California State Budget:
(Calif.) Acknowledging a growing teacher shortage that is putting education gains at risk, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Friday a $10 million package of tuition support and other incentives aimed at attracting young people into the profession.
As part of his long-awaited revised budget plan, the governor also once again withheld support for a statewide bond to help with school construction and repair costs, but offered a $100 million loan program for health and safety improvements.
The governor, becoming renowned for his tight-fisted spending policies, referenced the need to be cautious in the face of economic uncertainties.
“Our reserves are not adequate,” Brown said during the press conference at the Capitol. “But at least it will minimize the cuts to all the programs that people want to spend more money on now, and what I’m trying to do is to protect those programs in the event of the next recession, which is coming.”
Despite a surprise dip in April revenue collections, the overall budget for K-12 schools remains rosy. If the governor’s plan is adopted as proposed, per pupil spending will have increased by more than $3,600 over the spending provided during the nadirs of the recession.
The minimum funding guarantee of $71.9 billion for 2016-17 represents a 52 percent increase over the past five years. His plan would also bring the state to within 4 percent of the commitment made four years ago with the creation of the Local Control Funding Formula.
Even before news broke of April’s slip in personal income tax revenue, the administration had signaled to schools that there would not be a lot of additional spending proposed for new programs or services. Brown did, however, provide new details for an early learner initiative that he proposed in January.
The plan consolidates a number of existing resources to form a $1.6 billion Early Education Block Grant, which will align academic priorities between pre-kindergarten programs and local school districts.
According to the implementation plan:
• School districts, county offices of education, families, teachers and community stakeholders will work to develop a regional early learning plan in order to align pre-kindergarten and K-12 programs; and
• County offices of education and school districts with early education programs can aid school districts that lack the infrastructure to operate such programs with technical support.
Preparation for program implementation should begin in 2017-18.
Brown also wants to respond to the troubling trend within the teacher employment sector – characterized as the position losing status among young people enough so that shortages are visible in many communities.
As a number of bills are pending in the Legislature to address the problem, Brown proposed a $10 million General Fund one time investment for grants to California postsecondary institutions to improve upon or develop four-year integrated teacher credential programs. Grants of up to $250,000 Brown’s revised budget helps teacher shortage, emergency repairs