Gov. Jerry Brown signed the $183 billion state budget on Tuesday, after announcing he had reached an agreement on the details with legislative leaders earlier this month.
“California is taking decisive action by enacting a balanced state budget,” Brown said. “This budget provides money to repair our roads and bridges, pay down debt, invest in schools, fund the earned income tax credit and provide Medi-Cal health care for millions of Californians.”
The 2017-18 budget allocates more money to K-12 schools and community colleges, expected to increase by $3.1 billion over the 2016-17 level to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will include $1.4 million more for the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing its full implementation to 97 percent complete.
Higher education including the University of California and California State University systems will receive $14.5 billion in General Fund money, with new funding to expand access to public institutions for California students and the creation of “guided pathways” that will enable students to earn degrees or credentials, while keeping attendance costs low.
A Full-Time Student Success Program will receive a $25 million increase to expand grant awards to community college students. And a new California Community College Completion Grant Program will receive $25 million to provide grants of up to $2,000 for community college students in need of financial aid who enroll in 15 units or more per semester and meet other criteria, including the completion of an educational plan.
The Middle Class Scholarship and maximum Cal Grant award of $9,084 for students attending private, nonprofit and accredited colleges and universities will be maintained, after the governor initially proposed to phase out the middle class scholarship and reduce Cal Grant awards to students in private, nonprofit colleges and universities.
The budget also requires the University of California to implement cost structure reforms to ensure the system is sustainable into the future, in part based on a critical audit of the office of the president.
Teacher training funding includes $25 million to expand a Classified Employee Teacher Credential Program that will provide grants to support recruiting of non-certificated school employees to participate in teacher preparation leading to becoming certificated public school teachers; $5 million to create a Bilingual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Program that will provide competitive grants to support training for teachers and instructional assistants who want to provide bilingual instruction in multilingual classrooms; and $11.3 million earmarked for a California Educator Development Program that will provide one-time competitive grants to assist schools and districts in recruiting and providing ongoing training for educators and school leaders in high-need subjects and schools through the redirection of federal Title II funds, which were originally earmarked for preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers and principals.
The budget also increases child care provider reimbursement rate ceilings, due to the state minimum wage increase. In addition, it increases child care eligibility by establishing that a family determined to be eligible for state-subsidized child care and development programs remains eligible for 12 months, regardless of a change in need or income, unless income exceeds 85 percent of the state median income.
Finally, the budget includes a $7.9 million increase to provide access for an additional 2,959 children from low-income families to full-day state preschool starting March 1, 2018.
Complete budget documents are available here.