Photo: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures toward a chart showing the growth of the state's rainy day fund as he discusses his proposed 2020-2021 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento, on Jan. 10, 2020.
The article was updated Jan. 12 with more details about the allocation to the Local Control Funding Formula.

Anticipating nearly $4 billion more in revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the next state budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday proposed to continue massive investments for teacher recruitment and training and for transforming special education.

He also proposed spending hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to improve performance in the lowest-performing districts and to expand community schools, which address the physical and mental health of students through partnerships with community services.

Total funding for K-12 and community colleges through Proposition 98, the formula that determines the minimum state education funding, would increase $496 per student to $12,600 in 2020-21. That record amount — 80 percent more per student than at the low point following the Great Recession nine years ago — shows significant improvement, he said. Using a football metaphor, he said there is more work to be done. “None of us are spiking the ball,” he said.

 

Newsom devoted the first 45 minutes of his press conference — a daunting three-hour tour de force in budget details — to early-through-higher education, signaling that education will remain a priority of his administration.

He said he will establish a new Department of Early Childhood Development to help implement the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care. He said he remains committed to providing state-subsidized preschool for all low-income 4-year-olds by the end of next year, and, if the Legislature agrees, will add 10,000 more full-time preschool slots this year.

His budget would also add more funding for building and renovating more preschool classrooms on school sites. He also proposes expanding job protections for employees at small businesses, so they can take paid family leave to care for a newborn or a sick family member.

Newsom proposes giving $83.2 million to community colleges to create and develop apprenticeship programs.

The budget would fund $17 million toward a project to put students in the Fresno region on a path through college and into careers such as teaching, nursing and accounting. The program, called the Fresno Integrated K-16 Education Collaborative, is part of a larger $50 million investment to improve economic mobility in the Fresno area and could be a model for other regions, he said.

Other proposed community college investments include $15 million to improve faculty diversity and $11.4 million to establish and support food pantries on campuses.

Newsom proposed 5 percent increases each for the basic operating budgets for the 10-campus University of California and the 23-campus California State University. That would amount to $217.7 million more than last year for UC and $199 million more for CSU. Those were less than half of what the two universities were seeking, but Newsom noted that the increases would total more than 12 percent over two years if his plan is approved. He said that was “not too bad” and would be the largest amount over “any 24 months” in recent memory.

Number 1 priority: attention to the teacher workforce

With fewer college students pursuing teaching careers following post-recession teacher layoffs in most regions of the state, severe shortages have left districts — particularly in rural and low-income areas — without fully credentialed teachers in special education, bilingual education and the STEM fields of math and science. Former Gov. Jerry Brown initiated investments in teacher residency programs, in which veteran teachers take new teachers under their wing for at least a year, and a program to pay hourly classified workers, such as teachers’ aides, to earn a college degree and teaching credential.

Newsom would double down on those efforts and build on an investment last year to pay a $20,000 stipend to cover college and a credential for students willing to teach in a high-demand subject in high-needs schools. The $100 million investment would fund 5,000 new teachers.

Newsom singled out Linda Darling-Hammond, an emeritus professor of education at Stanford University whom he appointed president of the State Board of Education last year, for her guidance on teacher development and district improvement. Brown also had turned to her for advice.

High-achieving Massachusetts and New Jersey, which has shown marked academic improvement, implemented what Newsom called “a steady focus on the basics. None more important than investing in our teachers and that’s why this year we are addressing the teacher issue in a way we haven’t in the past.”

In a statement on Friday, Darling-Hammond was effusive in return.

“I applaud Governor Newsom’s K-12 education budget proposal and am especially excited to see expanded investments in the quality of classroom teaching, particularly in the critical areas of math, science, special education and bilingual education,” she said. “Our state cannot close achievement gaps in student learning without first closing quality gaps in classroom instruction caused by California’s teacher shortage. Some students spend the year in classrooms staffed by highly trained, highly prepared teachers. But many others do not.”

John Affeldt, managing attorney for the San Francisco-based nonprofit law firm Public Advocates, also praised the workforce proposal. “Since we filed the Williams v. California case challenging, among other things, the state’s unconscionable number of underprepared teachers in high need schools, we have waited 20 years to see a governor make such a serious and robust investment in teacher quality for our neediest students,” he said in a statement.

Newsom said a goal of the teacher recruitment efforts will be a diverse workforce, since research shows that having “a teacher that looks like you”  is “incredibly important as it relates to particularly African-American achievement.”

Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of the Education Trust-West, a student advocacy nonprofit, commended Newsom for making it “clear that a strong teacher workforce is crucial for improving racial disparities in our schools.” But she added, the challenge is also teacher retention. “We hope that these initial investments are just the beginning of a much larger conversation about retaining teachers of color,” which is important for all students.

