills (AB/SB 129) on June 28, after reaching agreement with the governor about most budget issues. The full budget is $263 billion, thanks to an extraordinary surplus and the latest round of federal stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan. A few outstanding details will be finalized in trailer bills.

Below is a topline summary of many core budget areas affecting CFT members and education. Now that the full budget deal is completed and signed by the governor, watch for CFT’s detailed analysis. 

Proposition 98

The budget includes the highest ever allocation of Prop. 98 funding for California schools and community colleges. The funding for last year, current year, and budget year breaks down as follows: 

  • 2019-20: $79.3 billion
  • 2020-21: $93.4 billion (revised from $70.9 billion when enacted last year)
  • 2021-22: $93.7 billion ($21,152 in per-pupil spending)

The budget pays back all of the TK-12 and community college deferrals of Prop. 98 funding that were included in the current year’s budget.

The budget adopts the governor’s proposal to add a new grade, with the first steps towards implementing a full transitional kindergarten grade. In the coming years, the Prop. 98 guarantee will be re-benched to reflect the resulting growth in enrollment. 

For the first time, the state will make deposits into the State School Reserve (the Prop 98 rainy day fund). These will total $4.5 billion between 2020-21 and 2021-22.

COLA – Base Funding Increases 

The statutory COLA for 2021-22 is 1.7%, but most funding will increase by significantly more:  

LCFF 5.07%
Special Education 4.05%
Child Care / State Preschool 4.05%
Community College Apportionments 5.07%
Adult Education 4.05%
Community College Categoricals 1.7%
UC / CSU  5%

TK-12 Highlights

LCFF: In addition to 5.07% COLA for the LCFF base grant, the budget deal allocates $1.1 billion to change the LCFF concentration grant formula from 50 to 65% of the base grant.  This should reduce student to adult ratios, including for custodial services. 

A new Expanded Learning add-on to the LCFF will provide funding for programs aligned to the After School Education & Safety (ASES) program for grades TK-6, with funding skewed to support for LEAs with high concentrations of low-income students.  Initial funding is $1.7 billion, with $1 billion ongoing funding. 

Community Schools: $2.8 billion to support the expansion of community schools will be available through 2028.

Universal School Meals: $54 million in funding in 2021-22 to increase state meal reimbursements and $650 million ongoing to offer free school meals to all students, starting in 2022-23.

Special Education: The 4.05% COLA increases funding by $396 million (ongoing), adjusting the per ADA statewide base rate for the special education formula. Another $260 million (ongoing) is allocated for Special Education Early Intervention grants and $550 million (one-time) is dedicated for special education learning recovery. 

Teacher and Staff Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention: Several special allocations are earmarked for programs that will recruit new and retain experienced teachers, including various professional development. This includes $125 million for Classified School Employees Credentialing program (for spending over 5 years) and $150 million to train school food service workers and upgrade kitchens. 

Classified Summer Assistance: $60 million is provided to match funds in the Classified School Employees Summer Assistance Program.

Career Technical Education: The budget provides an additional $150 million to the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant and $86 million to career technical education regional centers or programs operated by a joint powers authority. 

Early Education and Child Care Highlights

Transitional Kindergarten:  The budget begins a rollout aimed to achieve universal TK by 2025-26. Substantial one-time funding is provided to support professional development and preparation for staff, and for building or retrofitting needed facilities.  At full implementation, funding will be around $2.7 billion to provide full-day programs with a goal of 1:10 staff to student ratios by full implementation. 

Child Care Access: The budget increases access to child care by 200,000 slots, starting with 120,000 in 2021-22 and another 80,000 over the next four years. 

There is $130 million (ongoing) for LEA-based California State Preschool (CSPP) programs, with priority for full-day, full-year CSPP programs. This supports approximately 8,700 slots, at the 75th percentile of the 2018 Regional Market Rate (RMR).

Facilities: $250 million is included for child care infrastructure plus $490 million for preschool/transitional kindergarten/kindergarten facilities.

Provider Rates: Increases to child care and state preschool provider rates, including reform to the rate system; details to be forthcoming. 

Higher Education Highlights

Community College Apportionments and SCFF: The budget includes $371 million to support a 5.07% COLA to the apportionments, and funding to support 0.5% enrollment growth in the system. The hold harmless provision for the Student Centered Funding Formula is extended by one more year, to 2024-25. 

Community College Categoricals: Categorical programs receive at least the 2021-22 COLA (1.7%). Student Services programs are increased as shown: 

  • Umoja: $4.9 million
  • MESA: $8.2 million
  • Puente: $7.3 million
  • EOPS: $20 million
  • HBCU Transfer: $1.3 million

The Adult Education and Apprenticeship programs will receive a 4.05% COLA. Support for the Student Equity and Achievement program will increase by $24 million. 

Community College Faculty: The budget includes $100 million to support hiring more full-time faculty and $100 million for part-time faculty office hours ($90 million is one-time). There is also $20 million for faculty professional development.

Community College In-Person Instruction: The budget emphasizes the importance of in-person instruction but does not mandate it. Districts will be required to report on the percentage of in-person instruction offered in fall 2021 and their plans to increase that percentage in spring 2022

Calbright: Calbright funding is being continued, though the legislature could still eliminate the college.

University of California and California State University:  Funding cuts in the 2020 Budget Act were restored and the base funding for each system was increased by 5%. UC received funding to increase enrollment by 6,230 California students; funding is also included to backfill losses from nonresident tuition at UCB, UCLA, and UCSD, which will need to replace around 900 nonresident students with California students. CSU received funding to increase enrollment by 9,434 students. 

UCLA Labor Center: $15 million (one-time) was allocated to support the Labor Center at UCLA.

Student Financial Aid: Significant funding is allocated to increase financial aid for higher education students, including $150 million for emergency financial aid to community college students, expansion of Cal Grants and Middle Class Scholarships, $2 billion for affordable student housing at UC and CSU. 

Anti-Racism, Ethnic Studies, and Student Support Highlights

  • $55 million to implement California’s TK-12 Ethnic Studies curricula, including professional development and instructional materials 
  • $10 million for the Anti-Bias Education Grant Program (TK-12)
  • $10 million to support LGBTQ+ student support centers at community colleges
  • $5.6 million for Community Colleges to support the implementation of the CSU ethnic studies graduation requirement (AB 1460) and anti-racism efforts. 
  • $60 million to support student mental health services ($15 million for UC, CSU; $30 million for CCC)


By Tristan Brown, Legislative Director, and Aimee Shreck, Research Director