From Dr. Edgar Zazueta, incoming ACSA Executive Director:
Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to demonstrate his commitment to public school students and school funding stability. His revised budget proposal features $128.3 billion in Proposition 98 funding for K-12 education, bringing average per pupil spending to a record $16,991, a much-needed boost for public school students and schools that are still recovering from disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soaring fixed costs, caused in part by high inflation over 8 percent, have added even more stress to schools. The new cost of living adjustment (COLA) proposal of 6.56 percent, which Newsom said is the largest COLA in the history of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), is an increase over the 5.33 percent of his January proposal and further reflects the administration’s awareness of the difficulties schools are facing. An additional per-pupil $8 billion discretionary block grant gives districts the chance to commit more dollars to facilities and other needs.
In addition to the historic COLA, the revised proposal includes an additional $2.1 billion in ongoing Prop. 98 funds to increase LCFF base funding. We are pleased to see this investment, but urge the administration to go further as the legislature is proposing LCFF base increases are significantly larger.
ACSA appreciates Newsom’s inclusion of the COVID attendance relief proposal. Schools around the state are seeing unusually high absence rates due to the pandemic. This is an important proposal to ensure schools have fiscal stability and can focus on meeting student needs. The governor also recognized the dire needs of school facilities and has proposed $3.9 billion for modernization and new construction as Prop. 51 facilities bonds are exhausted.
ACSA is pleased to see so many of our priorities reflected in the administration’s revised budget proposal, but there is still more work to do. ACSA will continue working with Newsom administration and the legislature as they negotiate the final budget to be adopted in June, and advocate to ensure that the needs of public school students and schools are represented.