Spending breakdown

Newsom is proposing to spend the $3.8 billion in increased K-12 funding as follows:

  • $1.2 billion to increase ongoing funding for the Local Control Funding Formula, the main source of school spending. That’s only a 2 percent increase — less than in past years when former Gov. Brown made the funding formula his top priority. However, the second year of pension relief of about $400 million and increased funding for special education (see below) will free up additional money for districts to spend as they choose;
  • $900 million in staff development including:
    • $350 million in competitive grants to districts for teacher training in mental health intervention, special education practices, English learner supports, anti-bullying efforts and STEM development;
    • $193 million in grants to address staff shortages in high-need subjects;
    • $175 million for teacher residencies;
    • $100 million for college stipends for prospective teachers who commit to teaching for 4 years in high-need subjects;
    • $64 million in stipends for classified workers to become teachers;
    • $18 million to bolster staffing and work of the California Commission on Educational Excellence;
  • $900 million in increased funding for special education, including
    • $645 million toward a 3-year shift in the base funding formula;
    • $255 million to identify disabilities of children ages 3 to 5;
    • $4 million for dyslexia research, training and a statewide conference;
    • $1 million for two studies, into the current governing structure of regional agencies called SELPAs and into the delivery of special ed services;
  • $300 million to improve the lowest-performing districts. This may involve the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, a small school improvement agency whose budget would see an $18 million increase;
  • $300 million to expand community schools, including money to increase parent engagement and offer after-school programs as well has health services;
  • $70 million in additional state funding for the federal meals program, including a farm-to-table fresh fruit and vegetables program to make student meals more nutritious — an area of particular interest to the first lady, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Newsom’s budget includes funding for several programs designed to help homeless children, whose numbers have been steadily increasing as California’s housing crisis worsens. Last year, California schools had 207,677 homeless students, a 23 percent jump from four years ago.

The budget sets aside $750 million in housing subsidies — new units as well as rental assistance — for families who are at risk of losing their homes or are already homeless. It also includes an expansion to Medi-Cal that would connect low-income families with housing services. The funding follows $1 billion in homeless services from the 2019 budget, which included several programs that help families find and keep stable housing.

EdSource reporters Zaidee Stavely, Michael Burke,  Larry Gordon and Carolyn Jones contributed to this article.

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  1. Shirley Watkins 9 months ago9 months ago

    I’d love to see our state helping to fund students to become teachers. I was a single mom and my son graduated with his BA, but has $30k in student loans. Now he can’t afford to get a teaching credential because he doesn’t want to incur additional loans.

  2. KC 10 months ago10 months ago

    Teachers can have all the training they need, but no real gains will happen when they have to teach 30 plus students in classes. MA has under 25 students across all elementary grades.

  3. Chuck Pappalardo 10 months ago10 months ago

    Excellent article. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Fensterwald and EdSource. As a citizen and taxpayer I’m hoping this is just a beginning in additional funding for K-12 and teacher training and support etc. after all the amounts don’t seem enough after spreading it over some 330 school districts to make lasting improvements. As I read the article and studied the areas gaining additional funds, it seems one possible mistake our generation might be … Read More

    Excellent article. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Fensterwald and EdSource. As a citizen and taxpayer I’m hoping this is just a beginning in additional funding for K-12 and teacher training and support etc. after all the amounts don’t seem enough after spreading it over some 330 school districts to make lasting improvements.

    As I read the article and studied the areas gaining additional funds, it seems one possible mistake our generation might be creating is such an overarching urgency regarding STEM training that we’ve lost impressing upon today’s child human and citizen development, civics, philosophy, history and arts which could go a long way toward giving each child some ability to critically deduce how and why humanity has worked together in the past and might in the future in order to bring about improvements in our overall society. After all in the end isn’t that what our goal is? Thank you EdSource. I appreciate your excellence in reporting.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 10 months ago10 months ago

      Thank you for your comment and kind words, Mr. Pappalardo. We'll be waiting for a more detailed explanation in the budget "trailer bill" later this month on how the administration proposes to spend the $300 million in "opportunity grants" for the 330 districts designated for needing support and the schools, many within the same districts, that need intensive help. There is no money earmarked for the arts or civics specifically in the budget, always a … Read More

      Thank you for your comment and kind words, Mr. Pappalardo. We’ll be waiting for a more detailed explanation in the budget “trailer bill” later this month on how the administration proposes to spend the $300 million in “opportunity grants” for the 330 districts designated for needing support and the schools, many within the same districts, that need intensive help. There is no money earmarked for the arts or civics specifically in the budget, always a disappointment; the $15 million for STEM would enable approximately 10,000 teachers to earn a supplementary credential to teach computer science.

  4. Rebecca Chandler 10 months ago10 months ago

    K12 CTE Career Technical Education is in dire need of stable funding from the governor. We have had competitive grant funding but it decreases every year and we cannot bank on what money we will have each year. This is not a stable way to build programs.

