Newsom’s Budget Would Increase Education Spending, Freeze College Tuition, and Boost Early Childhood Programs
Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a record $80.7 billion in new education spending as part of his $209 billion budget proposed Thursday. If passed, the governor’s plan would also put an additional $2.9 billion into the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) over four years, reducing school districts’ liabilities and freeing up much needed funds.
Edgar Zuzueta, senior director of governmental relations and policy for the Association of California School Administrators, told EdSource that the blueprint far exceeded his expectations. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner expressed hope that the plan could help mend the rift between his district and the teachers’ union, although its mere prospect was not enough to prevent a teachers’ strike on Monday.
Bruce Fuller, professor of education and public policy at UC Berkeley, was no less generous with his words.
“I’ve been working in this field for 40 years now. I’ve never seen a governor with this grasp of the evidence, the evidence being that if we can intervene early on in the lives of infants, toddlers and preschoolers, we can begin to narrow some of these terrible disparities that persist.”
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said the governor “hit a home run.”
Here are some other noteworthy highlights from the governor’s budget proposal:
- $576 million in new special education spending
- $1.4 billion for higher education, including a $275 million increase for the University of California, $456 million for California State University, and $402 million in new funding for the state’s 115 community colleges
- $10 million to create a statewide database to track student performance from kindergarten through college and beyond
- A record $1.8 billion for early learning and early childhood programs, including state-subsidized preschool for low-income 4-year-olds over the next three years
- Free community college tuition for two years instead of one, plus a tuition freeze
A copy and summary of the governor’s budget proposal is available here.