Governor Brown today released his proposed 2013-14 state budget. The proposal includes additional resources for public schools and colleges as approved by voters last year in the passage of Prop 30. According to the budget proposal, funding for K-12 schools and community colleges increases by $2.7 billion next year, while UC and CSU each see an increase of $250 million in funding. The governor is also proposing to change the state’s funding formula for K-12 schools. The Local Control Funding Formula moves toward a system that provides a base grant to all districts tied to average daily attendance and then adjusts allocations to account for differential expenses between grades. The proposed formula also provides additional money for English learners, low-income students and foster kids. This plan is just a proposal, and the new funding system contains many unknowns-at this time. CTA legislative and bargaining specialists are reviewing and analyzing the budget details.
As a new report by Education Week shows that California now ranks 49th in per-student funding, it’s good to see a state budget proposal that begins to turn the tide. California educators are pleased that Governor Brown’s proposed state budget reflects the will of voters and includes additional funding for students, public schools and colleges as approved in Proposition 30 last year.
• After years of drastic cuts, it is necessary for the future of our children and the future of California that money owed to students and public education begin to be repaid. Funding for California schools and colleges has been cut by more than $20 billion over the last four years. It’s time our students had a chance to focus on learning instead of facing threats of larger class sizes, fewer classes to choose from, higher tuition and fewer teachers in the classroom.
• CTA is interested to hear more about the proposed new funding formula for K-12 schools and will review all details as they become available. We appreciate the focus on local schools and allocating additional resources to students who need extra help. CTA recognizes there are many unknowns in this proposal.
– CTA is concerned about the overall structure of the new K-12 funding system, the quality of the data and timing of implementation. We are concerned about moving forward with a new funding system before schools have received the money they are owed from years of cuts.
-CTA wants to ensure the state has adequate resources to reduce class sizes and implement the Common Core State Standards. We commend the governor for including the state’s Class Size Reduction program for K-3 in the new funding formula, but the 24:1 ratio is higher than in current law.
-CTA also wants to ensure that the new funding system includes accountability for how dollars are spent. If the state removes the policy requirements that have been the historical basis for program-based funding in the current system, the state must look toward developing strong penalties for those districts that fail to provide basic services to all students.
-The plan must include some type of audit requirement to ensure that the data used in the new formula is accurate and calculated equally in all schools. Currently, districts may use their own method for identifying English learners and reporting students eligible for free and reduced lunch. To ensure equality, the state must arrive at definitions of poverty indexes and student classifications.
• Because all research shows that students learn best with a teacher working directly with them in a classroom setting, CTA also wants to learn more about the governor’s proposal to expand online learning programs to K-12 schools and colleges.
Overall, thanks to the voters of California and Governor Brown, this proposed budget is a good first step toward restoring much-needed funding to our public schools and colleges. We look forward to working with the governor and all lawmakers on behalf of California’s students and educators throughout the year.