Governor’s Multibillion Dollar Boost to Education Budget Thinks Big

Union for Teachers, Staff Praises Revised Budget
Part of a proposed bump in education funding would cover free pre-K education for all 4-year-olds in California. Photo Credit: Briana Jackson / iStockphoto

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Education advocates are cheering Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision, which pours almost $122 billion into public schools, the highest level of funding in California’s history.

The money will support the California for All Kids Plan, a five-year strategy of public school investment.

Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said low-income school districts in particular will see big improvements.

“The additional funding for summer-school programs, after-school programs, for making a universal early-childhood education system, is the right direction that we need to be going,” Freitas contended.

The Governor’s plan promises to open pre-K classes to an additional 159,000 4-year-olds. It also would fund more school counselors, social workers and nurses, and would increase access to high-speed internet and laptops.

The funding is made possible by a $76 billion budget surplus in the Golden State.

Freitas noted the windfall comes from taxes on the ultra-wealthy who continued to prosper during the pandemic.

“The unexpected revenue came in because of factors like Prop 30 and Prop 55, the millionaires’ tax that we passed a few years ago,” Freitas explained.

The plan also puts more than $3 billion toward programs to attract more teachers. The legislature now has until June 15 to pass a budget for the next fiscal year.