Record Funding For TK-12 Education
The new school year is here! As a father of two and Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I'm happy to report the days of California's low ranking for public education spending are over. Our latest state budget boosts TK-12 funding by a record 15%, propelling us into the top 15 nationwide for per-pupil spending - now nearing $23,000. As recently as 2011, we were 50th, spending less than $9,000 on a per-student basis.
Among the other highlights in this year's budget:
- Learning Recovery: Nearly $8 billion in emergency block grants to help students catch up academically and emotionally with tutoring, mental health support, literacy intervention and other recovery services
- School Infrastructure: $4.2 billion for new construction of school facilities through 2025
- Expanded Opportunities For Academic Success: $4 billion annually to add three hours of after-school programs and six weeks of summer enrichment; $3.6 billion for art, music, and instructional materials, as well as multi-lingual library books; $2 billion to retain/train more teachers and aides to staff longer days/smaller class sizes; $700 million for career and college readiness initiatives
- Universal School Meals: $600 million to upgrade school kitchens; $100 million for California's free school meals program to purchase sustainably grown, healthy foods; and starting this school year, California also becomes the first state to offer free breakfast and lunch to all public school children
- Transitional Kindergarten: $600 million to expand transitional kindergarten, allowing children turning five-years-old between September 2 and February 2 to enroll; the cutoff was previously December 2
We've also protected school districts seeing enrollment declines by calculating their funding using the average daily attendance over the prior three years. This ensures their budgets don't see sudden decreases.
This state budget is truly transformative for public education, and I'm proud of my role in crafting it. Watch out for another eAlert showcasing our higher education investments.