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News Update

Governor’s budget request to include increased Covid testing, addressing teacher shortage

Ahead of Governor Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal Monday, members of his administration announced that it will include a $2.7 billion emergency response package, as well “continued investments” in addressing the state’s ongoing teacher shortage.

The emergency response package — around $1.4 billion of which is requested for the current fiscal year — includes $1.2 billion to bolster testing at schools, county offices of education, community health clinics and local health departments. It also includes $583 million for initiatives to boost vaccinations and combat misinformation and disinformation by anti-vaccine groups.

Newsom administration members didn’t provide details on the governor’s plans to address the teacher shortage — the effects of which have been devastating to districts trying to keep schools open after winter break amid the Omicron surge. However, they did say his proposal will build off of current initiatives. The state’s spending plan for the current fiscal year includes $2.8 billion for programs to attract, retain and train educators. Specifically,  $1.5 billion is budgeted for the Educator Effectiveness Block Grant over five years for staff professional development. And $1.3 billion is budgeted for other programs including expanding teacher residencies, awarding Golden State Teacher grants for teacher credential candidates who commit to teaching at a low-income school for four years, and funding for classified employees to become credentialed teachers.

The governor’s budget proposal won’t tie a specific dollar dollar amount to providing more N95 and KN95 masks to schools, despite pleas by teachers and students for more of them. However, over the past few days the state has begun making its inventory of adult-sized N95 masks available to counties to distribute to schools and other institutions.