Greetings from Californians Together!
The June 15th constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass the budget has come and gone, from that point forward, the Governor has 12 days to sign the budget bill. It is worth noting that the Governor has the power to “line item” veto items of the budget trailer bill should he want to eliminate or reduce any given spending. It is also important to note that negotiations on many topics, typically the most controversial ones, are still happening and the Governor does not sign the budget until a final deal is met. On the night of June 26th the Assembly, Senate and Governor announced that they had reached a deal. The Governor and the Legislature agreed that budget reserves need to be maintained due to significant uncertainties about the economy and tax revenues to be paid by California’s high-income tax filers in October; total reserves are estimated to be $37.8 billion with a $310 billion spending plan. Given the late filers and the budget deficit that the state faces, this budget also includes language that allows for the Governor, with notification to the legislature, to delay one-time spending proposals before March 1, 2024. This was a well-balanced budget that included big changes, some great wins for California’s English learners and others that we have concerns with.
TOP WINS – We were excited for the inclusion of a $20 million one-time appropriation for the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program, we’re especially grateful for our budget champion Asm. Majority Leader Reyes and to our co-sponsor the California Association for Bilingual Education. This will make a significant impact toward California’s efforts to ensure there is an adequate supply of bilingual educators to serve our students and address this component of the teacher shortage. The budget plan also includes $5 million one-time appropriation for a three-year period, with expenditure authority through June 30, 2026, for the Opportunities For Youth program, serving Undocumented, Unaccompanied Minors (UUM).
Below are a few items we would like to highlight:
Local Control Funding Formula and Accountability
- Provides an increase of $3.4 billion in Proposition 98 funding for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), reflecting Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) enrollment and an 8.22% percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2023-24. Total Budget Year LCFF is estimated at $79.8 billion.
- Authorizes a new, ongoing $300 million LCFF equity multiplier and LCAP accountability system changes to target low-performing student groups. Provides $2 million for an associated System of Support proposal.
- Requires local educational agencies that have the lowest performing pupil subgroups to provide specific actions to address these pupil subgroups.
- To address and reduce disparities in opportunities and outcomes between pupil groups indicated by the California School Dashboard.
- Focused goals for all pupil groups that have the lowest performance level on one or more state indicators on the California School Dashboard pursuant to Section 52064.5.
- Requires Long-term English learners to be reported as a separate student group in addition to English learners for accountability purposes.
- Requires local educational agencies with schools receiving equity multiplier funds to provide focused goals.
- Establishes equity leads in the statewide system of support.
- Equity leads are to be chosen on a competitive basis to work collaboratively with California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, the Department of Education, and other lead agencies in the system of support to advance the purpose of the statewide system of support.
- Among their many duties, equity leads are to develop and disseminate resources on effective practices for analyzing programs, identifying barriers and opportunities, and implementing actions and services to meet the identified needs of all pupils, including by addressing racial disparities.
- Requires a mid-year update on the local control and accountability plan on the progress at a public meeting.
- Provides additional assistance to local educational agencies that are unable to submit data to CALPADS.
- Provides an additional opportunity for struggling school districts to work with county offices of education that are geographic leads to improve pupil outcomes.
- Requires local educational agencies to include information about the technical assistance it receives on its local control and accountability plan, as applicable.
- Provides $762 million to expand Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) access including:
- $597 million General Fund to “rebench” the Proposition 98 guarantee for an estimated 42,000 new universal TK enrollments in 2023-24.
- $165 million Proposition 98 to maintain decreased UTK ratios at 1:12, adults to children. Adopts a 1:10 ratio beginning 2025-26.
- Allows early Transitional Kindergarten enrollment at 1:10 ratio, in the Budget Year.
- Sunrises UTK increased lead teacher quality standards in 2025-26.
- Maintains the state’s 2025-26 goal for full UTK implementation.
- Includes a total of $1.4 billion to supplement reimbursement rates for all subsidized child care providers, inclusive of ongoing collective bargaining between the state and Child Care Providers United.
- Enacts permanent family fee reform beginning October 1, 2023. Under the new family fee structure, families below 75 percent of state median income will pay no fee for subsidized child care, and families at or above 75 percent state median income will pay fees capped at one percent of monthly income. Allows family fees accrued but uncollected prior to October 1, 2023 to be forgiven. Appropriates $56 million from the General Fund to the Department of Social Services to reimburse child care providers for family fees waived or reduced.
TK-12 Public Education
- Increases the projected Proposition 98 “Rainy Day” fund (PSSSA) to $10.829 billion through the Budget year. The current Rainy Day fund balance continues to trigger the statutory 10% cap on local school district reserves, and would reach the state constitutional cap.
- Reduces the one-time surplus available for the Arts, Music, and Instruction Materials Block Grant by $200 million.
- Delays $1.2 billion of the one-time surplus available in the current year for the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant, for planned restoration over the 2024-25, 2025- 26, and 2026-27 fiscal years.
- $250 million one-time Proposition 98 funding for Literacy Coaches.
- $1 million one-time General Fund for a state Literacy Roadmap.
- Screening for Reading Difficulties – $1 million for reading screening assessments and new mandate. Requires an expert panel to approve a list of screening instruments to assess pupils in kindergarten through second grade for risk of reading difficulties, and appropriates $1 million for this purpose. Requires local educational agencies serving pupils in kindergarten through second grade to screen pupils for risk of reading difficulties using the instruments they will adopt from the approved list beginning no later than the 2025-26 school year. Here are our thoughts on the final trailer bill language regarding screening for reading difficulties:
- We appreciate the opportunity to engage in dialogue around screening for reading difficulties and what this means for English learners. We must note that the final language reflected on Chapter 15.5 of AB/SB 114 falls short of providing the appropriate safeguards to prevent overidentification and/ or unintended consequences of the state’s 340,000 English learners in grades K-2.
- We do appreciate the updated language making the selection of the panel of experts and their meetings subject to Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act. This means that all the meetings will be open to the public. We are excited to have English learner representation on the panel and look forward to working with the State Board of Education.
- Increases the CalNEW program with $1.9 million in on-going Proposition 98 funding which provides support services to newcomer students, English learners, and immigrant families.