Statement from the California Federation of Teachers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Thanks to the passage of Proposition 55 in the November 2016 election, California will be able to maintain its commitment to providing quality public education to the state’s more than six million students in the years to come.
While Governor Brown cites fiscal uncertainties due to likely changes in federal education policies and funding under the Trump administration, as well as projections of lower state revenues than anticipated, his proposed state budget keeps investments in public education a priority, while paring the statutory increase to the minimum allowable under Prop 98.
“The wisdom of California’s voters and taxpayers in passing Prop 55 means that we can continue to fund the Local Control Funding Formula, restore programs lost to the Great Recession, and improve the future prospects of our students at all levels of public education,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “The progressive nature of Prop 55 allows us to maintain revenue if and when the State economy is contracting. We are proud to have the most progressive tax system in the country but also agree that more could be done to make our system less volatile, like commercial property tax reform.”
Pechthalt also noted that even with Prop 55, California’s per-pupil spending remains among the lowest of the states. “The intent of the voters was that Prop 55 would allow us to continue to increase our investments in public education. This budget proposal does that, but at a very modest level.”
Under Brown’s proposal, Prop 98 funding for K-14 education will increase by 3.1%, and Local Control Funding Formula monies, steered to districts with high numbers of students in poverty, English language learners, and foster children, will continue to be funded at 96% implementation, with the expectation that it will be fully funded by 2020, the deadline set when LCFF was initiated in 2013.
“We are pleased that the Governor and the state of California remain committed to fully funding the Medicaid expansion under the ACA,” said Pechthalt, regarding the proposed expansion of state funding for its share of health care for low income Californians. “Students who come to school sick cannot learn. No matter what happens in Washington D.C., this budget proposal, if approved, will make sure that at least for the foreseeable future we will not allow preventable health problems of our most vulnerable students to be a barrier to learning.”
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. More info: www.cft.org.