Governor Brown releases January budget proposal for 2018-19 fiscal year

January 10, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown has released his January Budget Proposal for the 2018-19 fiscal year. During his news conference, Brown emphasized his long-standing philosophy that education is a local matter and making progress on student achievement will not be solved in Sacramento but rather in the classroom.

His remarks focused on the theme of maintaining “fiscal prudence” and encouraged the Legislature to begin budget conversations with “precaution” since the state’s progressive tax system significantly relies on taxing the high-income earners. This is particularly relevant in light of the recent federal tax reform bill signed by President Trump in late December 2017, as California policymakers determine what the fiscal impact will be to the state. As a result, there is a heightened uncertainty and unpredictability of our volatile revenue system.

It is no surprise that the California Legislature and the governor will direct their attention to the national political landscape, as there are several policies with significant fiscal implications that could negatively impact the state. These include an impending threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act that could cost the state more than $20 billion in federal subsidies and result in an estimated loss of 334,000 jobs, as well as changes to immigration, trade and climate change policies that could disrupt communities throughout California.

Below is ACSA’s initial review of the governor’s January budget proposal. A full analysis will be provided in the coming days as additional details become available.

K-12 Education Funding Overview

Gov. Brown’s budget proposes a General Fund budget plan of $131.6 billion, a 4.1 percent increase from the current fiscal year. As a result, this year’s investments in K-12 public education are comparable to the year-over-year augmentations schools have received since the November 2016 passage of Proposition 55, the temporary income taxes. The budget proposes to fund the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee at $78.3 billion, a $3.1 billion increase compared to the 2017-18 funding levels. This results in an average increase of $465 per-pupil over the level provided in the 2017-18 budget.

More specifically, the administration includes the following proposals:

As part of the $78.3 billion provided through the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee, the budget includes the following proposal for public education:

  • Local Control Funding Formula : Nearly $3 billion to fully fund 100% of the formula targets two years ahead of schedule. However, as a trade-off the budget proposes requiring local educational agencies to show how their budget expenditures align with the strategies detailed in the Local Control and Accountability Plans for serving students generating supplemental grants.
  • One-Time Discretionary Funding : $1.8 billion in one-time discretionary block grants allocated on a per-pupil basis equivalent to $295 per ADA, and as in years past, funding will offset any outstanding mandate reimbursement claims.
  • System of Support : The budget provides a $70 million investment in ongoing Proposition 98 funds to further implement the state system of support. Of this amount, $55.2 million would go towards county offices of education to assist in the improvement of school districts identified for differentiated support, and $11.3 million to continue funding the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence.
  • Special Education : In response to the 2015 recommendations of the California Statewide Special Education Task Force and the recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California and building upon last year’s discussions with stakeholders, the administration proposes requiring SELPAs to complete a SELPA local plan template that aligns services and resources noted in their local plans with the goals identified in their members district’s LCAPs. Most notably, $167 million would be dedicated to increase the availability of inclusive early education and care for children aged 0 to 5 years old. A $10 million ongoing Proposition 98 allocation would also be made for SELPAs to work with county offices of education to provide technical assistance to local educational agencies to improve student outcomes as part of the system of support.
  • Teacher Shortage: The administration proposes $100 million in one-time Proposition 98 funds to increase and retain special education teachers, with half of the funding earmarked for a Teacher Residency Program aimed at preparing and retaining special education teachers, and the other half dedicated to one-time competitive grants to local educational agencies developing or implementing new or existing locally identified solutions that address a local need for special education teachers.
  • Career Technical Education : While the funding for the CTE Incentive Grant Program expired at the end of 2017-18, and the Department of Finance had shown no interest in re-establishing a dedicated funding stream for such programs, the administration proposes an ongoing increase of $200 million Proposition 98 funds to establish a K-12 specific component of the Strong Workforce Program to encourage the establishment and support for K-12 CTE programs that are aligned with needed industry skills. An additional $12 million in ongoing Proposition 98 funds would fund local industry experts who would provide technical support to local educational agencies operating, or proposing to operate, CTE programs.
  • K-12 School Facilities : As a result of the passage of Proposition 51 in November 2016 to authorize $7 billion in state general obligation bonds for K-12 schools, the budget proposes approximately $640 million in bond authority for 2018-19 to fund new construction, modernization, CTE and charter facility projects.
  • Cost-of-Living-Adjustments: The proposed budget includes an increase of $133.5 million in Proposition 98 funds to support a 2.51 percent COLA for the categorical programs that remain outside of LCFF, including special education, child nutrition, foster youth, American Indian Education Centers, and the American Indian Early Childhood Education Program.

As a major education stakeholder, ACSA will be actively engaged in the budget discussions with the administration to ensure our best interests are upheld. Throughout this legislative season, ACSA will keep you apprised of all budget negotiation discussions until the budget is completed by the June 15 constitutional deadline.

The full budget can be found at

For questions or additional information, contact Martha Alvarez, ACSA Legislative Advocate, at

Statement from Wesley Smith, ACSA Executive Director

California’s public education system requires a budget framework that is diverse and appropriately represents the vast needs of our students statewide. As an organization focused on student advocacy and equity, ACSA recognizes the challenges ahead to meet the expectations of continuous improvement and the Statewide System of Support.

ACSA applauds Governor Brown for his commitment to the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula. The Governor’s plan to fund the LCFF funding targets ahead of schedule is a significant first step in ensuring California students have the necessary resources to be successful. ACSA believes the budget is just part of the puzzle for growing the next generation of leaders. Providing equitable funding for low-performing districts, special education programs, as well as marginalized students, puts California on the path the strengthen pupil achievement, school climate, and pupil engagement.

California public educators are positioned to have an incredible impact on our students and ACSA aims to steward the process toward excellence.

ACSA sees the governor’s budget proposal as an opportunity to solidify a long-term funding plan for California schools. In order to solidify the legacy of equity and local control, our state’s policy makers must set goals to extend the funding targets and ensure that LCFF base funding is sufficient to meet all of our school’s growing fiscal commitments. We see an opportunity for growth and collaboration as we intend to work side-by-side with lawmakers to assemble a spending plan that fully meets the needs of California students.

Dr. Wesley Smith, ACSA Executive Director

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