Legislative panel suggests some additional ed. spending

Legislative panel suggests some additional ed. spending

(Calif.) A key budget panel agreed Wednesday to support adding $300 million to the Local Control Funding Formula, above what the governor proposed earlier this month.

The Assembly’s subcommittee on school finance also voted to provide $360 million new dollars under the LCFF to target educational services to the state’s lowest performing subgroup—currently are African American students.

“We’re very happy to see some of the state’s surplus going back into schools,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, chair of the panel. “Investing in schools is a good thing.”

Driven by profit taking by Wall Street investors, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a revised May budget proposal that included $8 billion in unanticipated revenue. Although Brown offered a record $78.4 billion next year to satisfy needs in K-12 schools and community colleges, only a small fraction of the new money was added back in for public education.

Part of the reason Brown didn’t allocate more to schools is because the constitutional funding guaranteed doesn’t require the state to do so given the existing economic conditions.

Legislative leaders, however, are under pressure from some advocacy groups to override Brown’s plan and find money for new programs or enhance existing ones.

The action by the finance subcommittee, while not binding, suggest Assembly Democrats appear willing to fight for more spending in some areas.

Among those in play is career technical education.

Brown proposed in his January budget to shift about $200 million in CTE funding to community colleges to expand an existing regional work force development programs so that high school students could participate too.

The finance panel voted to reject the governor’s plan and instead add another $200 million to the existing program that supports career technical training statewide.

Other highlights from the Assembly education budget;

  • Approves in concept the governor's plan to require school districts to provide a “parent friendly budget summary” that links expenditures to corresponding goals and services as outlined in the Local Control Accountability Plans.
  • Approves the governor's proposal to require the California Department of Education to annually post online the amount of supplemental and concentration grant funding awarded through the LCFF.
  • Dedicates $200 million to equalize special education spending between regional service areas.
  • Dedicates $150 million to increased rates for full day kindergarten programs.
  • Provides $76.3 million to cover cost of higher minimum wage for after school programs.
  • Approves the governor’s plan to provide $53.8 million to support County Offices of Education statewide in their efforts to oversee districts intervention programs.
  • Provides $50 million in one-time money to help classified school employees become fully certificated teachers.

Meanwhile, the education finance subcommittee in the Senate also offered additional spending above the governor’s May plan:

  • $1.1 billion increase to the base funding level for the Local Control Funding Formula.
  • $150 million block grant targeted specifically for low performing students.
  • $50 million for campus safety prioritization.

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