Newsom Proposes Continued K-12 Program Expansions, Large COLA Despite Plummeting State Revenues

Governor Newsom released a summary of his 2023-24 state budget proposal this morning, proposing to continue massive K-12 program expansions and funding a large cost-of-living adjustment, all despite plummeting state revenues. The Governor’s Budget estimates state revenues are falling $29.5 billion short of levels estimated when the current (2022-23) state budget was adopted, with most of the decline attributable to the upcoming 2023-24 fiscal year.

Despite plummeting tax revenues, the governor estimates that total K-14 funding under the state’s constitutional education funding formula declines only slightly. This modest decline, combined with targeted cuts, expiration of one-time prior-year commitments, and declining enrollment frees up an estimated $5.9 billion of additional education spending “room” for 2023-24.

While details are scant as of today, the Governor’s Budget appears to include the following major features of specific interest to charter schools:

Big Cola: The governor proposes fully-funding a large, 8.13 percent estimated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and some categorical programs, including Special Education, the Charter Facilities Grant Program, and others.

Full Speed Ahead on Universal Pre-K: The budget proposal assumes continued implementation of universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) per a previously adopted five-year expansion plan, allowing schools to serve all students who turn age 5 between September 2 and April 2 in 2023-24. 

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