  5. Dr. Bill Conrad 10 months ago10 months ago

    OMG! Why hath though forsaken me? I am a heretic in the church of K-12 education where unexamined dogma reigns supreme! Funneling additional unaccountable funds to school districts has not and will not move the needle on the improvement and alignment of professional practices and student achievement. Just look at the San Jose Unified eclectic LCAP. I challenge you to read through this 250 page edu-babble document. The money only amplifies the chaos of the … Read More

    OMG! Why hath though forsaken me?

    I am a heretic in the church of K-12 education where unexamined dogma reigns supreme!

    Funneling additional unaccountable funds to school districts has not and will not move the needle on the improvement and alignment of professional practices and student achievement. Just look at the San Jose Unified eclectic LCAP. I challenge you to read through this 250 page edu-babble document. The money only amplifies the chaos of the system and channels money to the greedy adults of the K-12 organized crime network.

    One need only look at the student achievement data to see the folly of this failed theory of action. Half of third graders are unable to read at the end of the year with performance even worse for children of color, economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, homeless, foster youth, and LGBTQ students.

    As SD parent so eloquently states, high caliber students elect to try their hand at real professions like law, medicince, science, or business before they sink to selecting teaching as their second or third choice. The fact that the state has to comb the buildings for custodians to take on teaching is testimony to the impotency of the teaching “profession.”

    Why do high caliber students eschew the teaching profession? One need look no further than the laughable colleges of education. All quality students know that these institutions are “color in the lines” play schools. Having a pulse will get you an A grade! Everyone knows this!

    And where is the funding to truly transform these T-ball enterprises in California? Until there is a radical transformation of the colleges of mis-education, we will be never improve adult performance and consequentially student achievement.

    I must admit that I was an acolyte of this system. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa. My penance will be to work directly with the children to help them rise up as they are in the areas of gun control and global climate change to address the real crisis in their midst – the abject failure of the K-12 education system. The current organized crime network is designed to move resources and power to the adults at the expense of our children and families.

    I currently am building a community radio station program on KCXU-LP 92.7 FM community radio in San Jose to give voice to the children about key issues and problems that they face. The program is called Student Voice in San Jose. Hopefully the children will rise up. Visit the web site at kcxu.org. We are teaching the children how to plan, implement, and evaluate high quality radio shows and podcasts.

    Enough is Never Enough for our unaccountable K-12 Education School System. Time for the children to resist and reform the system as self-satisfied and selfish adults never will.

    Power to the Children as it is our only hope at this point.

    Replies

    • Rocky 10 months ago10 months ago

      Greetings Dr. Conrad, I too am a heretic! I reject the failed dogma of Most Holy Local Control, in which over 1,000 local districts flail about as if each is reinventing the wheel, ignorant of what works elsewhere, powerless in the face of the self-serving demands of unions and self-appointed entitled parents, burdened with some of the most challenging responsibilities of any organizations in our state, and typically governed by elected leadership that lacks expertise … Read More

      Greetings Dr. Conrad, I too am a heretic! I reject the failed dogma of Most Holy Local Control, in which over 1,000 local districts flail about as if each is reinventing the wheel, ignorant of what works elsewhere, powerless in the face of the self-serving demands of unions and self-appointed entitled parents, burdened with some of the most challenging responsibilities of any organizations in our state, and typically governed by elected leadership that lacks expertise both in organizational leadership and in education success.

      Over 1,000 superintendents. Over 5,000 trustees. What on earth makes California think that those 6,000 positions are going to be filled by highly competent, principled, effective leaders? When most of the local electorate, at any given time, doesn’t have kids in public schools and has little knowledge of current issues, and pays little attention to down-ballot race like school board? With districts carved out into regions of high poverty and high educational needs, and other areas of high wealth and resources?

      Yes, I forsake thee, Local Control, and I commit my soul to the gospel of Strong State Management with limited local control over issues that are of purely local interest, like what color to paint the schools. I will surely burn for my sins!

  6. SD Parent 10 months ago10 months ago

    If the state really wants to improve the outcomes of K-12 students using stipends for teacher preparation programs, it should offer the stipends to the best and brightest high school graduates interested in the teaching profession – particularly students who have an aptitude for and interest in math, science, or a needed second language – rather than people who happen to be currently employed by school districts in a low-wage position. Furthermore, these stipends … Read More

    If the state really wants to improve the outcomes of K-12 students using stipends for teacher preparation programs, it should offer the stipends to the best and brightest high school graduates interested in the teaching profession – particularly students who have an aptitude for and interest in math, science, or a needed second language – rather than people who happen to be currently employed by school districts in a low-wage position.

    Furthermore, these stipends should be structured as loans with a conversion to grants only for those who pass teacher credentialing tests and spend at least a certain number of years (perhaps 5?) in the teaching profession. The rest should pay the stipends back so that other bright students can have the opportunity to have their teacher preparation costs subsidized.