Learning Recovery. As reported yesterday, the budget provides nearly $8 billion for the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant, which would provide funding to local educational agencies (LEAs) to increase or stabilize the amount of instructional time provided to students, provide learning supports to students, and address other barriers to learning, like providing mental health services or counseling. We wanted to clarify that, unlike the Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials Discretionary Block Grant, which will go out on a per-pupil basis, this funding will go out to LEA’s based on their unduplicated pupil count.
Expanded Learning Opportunities Program. The budget provides $4 billion ongoing for ELO-P. This funding level is below both what the Governor proposed in May ($4.8 billion) and the Legislature included in their placeholder budget passed on June 15 ($4.4 billion), but still a significant increase over the $1.7 billion that was provided in the 2021-22 Budget. LEAs with 75% or more unduplicated pupils will receive $2,750 per TK-6 unduplicated student while LEAs below that threshold will receive $1,250 per TK-6 unduplicated student. The budget also extends the current ELO-P offer and access requirements through 2022-23 but would require an expansion of who must be offered and provided access beginning in 2023-24.
Community Schools. The budget includes $1.1 billion for community schools. While lower than the $1.5 billion he proposed in May, this is still a win for the Governor as the Legislature’s initial version of the budget outright rejected this additional funding. This funding will be allocated beginning in the 2023-24 fiscal year for implementation grants and grant extensions. The budget also extends the encumbrance date for the nearly $3 billion dollars that was provided in last year’s budget for community schools from June 30, 2028 to June 30, 2031.
Special Education. The budget deal provides an additional $500 million to increase the special education base rate to $820/pupil. The budget deal also adopts the Governor’s proposals from January to (1) calculate special education base rates using LEA enrollment with funding still going through special education local planning areas (SELPAs), (2) consolidate two extraordinary cost pools into a single cost pool to simplify the current funding formula, (3) allocate Educationally-Related Mental health Services directly to LEAs, rather than SELPAs, and (4) require the State Board of Education to adopted an IDEA addendum template to the LCAP by January 31, 2025.
School Facilities. The budget deal appropriates $1.3 billion GF for the 2021-22 fiscal year to the State Allocation Board for new construction and modernization projects. The budget also includes intent language that would provide an additional $2.65 billion in the 2023-24 fiscal year and $875 million in the 2024-25 fiscal year for the school facilities program.
The deal also includes $650 million in one-time GF for the California Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program for use in constructing new school facilities or to retrofit existing school facilities for the purpose of providing transitional kindergarten classrooms, full-day kindergarten classrooms, or preschool classrooms. Clarifies that community colleges that operate preschool programs on behalf of county offices of education or school districts can apply for funds in this program.
School Transportation. The budget deal allows, starting in 2022-23, school districts to receive 60 percent of their reimbursed costs for the home-to-school transportation programs as a continuous appropriation. This will also require governing boards to develop and adopt a plan, on or before April 1, 2023, to provide transportation services to its students as specified, and prohibits local educational agencies from charging a fee for unduplicated pupils.
The budget also includes the Governor’s proposal to appropriates $1.5 billion in one-time Prop 98 funding to the California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board, to administer a state- wide zero-emissions school bus program. This program would prioritize low- income and rural LEAs, and LEAs purchasing electric school buses with bi- directional charging.
School Nutrition. The budget deal includes the Governor’s proposal to provide a total of $1.2 billion to school nutrition programs to help implement universal meals and provide a higher state reimbursement rate to backfill reduction in federal funding due to COVID-era federal waivers expiring. The budget also includes $600 million one-time funding for kitchen infrastructure grants and an additional $100 million one-time for LEAs to purchase California-grown/produced, sustainably grown, whole or minimally processed foods, procure plant-based or restricted diet meals, and freshly prepare meals onsite.
College and Career. The budget includes the Governor’s proposals around the establishment of the Golden State Pathways Program, which will support the development and implementation of college and career education pathways in critically needed sectors of the economy, and expansion of dual enrollment programs, though they are funded at a lower level than he originally proposed. Specifically, the budget provides $5oo million, down from the Governor’s January proposal of $1.5 billion, for the Golden State Pathways Program, and $200 million, down from the Governor’s January proposal of $500 million, for dual enrollment.
Independent Study. The budget deal adopts the Governor’s May Revision proposal for Independent Study. Specifically, the budget deal:
- Provides an optional methodology for LEAs to combine work product (time equivalency) and synchronous instruction to generate attendance
- Allows SPED students to participate in IS if the IEP team agrees and FAPE can be established
- Removes requirement proposed in January that the teacher of record providing synchronous instruction be appropriate to the subject matter being taught
- Amends threshold for Tiered Reengagement trigger to be a student missing 20% of instructional time over 4 weeks, not participating in more than 50% of synchronous instruction in a school month, or in violation of the written agreement
- Removes January proposal to require tiered reengagement procedures include referring students to attendance review boards
- Requires written agreements for IS lasting less than 15 school days to be signed by parent/guardian within 10 days of enrollment in IS
- Allows students under the care of a medical professional to be excluded from long term IS requirements (tiered reengagement, synchronous instruction, and option to transfer back within five days)
- Allows LEAs to claim attendance for students receiving virtual services from nonpublic, nonsectarian schools under certain circumstances
- Removes definition of “pupil work products” proposed in January
Governing boards must adopt IS board policies that reflect changes in law prior to enrolling students in the program. We strongly recommend considering timing for board agendas to adopt revised policies to comply with these new requirements.
Links to Budget Bills:
- SB 154Budget Bill (passed Legislature June 13)
- AB 178/SB 178Amended Budget Bill (amends SB 154)
- AB 181/SB 181Education Omnibus Budget
- AB 182/SB 182Learning Recovery Block Grant
- AB 183/SB 183Higher Ed Omnibus
- AB 210/SB127 Childcare and Education
We will be hosting our Budget Act workshops in collaboration with county superintendents beginning the week of July 11. Look for additional details on those workshops in the coming days.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us if we can provide any additional information.
Legislative Counsel | Capitol Advisors Group