State Budget
CSBA advocacy on COVID attendance relief and LCFF base increase rewarded in May Revise
The Governor’s budget revision ignores the need for pension relief
Spring is in the air and budget season is in full bloom in Sacramento as the Legislature works its way through Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $300.6 billion spending plan, which included notable wins on many of CSBA’s budget priorities. Among other education highlights, the Governor proposed investing in the Local Control Funding Formula base and providing critical support to schools dealing with lower attendance as they recover from the pandemic. These proposals and more are on the table as the Legislature and Newsom Administration hammer out the final budget agreement.
Education funding continues to rise, with an emphasis on flexibility
Alongside soaring revenues, the Proposition 98 guarantee rose $8.3 billion since the January budget proposal to $102 billion, with an estimated $98.2 billion allotted for TK-12 schools. The May Budget Revision also proposed a higher statutorily required cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the LCFF and certain categorical programs, increasing from 5.33 percent in January to 6.56 percent. Gov. Newsom noted that all told, per-pupil funding will rise to a total of $22,850 considering all local, state and federal funds and $16,991 per pupil under Proposition 98 — however, it is important to note these are statewide figures, and do not reflect the varying amounts of funding individual school districts or county offices of education will ultimately receive.

In response to reports of increasing school costs, the Governor proposed a one-time Proposition 98 discretionary fund of $8 billion to be allocated on a per-average daily attendance (ADA) basis. Schools are intended, but not required, to use the funds for purposes including protecting staffing levels, addressing learning challenges and supporting mental health and wellness. The flexibility provided in this proposal reflects the emphasis CSBA’s advocacy has placed on local control throughout the budget process, and as negotiations continue CSBA will work to ensure this flexibility is protected.

Major wins on LCFF base funding and COVID attendance relief
Both the Senate and Assembly circulated proposals to invest in LCFF prior to the May Revise, and the Governor’s spending plan adds yet another proposal. The across-the-board interest reflects CSBA’s consistent advocacy over several fiscal years that with revenues at an all-time high, a historic investment in LCFF must be the centerpiece of this year’s budget. In addition to the statutory COLA, the May Revise would provide an increase of $2.1 billion in ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to LCFF base funding for school districts and $101.2 million ongoing to augment LCFF funding for county offices of education, an additional estimated increase of 3.2 percent. Both the Senate and Assembly have proposed larger increases and the size of the investment will likely be a key topic moving forward.
an empty classroom filled with desks and chairs
CSBA and ACSA will continue to work to ensure this relief is included in the final budget agreement and school districts and county offices of education have the support they need to emerge strong from the pandemic
Another win came in the Governor’s adoption of the CSBA and Association of California School Administrators’ (ACSA) proposal for COVID attendance relief. The May Revise includes fiscal protections for schools that experienced significant attendance declines in the current school year due to the delta and omicron surges. The proposal would allow LEAs to be funded at the greater of their current year ADA or their current year enrollment adjusted for pre-COVID-19 attendance rates in the 2021–22 fiscal year and would modify the three-year rolling average proposed in the January budget to conform with this adjustment. CSBA and ACSA will continue to work to ensure this relief is included in the final budget agreement and school districts and county offices of education have the support they need to emerge strong from the pandemic.
The road ahead: More needed on transportation, pensions, TK facilities
In the coming weeks, CSBA is focused on protecting these successes and making progress on important issues for schools left unaddressed in the May Budget Revision. One such area is CSBA’s commitment to repairing the state’s decades-long underfunding of home-to-school transportation, which has placed California last in the nation in providing busing to students. As school communities recover from the pandemic, it’s more critical than ever to ensure that students can get to school safely and on time, every day. CSBA is urging the state to fully fund school transportation and provide an annual COLA to account for increasing costs and expanded legislative policy goals by sponsoring new legislation. Assembly Bill 2933 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) provides the funding and flexibility schools need to expand school busing without taking from other programs in desperate need of resources.

Another area of great need is the increasing burden posed by school employer pension contributions, which threaten to crowd out desperately needed investments in educational programs. With school employer obligations scheduled to double for certificated staff, CSBA is pushing the state to once again commit non-Proposition 98 General Fund revenues to the CalSTRS and CalPERS systems on behalf of schools to help lower current and future rates. With a record surplus available, CSBA will continue to work with the Governor and Legislature to secure state relief.

Finally, while the May Revise addresses school facilities needs for the core new construction and modernization program, it did not include dedicated funds for transitional kindergarten facilities. TK classrooms requirements differ from typical classrooms in many ways — from in-class restrooms and separate play yards to proximity to drop-off/loading areas and the height of furniture — and LEAs are racing against the clock to construct and prepare facilities. To fulfill the state’s goals for universal TK, CSBA is requesting the budget include $2 billion in dedicated, non-Proposition 98 General Fund for TK facilities and amend the existing facilities program to allow LEAs to access 100 percent state funding for TK facility construction until they can provide a local match, which many local bond programs do not currently include.

What’s next?
Budget hearings in the Senate and Assembly have begun and negotiations between the Legislature and Governor will continue until the June 15 budget passage deadline. CSBA will continue to provide updates and opportunities for advocacy as the cycle continues.