ASCD California

Pension Relief, Special Education Funding Highlight Governor Newsom's Budget

06/14/2019 2:05 PM | Cheryl Casagrande (Administrator)

Pension relief, special education funding highlight Gov. Newsom's budget

Governor gets most of what he wanted in his first go-round

SCHOOL FINANCE

JUNE 14, 2019
JOHN FENSTERWALD

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICH PEDRONCELLI

Democratic Assemblywomen Cottie Petrie-Norris, o

f Laguna Beach, left, Buffy Wicks, of Oakland, center, and Jacqui Irwin, of Thousand Oaks, right, huddle before the Assembly passed the state budget bill on Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first education budget, which the Legislature passed on Thursday, remains his budget. After negotiations with legislative leaders, Newsom’s spending priorities remain largely intact and signal the directions his administration will take over his first term.

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Gov. Newsom Proposes To Chip Away At Mountain Of Pension Liability And Ease School Districts’ Burden

Education leaders largely praised the education budget when Newsom released his initial budget in January and the revision in May, and were still on board this week.

“The governor successfully held true to principles he laid out in January and got significant wins across the board,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting firm. “He found creative ways to address crucial issues that educators statewide are articulating.”

Funding for K-12 schools and community colleges is determined by a complex formula  laid out in Proposition 98, which voters passed in 1998. It’s roughly 40 percent of the state’s budget, varying a bit from year to year.

Newsom funded the minimum increase required by Prop. 98, which will raise the level by $2.9 billion, to $81.1 billion in 2019-20. For additional money, Newsom turned to the General Fund, where K-12 had to compete with health care, housing, homelessness and legislators’ own priorities .

The final budget provides about $3.5 billion beyond Prop. 98. By far the biggest piece is the $3 billion that will relieve districts from escalating school pension costs. Next is $300 million in one-time money to fund facilities for districts to transition to full-day kindergarten — half of what Newsom had requested.

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