California Budget Protects Some Equity Investments, Yet Falls Short of What Students of Color Deserve


For Immediate Release
Contact: Mariel Matze, [email protected], 650-380-1973

California Budget Protects Some Equity Investments, Yet Falls Short of What Students of Color Deserve

Oakland, CA — In anticipation of California’s final 2023-2024 state budget, Brian Rivas, Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations at EdTrust-West, issued the following statement:

All in all, this budget deal spares more educational equity investments than it sacrifices. In recent years, California has taken some landmark steps toward equity for students of color and multilingual learners; it’s a relief to see much of that momentum unimpeded. Yet there are glaring omissions in the bill, each of which mean dimmer opportunities for students and families of color and multilingual learners. Anyone sizing up this budget should compare it not to how bad it could have been, but to what the most marginalized students need and deserve. Unfortunately, California still falls short.

We are disappointed to see even a single cut to education, but yet another year without funding for Cal Grant reform stands out. Students are still waiting for the reforms legislators agreed to two years ago, reforms they indicated were a priority last year. Lawmakers’ inability to find a funding solution that centers on equity is unacceptable. We have not forgotten this unfulfilled promise and will continue to fight for it.

Finally, looking toward next year, we’re concerned that lawmakers spared crucial investments this year without eliminating the risk of slashing them next year. Our state and our students deserve new revenue sources for education; any discussion about cuts to our schools and colleges should be a nonstarter.

See The Power of Now: Ed Trust-West’s 2023-24 Policy Agenda for more on EdTrust-West’s policy priorities.

About EdTrust-West

EdTrust-West is an evidence-driven advocacy organization committed to advancing policies and practices to dismantle the racial and economic barriers embedded in California’s education system. For over two decades, EdTrust-West has worked to improve racial equity in education by engaging diverse communities and increasing political and public will to build an education system where students of color and multilingual learners will thrive. For more information, see or follow us on X.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.