California school districts just received the most significant budget increase to the education budget compared to previous years, thanks to Proposition 98 and Gov. Gav finalizing the budget last Thursday. Overall funding for schools and community colleges will be $128 billion compared to recent years. This budget will help increase attendance rates, create more expanded learning programs, give teachers more hours and bonuses, and help lower-income families receive support from after school programs. But why is the budget increase significant? Who will it overall benefit? Continue reading to learn more.
Proposition 98 is a state constitutional amendment that California voters approved in 1988. The amendment requires that a specific portion of the state budget be devoted to funding public education, including K-12 education and community colleges. As a result of Proposition 98, the state’s education budget has increased significantly over the past few years. For example, this is why we see a massive increase in the budget this year compared to last year.
The surplus from recent years is being carried over into this year’s budget to help with pandemic burdens.
Because the state has increased funds in recent years, these funds can be used to help restore old after-school programs, build new ones, and make sure more families can attend these programs and stay off the streets. Proposition 98 will also have a rainy day fund to be used when the normal Proposition 98 funds are tapped out. With everything going on in the country right now, hopefully, these funds will be used to help all students grow and learn equally.
What Projects Will the Budget Increase Fund?
The budget increase will help fund teachers’ wages, early learning programs for younger students, community colleges, and k-12 expanded learning programs. Here are the main sections that the budget aims to cover:
School districts in California have seen an overall attendance decline, and have only worsened since the pandemic. Enrollment has decreased from 5.983% in 2014-2015 to 5.712% in 2021-2022. According to the Department of Education, “Enrollment is down from 6,163,001 in 2019-2020 to 6,002,523 in 2020-2021, a decrease of more than 160,000 students and 2.6 percent from the prior year. This follows a modest, steady decline in public school enrollment since 2014-2015.” The budget increase aims to change the way schools previously received funding from education agencies.
The problem with initially receiving funding through attendance depends on a school’s attendance rate year after year; they wouldn’t be eligible for funding from certain agencies. This plan aims to focus on enrollment instead of daily attendance. However, attendance issues will still affect the schools if they keep declining. So, the budget increase will also help schools reach out to parents and students to see why they are not attending and how to help them. The plan will also help prevent more attendance drops by providing parents with support and information on keeping their children in school. With this new funding, hopefully, students will get the help they need if they have attendance issues.
Expanded Learning Opportunities
The budget increase will also help districts with primarily low-income families and help them attend more programs. In addition, they will have access to nine-hour days and six weeks of summer enrichment opportunities. The budget increase will also allow schools and non-profit organizations to come together faster and enable more students to receive high-quality expanded learning opportunities. These increases will also encourage children to attend school more and increase the attendance rate.
College Pathways Program
The budget increase will also introduce the Golden State Pathways Program, Which will allow more workers to be trained to complete work for California’s Economic Growth, promoting pathways in technology, healthcare, education, and climate-related fields. The budget increase will also allow students to participate in more programs to see the current offerings in their chosen field so they can adequately see if this is right for them.
Students will also be able to do mentorships/apprenticeships/work studies early in high school to understand better how their careers function.
The budget increase will also help increase the general funding for the University of California and California State University by 5%. The budget also includes funding for California Grants which will be eligible for 150,000 students depending on the available funds.
The budget plans to increase transportation efforts for students by hiring and training more drivers and ensuring they are trained to deal with students properly. Electric busses will become more available, and more charging stations will be located near bus routes, so drivers won’t have to drive too far to charge their vehicles. Bus routes will also be available to more low-income families, and there will be more low-cost options so students can take the bus more often in hazardous conditions.
The budget increase will also make sure students still have the option to receive proper independent education online if they choose to have it. While traditional education methods are preferred, students will continue to have the opportunity to complete their work online. However, they will still have most schools’ high-quality standards. Students will also be able to have a flexible offline schedule to complete the course work within the timeframe that is best for them. Because of these efforts, hopefully, more students will attend and complete their coursework.
How Student Hires will Benefit From the Budget Increase
At Student Hires, we’re committed to ensuring every student going through our programs and workshops receives the proper education they need. With the budget increase, we will have more funding to help schools create successful after school and expanded learning programs so their students can go out into the world with the support they need. Want to learn more about programs? Please send us a message today!
This budget increase will help millions of students across the state receive the education they need and beyond when they start looking for careers. But only if we make sure we hire the right people to help them get to school and want to stay in school. What interests you the most about the budget increase?
– California Department of Education