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Newsom Proposes Continued K-12 Program Expansions, Large COLA Despite Plummeting State Revenues

Jan 10 2023

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Governor Newsom released a summary of his 2023-24 state budget proposal this morning, proposing to continue massive K-12 program expansions and funding a large cost-of-living adjustment, all despite plummeting state revenues. The Governor’s Budget estimates state revenues are falling $29.5 billion short of levels estimated when the current (2022-23) state budget was adopted, with most of the decline attributable to the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year.

Despite plummeting tax revenues, the governor estimates that total K-14 funding under the state’s constitutional education funding formula declines only slightly. This modest decline, combined with targeted cuts, expiration of one-time prior-year commitments, and declining enrollment frees up an estimated $5.9 billion of additional education spending “room” for 2023-24.

While details are scant as of today, the Governor’s Budget appears to include the following major features of specific interest to charter schools. For more, please plan to join us on Wednesday, January 18 at 1:00PM for the 2023-24 State Budget Webinar Series: Governor's Budget Proposals, where we will provide more detailed information on the budget proposals, legislators’ reactions to it, and CSDC’s analysis. The webinar is free of charge to CSDC School and Authorizer members.

Big Cola: The governor proposes fully-funding a large, 8.13 percent estimated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and some categorical programs, including Special Education, the Charter Facilities Grant Program, and others.

Full Speed Ahead on Universal Pre-K: The budget proposal assumes continued implementation of universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) per a previously adopted five-year expansion plan, allowing schools to serve all students who turn age 5 between September 2 and April 2 in 2023-24. The budget also proposes increasing funding by an additional $165 million to further reduce the adult-to-student ratio in TK classrooms to 1:10. The governor also indicated he proposes continued full implementation of universal free meals and previously planned State Preschool and child care program expansions.

New LCFF “Equity Multiplier": The budget summary speaks of a new “equity multiplier” augmentation to the LCFF. Though details are scant in the preliminary budget release, the $300 million augmentation would be targeted to school sites, presumably keeping the funding off the labor negotiating table, unlike the supplemental and concentration funding components of LCFF. According to a budget summary document, funding would be part of an unspecified “comprehensive package of amendments to the K-12 accountability and continuous improvement system . . . through the Local Control and Accountability Plan and Differentiated Assistance process.”

Continued Charter Facility Grant Augmentation: The proposed budget includes $30 million for another year’s augmentation to the Charter School Facility Grant Program. Newsom describes this augmentation as part of a “one-time investment. . . consistent with the 2022 Budget Act” even though nothing in the Budget Act actually...

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