This Just In: California Office Responds to January CA Budget Proposal
On January 10th, Governor Newsom set forth his 2022 California budget priorities in a historical $286 billion dollar budget.
On January 10th, Governor Newsom set forth his 2022 California budget priorities in a historical $286 billion dollar budget. The January budget proposal largely sets the scene to highlight the values of the state, and in many ways, this proposal does just that. On behalf of Council for a Strong America’s California Office, and our local members of ReadyNation, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, and Mission: Readiness, we are ecstatic to see investments in many policies that support California’s kids and families, yet we would be remiss to not bring attention to a glaring omission: comprehensive, sustainable, and impactful increases to our essential yet flailing child care system. This critical and fragile system is the backbone of our economy and key for returning women to work and strengthening our state that is still struggling under the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today we applaud the Governor and his proposed budget, but also urge California’s policy leaders to ensure that the child care system is not left behind in a year with both a huge budget surplus and the political will to make a difference in the lives of kids and families.
Below, Council for a Strong America’s California staff will highlight the proposed budget investments in detail.
CHILD CARE & EARLY EDUCATION
This year’s budget provides a small expansion of child care slots for working families, with an additional 36,000 spots added to last year’s allocation of 110,000.
Council for a Strong America Response:
This addition of spots is much needed, but is not adequate to make a dent in the extreme need California families face. In addition, we need to take a comprehensive approach to addressing child care in the state to ensure that we have a fairly paid workforce and adequate facilities available to meet the needs of families. We hope to see additional funding set aside in the May Revision to continue the Governor’s attention to strengthening the wellbeing of California families.
Donna Hoffman Cullinan, Council for a Strong America Deputy State Director
Read the Governor’s Early Childhood Budget Summary here.
Last year, Governor Newsom and the State Legislature committed to expanding California’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) creating a streamlined PreK-12 system and ensuring access to Pre-K for all four-year-olds. This year’s budget continues this commitment by allocating $1 billion to address the first year of implementation and a reduced adult-to-student ratio. There was also additional funding allocated to address the needs of dual-language learners in state subsidized preschool programs.
Additionally, K-12 education received an astounding $70.5 billion in funding, an increase of $24 billion from last year, recognizing the dire need to invest in our education system as we continue to navigate the global pandemic. This funding includes a 5.33% cost of living adjustment, significant improvements in school facilities, an overall increase in pupil spending, and the largest increase towards music and arts that schools have seen in years. There is also an increase in funding to support college and career pathways and college access.
Council for a Strong America Response:
These investments in our children and youth are both necessary and a part of what we need to address the many impacts our schools and communities are feeling. By recognizing the need to align our systems and funding the work to do so, as a state we are taking steps to ensure success in school and access to a post-secondary degree of value.
Shelly Masur, Council for a Strong America, Regional/California Director
EXPANDED LEARNING PROGRAMS
The January 10th budget proposal includes $3.4 billion for the Expanded Learning Opportunity Program, which supports before and after school care for low income students, as well as continuing the rate increase included in the 2021 budget for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) and 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Response:
The proposed increase to $3.4 billion total funding for expanded learning will continue to address needed access to afterschool and summer learning programs, but investments need to be made in our expanded learning workforce to deliver on the promise of high-quality programming for all of California’s children. We encourage the Governor and legislature to address these needs throughout the session to ensure families can continue to receive the support they count on.
Patrick Mortiere, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California Deputy Director
Read the Governor’s full K-12 Education Summary here.
Governor Newsom’s proposal included a multi-year, multi-faceted approach to improving postsecondary education for the CSU, UC, and California Community College systems. Specifically, allocations were made to reduce cost, increase access and capacity, improve equity, and provide improved workforce preparedness and career pipelines.
This year has exceptional state revenues–with a proposal of $39.6 billion for California’s higher education system–so the time is now to dismantle historical barriers to education at all levels, reverse the disruptions to student learning and well-being caused by Covid-19, and empower our working families returning to the classroom to pursue a degree or certification of value.
Elmer Martínez Saballos, ReadyNation, Senior Policy Associate
Read the Governor’s full Higher Education Budget Summary here.
At Council for a Strong America we know that investing in children and youth, from early childhood to workforce preparation, is critical for building a better California. To build safer communities, thriving children, and a more productive economy, all youth should have the opportunity to be healthy, educated, and cared for, and this starts in child care. This year has exceptional state revenues, and the time is now to ensure that our youngest Californians have the start they deserve.
We call on and encourage California’s leadership to be bold and impactful, and to ensure that we build and fund a comprehensive education system from birth through college.
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