Photo by Julie Leopo / EdSource

With crossed fingers, the Legislature passed and sent a 2020-21 state budget to Gov. Gavin Newsom that will rely on $14 billion in additional congressional coronavirus relief to avert cuts to early and higher education. State funding for K-12 schools will be the same as last year, although school districts and charter schools will have to wait for a year to be repaid for $11 billion in funding.

The sudden onset of the coronavirus created havoc with the state’s economy, opening up a $54 billion budget gap of higher expenses and plunging revenues since Newsom presented his initial budget in January.

The Legislature approved the final, balanced budget along party lines — 29-11 in the Senate and 57-16 in the Assembly — with Republicans criticizing the reliance on borrowing and an extensive use of the state’s rainy day fund.

Following are the highlights in the budget for education.

Prop. 98 funding will fall from $81.5 in 2019-20 to $70.5 billion next year.

Increases for K-12

  • $11 billion in deferrals (money appropriated but not funded until a year later) will make up the difference. If Congress provides $14 billion to California through the proposed HEROES Act, deferrals and some additional cuts will be reversed.
  • $6.3 billion, primarily federal CARES Act funding to address coronavirus needs and learning loss, must be spent by Dec. 31.
    • $2.9 billion to districts for learning loss, distributed to districts based on numbers of low-income students, English learners, foster youth and homeless youth.
    • $1.5 billion to districts for learning loss distributed based on numbers of special education students.
    • $1.4 billion to districts based on federal Title I formula.
    • $980 million to districts based on Local Control Funding Formula.
  • $2.3 billion in funding relief to pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS over 2 years.
  • $645 million more for special education, including $545 million to equalize funding.
  • $100 million proposed cuts restored for after-school programs critical for low-income working parents.

Other K-12 changes

  • No layoffs in 2020-21 for teachers and classified employees who provide custodial, nutrition and transportation services.
  • Per-student funding will be guaranteed at 2019-20 rates before the onset of COVID-19. Additional funding for districts and charter schools with enrollment growth may be dealt with at future date. To be paid districts must fully:
    • Offer a full year of instruction (180 days for districts, 175 for charters).
    • Document daily student participation and communicate with parents for students not participating a minimum of three days per week.
  • California schools will continue to provide 180 days of instruction per year (175 days for charter schools). Instructional minutes will be reduced to a minimum 240 minutes per day for grades 4-12 (180 minutes for kindergarten, 230 minutes for grades 1 to 3) in an effort to offer teachers more flexibility during distance learning (see section 43501 of AB-77).
  • If permitted by the local health agency, districts must provide some form of in-school instruction (see sections 43502 and 43503 of AB 77).
  • In lieu of a full Local Control Accountability Plan, by Sept. 30 districts must do a Learning Continuity and Attendance plan describing how they will respond to the impact of the coronavirus on in-school and district learning, learning loss and students’ mental health (see section 43509 of AB 77).

Community colleges

  • Spending levels will be maintained — $1.45 billion in funding to colleges will be deferred; $791 million of deferrals will be rescinded if the federal government provides additional stimulus aid.
  • Calbright College, the system’s online college, survived calls for elimination. Instead, it will lose $5 million of $20 million in ongoing funds and $40 million from the $117 million in unspent one-time funds.

In response to reports of uneven access and low-quality distance learning during school closures, legislators will require districts to do the following (see section 43502 of AB-77):

  • Confirm that all students have access to a computer and internet at home in order to participate in distance learning.
  • Provide standards-aligned content and instruction.
  • Provide daily live interaction with students “for the purposes of instruction, progress monitoring and maintaining school connectedness”.
  • Maintain regular communication with parents on student progress.
  • Establish procedures to re-engage students who are absent for more than 60% of instruction per week.
  • Provide academic supports for English learners, students with disabilities, foster youth, homeless students and students who have fallen behind in their academic progress.
  • Continue special education services.

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  1. Chrissy M Adams 16 hours ago16 hours ago

    “…the Legislature is urging school districts to reduce or eliminate their police expenditures and invest more in counseling, restorative justice, social workers and other services…” So how long do students and employees at the school need to wait for police to show up if there is an emergency at our school? I cannot believe how our safety is the least of your concerns.

  2. German Cuervo 1 week ago1 week ago

    Nowhere is the dual immersion program mentioned when it comes to remote learning. I want to know it my daughter will have the option to remote learn under the dual program.

  3. Niladri Mantena 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    There are long, intertwined, sentences in this article that are quite confusing even to an educated reader. There are technology tools like Excel that can be used to create a spreadsheet version of this article with column headings and row content showing the numbers. I wish the author had adapted the technology tool to make it clear to all.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

      Thank you for the suggestion.

  4. Pam Ragland 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    No cuts??? Are you kidding me? Only trying to completely choke off all the funding to the homeschool charters that parents are choosing. They’re choosing those schools for a reason and CTA needs to butt out and stop trying to harm the kids for their own benefit. This is not about the funding since the state takes 61%, not charters. This is pure and simple about CTA trying to advance itself and angry that … Read More

    No cuts??? Are you kidding me? Only trying to completely choke off all the funding to the homeschool charters that parents are choosing. They’re choosing those schools for a reason and CTA needs to butt out and stop trying to harm the kids for their own benefit. This is not about the funding since the state takes 61%, not charters. This is pure and simple about CTA trying to advance itself and angry that not all charter schools are CTA members.

    Those are massive cuts and it’s unacceptable.

  5. Carol Butcher 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    I believe you also need to address the issue of staff sick leave if they contract Covid. Teachers only have 10 days sick leave so if the safety processes don’t adequately work, the teachers will be forced to pay for their sub after the 10 days and that should be addressed as essential workers.

    Replies

    • Kimmy benson 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

      Our teachers union rep has forcefully said that teachers are not essential workers. Is this true?