State budget makes a run at new teacher recruitment

State budget makes a run at new teacher recruitment

(Calif.) The 2016-17 state budget, expected to be approved today, would provide $20 million to support new charter school startups, $24 million to help train district personnel on meeting new school performance requirements and $35 million to improve recruitment of new teachers.

The spending plan, which does not appear to have any significant opposition, would provide a minimum funding guarantee to K-12 schools and community colleges of $71.9 billion—up from last year’s $69.1 billion and the $67.2 billion provided in 2014-15, according to a legislative analysis released this week.

The budget would also provide $2.94 billion in new funding for the Local Control Funding Formula for school districts, bringing total LCFF funding to $55.8 billion in 2016-17.

Although Gov. Jerry Brown had been cautious about putting money into new and ongoing programs, he appears to have agreed to adding $100 million to open nearly 9,000 more slots in full-day preschool to be phased in over four years beginning in March 2017. The budget will also hike the standard reimbursement rate for child-care providers by 10 percent.

The new money for new teacher recruitment comes as many districts throughout California struggle to fill vacant slots as the number of college students enrolling in education has dropped since the recession and has not recovered.

Of the money that is expected to be provided next year is $20 million to help classified employees at schools to continue their education to earn a teaching credential. Another $10 million would be set aside for colleges and universities to improve on or develop four-year integrated teacher credential programs.

Finally, $5 million would go to reestablish the California Center for Teaching Careers, a program that was left unfunded as a result of cuts in prior budgets.

Absent from the spending plan are any new proposals surrounding school facility construction. There had been some expectations that the governor would move to head off the imposition of fees on new housing projects that districts can now impose on developers.

With voters set to consider a $9 billion statewide bond measure for school construction in November, there is a sense that both the administration and legislative leaders will  wait for that outcome before making any further moves.

The governor’s plan to earmark $100 million in Proposition 98 funding to fund a loan program for emergency facilities repairs didn’t make it into the final budget plan.

Among the highlights:

  • $200 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding for a K-12 College Readiness Block Grant for local education agencies to better prepare high school students for admission to college
  • $24 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, a new state entity charged with overseeing district compliance with funding and performance goals established through the LCFF process
  • $20 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding for the Charter School Startup Grant Program
  • $20 million in one-time Proposition 98 funding to reestablish the Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program to provide grants for classified employees to get their teaching credential
  • $15 million to provide grants to postsecondary institutions to develop four-year teacher credential programs and to create the California Center for Teaching Careers, a statewide recruitment of individuals into the teaching profession
  • $18 million in one-time money to provide grants for dropout and truancy prevention programs more