Gov. Newsom’s 2020-21 budget proposal provides additional money for special education, teacher preparation, early childhood

14 Jan
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Gov. Gavin Newsom’s second budget proposal — a $222.2 billion spending package released on Jan. 10 that also solidifies $21 billion in total statewide reserves — makes bold investments in addressing key statewide issues such as climate change, health care costs and the homelessness crisis. While not fundamentally addressing California’s education funding crisis, the budget adds $3.4 billion in new revenue to public schools and substantially focuses on special education, teacher preparation and early education.

Overall, the proposed Proposition 98 guarantee for K-14 education is $84 billion, an increase of $2.9 billion over the enacted 2019–20 guarantee. A $1.2 billion Local Control Funding Formula investment reflects a cost-of-living adjustment of 2.29 percent. That number is markedly lower than the enacted 2019-20 COLA of 3.26 percent but higher than the statutory 1.79 percent COLA forecast by the Legislative Analyst in November.

The Governor announced higher-than-expected investments in teacher preparation and recruitment ($900 million total) and begins the process of revamping California’s model of special education base funding with a formula that uses a three-year rolling average daily attendance figure. Overall, the budget calls for $900 million in new funding for special education. While it was expected that additional non-Proposition 98 money would be added to continue to pay down school employer pension liabilities, no additional funding is added to either system beyond the more than $3 billion in non-Proposition 98 money that was provided in 2019–20.

“We applaud Gov. Newsom’s responsiveness to the concerns of elected school board members and his attentiveness to the important issues facing our public schools,” said CSBA President Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez. “We appreciate that the Governor’s 2020-21 budget proposal takes steps toward addressing those concerns, particularly with an additional focus on teacher preparation, community schools and funding for early intervention programs in special education. We will continue to work with the Governor to help secure the more dramatic investment in public schools needed to grapple with California’s education funding crisis.”

Teacher preparation and recruitment
Gov. Newsom spent a considerable amount of time in his press conference discussing nearly $900 million in investments to address the state’s teacher shortage — particularly, to mitigate its effects on higher-need student populations — and to bolster teacher preparation:

$350 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for the Educator Workforce Investment Grants (prioritizes special education (including inclusive practices, universal design for learning and dyslexia identification); multi-tiered systems of support and mental health interventions; supporting English learners; social-emotional learning and restorative practices; affirmative supports for LGBTQ and other marginalized students; and STEM.

$193 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for the Workforce Development Grant Program.

$175 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund to expand the Teacher Residency Program.

$100 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for the California Teacher Credential Award Program.

$64.1 million one-time Proposition 98 General Fund to expand the California Classified School Employees Credentialing Program.

The budget also proposes suspending accreditation fees for institutions of higher education and local educational agencies that administer a teacher preparation or induction program.

Special education
Calling special education in California a “crisis” and a “real shame,” Gov. Newsom proposes $900 million in new funding for the first phase of what is described as a multi-year effort to revamp special education funding:

New base funding formula that uses a three-year rolling average of ADA (but still allocated to Special Education Local Plan Areas [SELPAs])

15 percent increase in the Proposition 98 General Fund contribution to the base formula funding over the prior budget year.

$250 million in ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund money proposed, based on the number of children ages 3 to 5 years with exceptional needs.

Funding allocated on a one-time basis to school districts based on the number of preschool-age children with disabilities served.

All other Assembly Bill 602 special education funding categories remain unchanged.

Budget proposes additional funding for a review of SELPA governance and accountability, special education workgroups and dyslexia research and training.

Other highlights
Opportunity grants: $300 million in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund money proposed to establish grants for the state’s lowest-performing schools and school districts, and to expand the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and its role in the Statewide System of Support.

County offices of education: $5.7 million Proposition 98 General Fund increase (reflects COLA and ADA changes).

Early childhood: In addition to proposing the creation of a new state Department of Early Childhood Development in 2021, the Governor proposed $31.9 million increase and $127 million ongoing non-Proposition 98 General Fund for an additional 10,000 non-LEA state preschool slots, $75 million Proposition 98 General Fund for preschool facilities and $53.8 million non-Proposition 98 General Fund for CalWORKs Stages 2 and 3 Child Care.

Next steps
Budget negotiations will be ongoing in the Legislature throughout the spring, leading up to the May budget revision, which will be released on or before May 15. The Legislature will then have until June 15 to send the final agreed upon budget to Gov. Newsom, who will have until July 1 to sign it. CSBA will provide additional updates on the initial budget proposal and on 2020–21 budget negotiations leading up to the May Revision.

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