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Legislature Poised to Pass Budget that Restores Governor’s Proposed Cuts to K-14 Schools

June 15, 2023 by Amy Donovan

June 15 is the constitutional deadline for the California Legislature to pass a budget bill for the 2023-2024 fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2023. Unlike the budget votes of years ago, this one will not be a nail-biter. Members of the legislature came to an agreement on the details days ago—all that’s left is the actual voting. But the details matter, as the legislature and the Governor take different approaches to closing an approximately $30 billion budget deficit, including cuts to K-14 schools.

Back in January, when the Governor unveiled his budget proposal, the task was to address a $29.5 billion deficit. That task was made more difficult by May, when the Governor’s revised budget proposal addressed a $31.5 billion shortfall. As proposed, the May revision would have funded the state’s Prop. 98 obligation at $106.8 billion—nearly $4 billion less than 2021-2022 funding levels and $2.1 less than was proposed in January.

The Governor’s approach was to claw back one-time funding that had been approved last June, including $2.5 billion from a $7.9 billion K-12 Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant and $1.8 billion from the Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials Block grant. In light of districts’ need to complete budgets in advance of the state, many districts had already baked those block grants into spending plans for the upcoming school year. It also approved the increases to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) that were included in the 2022 budget, approved the 8.22% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for the LCFF and categorical programs, and fully funded the current year and budget year costs of universal school meals.

The budget passed by the legislature will restore most of what was cut from the block grants, leaving the learning recovery block grain with a $494.5 million reduction and a $200 million reduction in the arts, music and instructional materials grant. It significantly reduces the Governor’s use of one-time funds to cover ongoing costs of the LCFF. In all, the legislature’s budget provides $2.1 billion more to the Prop. 98 guarantee than the Governor’s May revision.

Now the real negotiation begins—between the Governor and the Legislature.

About Amy Donovan
Amy is Keenan's Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, authoring the firm's Briefings and position papers on legislation, regulation, and litigation that impact the firm and its clients.