The legislature’s vote on the state budget puts an exclamation point on California’s mandate to fund neighborhood public schools and makes good on a long-standing commitment to California’s students.
Today, the state is looking at a $9 billion surplus by the end of the fiscal year, fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula two years ahead of schedule, millions more in funding for higher education and much-needed funding for health and human services, which begins to address the homelessness crisis impacting our students and our communities. Also significant is the certification of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee and the continuous appropriation of the LCFF, including cost of living adjustment. This ensures certainty for educators and students in future years.
We appreciate the one-time funding for much-needed beginning teacher induction during this critical teacher shortage. We must do everything possible to attract and retain the most qualified to our profession, and then support them as they begin their career. The increases in funding for Special Education, school safety, the state preschool program, childcare and healthcare for low-income families are also critically important.
Governor Jerry Brown has been the right leader in a difficult time for our state. He stepped in and turned things around for California when we were experiencing an epic recession. His leadership and collaboration with educators, working families, students, parents and community partners led to passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 followed by the work we all did to pass Prop. 55 in 2016. This effort laid the groundwork for the increased revenues leading to the surplus we have today.
Even with these increases, California ranks 44th in the nation in per pupil funding. It’s clear we still have more work to do to increase per-pupil funding, but we are now moving in the right direction.