The Education Trust–West Response to the Final 2017-18 California State Budget
Today, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 California state budget. Total funding for Proposition 98 for public schools and community colleges will increase from $71.4 billion in 2016-17 to $74.5 billion in 2017-18.
The major education provisions include a $1.4 billion increase in the allocation for the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing the formula to 97 percent of full implementation. Local educational agencies will receive $877 million in one-time funds to be used for discretionary purposes and this funding will be counted as repayment for any unpaid claims for mandate reimbursement. Some Local Education Agencies may choose to use this funding to implement new content standards through efforts such as teacher training, new instructional materials, and technology.
The budget also provides $25 million to expand access to the Classified Employee Teacher Credential Program, $5 million to establish a Bilingual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Program, and $11.3 million through the redirection of federal Title II funds for recruitment and retention of effective educators and school leaders.
Other K-12 Highlights:
The California Department of Education will receive $2.5 million to establish an Equity Performance and Improvement Program to work with local educational agencies to improve educational equity.
The After School Education and Safety Program will receive an additional $50 million in ongoing funds from Proposition 98, continuing this program’s work on after school education and enrichment.
Higher Education Highlights:
The Full-Time Student Success Program, which provides financial assistance to community college students, will receive a $25 million increase to expand grant awards to students.
The new California Community College Completion Grant Program received $25 million. This new program provides grants up to $2,000 for community college students in financial need, who enroll in 15 credit units or more per semester and complete an educational plan, among other criteria.
The Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) and the maximum Cal Grant award of $9,084 for students attending private, nonprofit and WASC-accredited colleges and universities will be maintained. In the initial proposed budget, the Governor had proposed to phase out the MCS and reduce funding for Cal Grant awards to students in private, nonprofit colleges and universities.
The Education Trust-West Executive Director, Ryan J. Smith released the following statement in response to Governor Brown signing the 2017-18 California State Budget:
“The Education Trust–West appreciates Governor Brown and the Legislature enacting a budget that puts more dollars into education. Fully funding LCFF is one of the most important things we can do to close opportunity and achievement gaps. This budget provides an increase of over $1 billion for LCFF and brings us to 97 percent of full LCFF implementation. Now we need Governor Brown and the Legislature to enact Assembly Bill 1321 (Weber) so that every community can see where the dollars are being used.
Along with funding LCFF, improving access to effective teachers is critical to closing opportunity and achievement gaps. This budget invests in teacher recruitment through a combination of expansion of existing preparation programs and training of bilingual teachers and paraprofessionals. In addition to tackling the teacher shortage, the budget provides $2.5 million to the Department of Education to create an Equity Performance and Improvement Program and address many of the issues we raised in our report, Black Minds Matter. We appreciate the leadership of the California Legislative Black Caucus for encouraging the establishment of this important equity effort.
Finally, low-income students will have an easier time paying for college due to increases in the award amount to community college students in the Full-Time Student Success Program, and the decision to maintain the maximum Cal Grant award for students attending private, nonprofit colleges and universities. Low-income community college students will also benefit from the new California Community College Completion Grant program, which provides extra financial support for students attending community college full time. The Middle Class Scholarship will also be maintained for students attending the California State University and the University of California. The importance of increasing access to California colleges and universities for students of color and low-income students cannot be overstated. We are pleased to see this budget making steps in that direction. All of this is good news for low-income students and students of color.”