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Governors proposed budget takes 'positive step' for education
The total per-pupil spending from Proposition 98 increases to $10,910, which is $331 more per student from 2016-17, in the Governor's proposed budget. - photo by Journal file photo

Educators throughout California applauded Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget for 2017-18, which was unveiled Tuesday to include an increase in education funding and a commitment to help push the Local Control Funding Formula one step close to full implementation.


“The Governor’s investment in LCFF is a positive step for California’s students and demonstrates the state’s commitment to furthering the progress our schools have made with the new funding model,” said California School Boards Association President Susan Henry. “Full implementation of LCFF is an important milestone as we continue our work to prepare all of our students for college and career.”


In his proposal, Brown set Proposition 98, which requires a minimum percentage of the state budget to be spent on K-14 education, at $73.5 billion, which is a $2.1 billion increase from the revised 2016-17 guarantee. With this increase, the total per-pupil spending from Proposition 98 will increase to $10,910, which is $331 more per student from 2016-17. The proposed budget includes a fifth-year investment of more than $744 million in LCFF, which will add to nearly $15.7 billion that was accumulated from the last four years. This proposed funding level supports a cost-of-living adjustment for funding targets under the formula in 2017-18, which maintains formula implementation at the current-year level of 96 percent.


While CSBA acknowledged that the proposed increase to the Proposition 98 guarantee and LCFF is a positive move for the roughly six million students in grades kindergarten through 12 at more than 10,000 schools throughout California, the association said that increases to employer contributions to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) are “poised to have a major impact on education funding in the state” following an announcement in December that CalPERS will lower its discount rate to 7 percent over the next three years. As a result, employer contributions to CalSTRS are projected to more than double by 2022.


“California’s school districts are already facing enormous cost pressures from rising CalPERS and CalSTRS contributions, and the effect on our classrooms is already being felt,” said Henry. “Recognizing that these costs will continue increasing at a much higher rate than previously projected, it is incumbent upon the state to protect the Proposition 98 guarantee and to move toward an adequate level of funding for our schools.


“California still ranks near the bottom nationally in per-pupil spending, and these looming cost increases present further challenges — it is our hope that the Governor and the Legislature recognize the greater levels of support for our children are necessary. In this budget, Governor Brown has reiterated his commitment to invest in the future of California’s transportation infrastructure. However, California’s students are our state’s human infrastructure, and we must invest in them as well,” continued Henry.


California State University Chancellor Timothy White echoed CSBA’s sentiments regarding the proposed state budget, which — despite constraints due to lower-than-expected revenue growth — includes an increased funding for higher education.


“We are appreciative of the Governor’s commitment to investing in public higher education and the additional funding proposed will help address some of the California State University’s priorities,” said White. “The university is committed to improving student achievement with a focus on Graduation Initiative 2025, which will eliminate the achievement gap and help address California’s looming shortfall of one million baccalaureate degree-educated citizens over the next ten years. While student completion has reached all-time highs and continues to increase, we will review all options to ensure we are able to maintain that momentum.”


The full summary of the Governor’s budget proposal can be found at