Above: Original art by Eden Meseret (she/her) for the California Partnership for the Future of Learning 2022 Arts Showcase.
Two weeks into the year and we’re already celebrating some good news! On Tuesday, Governor Newsom released the 23-24 State Budget proposal naming key investments for students, and doubling down on commitments to public education. Most importantly, the proposal will protect public school funding from cuts despite the budget deficit. Here’s a quick breakdown of our favorite things:
Celebrating Continued Funding Commitments!
Sustained commitment to Community Schools and youth mental health – Newsom’s budget maintains the $4.1 billion investment made in 2022, and continues a $4.7 billion investment in mental health support for CA’s youth. These two are critical for schools to address the impact that the pandemic has had on students and families and will support our efforts towards creating racially just relationship-centered schools across the state.
“As a student I need to feel more like a human being, [and more than] a reason to get paid. I need to build a connection. I need to feel like I can ask for something and not feel awkward or slow for needing that support.” Tatyana Pittman, a senior at Fresno Unified.
Excited About New Investments!
We are happy to see California students get more money than ever before. This year’s budget proposal includes an increase in per student spending levels, bringing funding to $23,723 per student. The budget proposal also has a cost of living adjustment set at 8.13% which means an additional $4.2 billion for schools – yay! – and a $300 million investment to improve services for the lowest performing students by establishing an equity multiplier in the LCFF. This equity multiplier is a good step to make sure that student groups who’ve experienced historic and systemic racism get the most support. We hope to see Black students and families benefit directly from this update and will be monitoring the data and accountability during the implementation.
We’re also excited to see funding to help waive teacher exam fees, a financial barrier for many first generation students of color who are working towards becoming teachers. Waiving the exam fee is a good follow-up to the Golden State Teacher Grant Program that recruits and supports new teachers to schools in high priority areas with more than 55% of students who are English Learners, low income or current foster youth.
The budget also invests more in new counselors, a resource badly needed by our students, especially as they heal from the impacts of the pandemic. Leah Jackson, a senior at Long Beach Unified shares “I feel like the 9th graders this year and a lot of the incoming high school students especially need more emotional and mental health resources, since they missed out on critical socializing with their peers because of Covid”.
Stay tuned and follow us on social media to hear directly from youth leaders how these investments are impacting their education!
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