Greetings from Californians Together!
On Tuesday, January 10, Governor Newsom presented his proposed 2023-24 state budget that includes a $297 billion spending plan and an expected $22.5 billion shortfall. The overall budget theme was categorized by budget shifts (that is shifting funding from one source to another), and delayed implementation and/or reduction of programs. As a big picture, it included $7.1 billion in delayed spending, $2.6 billion in spending reductions, and $4.3 billion in budget shifts. As we had seen in previous budgets, many of the commitments were one-time spending so that in case of a budget shortfall like what is projected, these commitments could be reassessed. All of this to say, the May Revision will paint a clear picture of how much funding is to be allocated to specific programs and if there will be further cuts needed.
We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to education, specifically the $300 million ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to establish an equity multiplier as an add-on to the LCFF to focus on closing opportunity gaps. However, we are concerned that without a requirement to set goals to close achievement gaps within district plans, the funding will not have the desired impact. We applaud the continued dedication to the educator workforce and would highlight the need for targeted funding for bilingual teacher preparation programs. It is for this reason that Californians Together is exploring legislation that would require districts to set goals for closing opportunity gaps in their LCAPs and continue to support the reauthorization of the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP).
With a limited budget on the horizon, we will continue to fight for our English learners and ensure that budget cuts don’t widen the already existing academic and opportunity gaps. We will highlight the need to protect and expand proven approaches to educator professional learning, like the Educator Workforce Investment Grants.
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