This past week, Gov. Brown released his 2018-19 budget, the last for his administration. Education was a priority, and it should be. California needs to produce 2.5 million more graduates over the next 10 years with degrees and credentials that our growing businesses need. The Governor's budget proposal makes clear that investments in California’s future workforce are paramount to driving the state’s economic growth and prosperity.
Since the Governor took office, his budgets have focused on debt reduction and building a rainy day fund, which we applaud. This year the Governor built on his legacy of prioritizing funding for K-12 schools serving our neediest students by proposing more money for early childhood education, workforce development and improved access to financial aid for post-secondary students.
The Governor’s proposed budget includes several educational priorities that the Chamber has championed for many years:
- Full implementation of the K-12 local control funding formula.
- Increasing child care and preschool programs by $399 million, an increase of about 9 percent compared to last year.
- A new performance-based funding formula for community colleges that rewards progress in degree completion and serving low-income students. This is a policy the Chamber sponsored a decade ago.
- A $120 million investment to create an online community college focused on serving adults with some college but no degree.
- $46 million for AB 19 (Santiago), the California College Promise program, waiving tuition fees for first-time, full-time students entering California Community Colleges who meet specified enrollment criteria.
- Restoration of financial aid for students at private, nonprofit colleges and universities contingent upon improving student enrollment and transfer opportunities.
While both the University of California system and the California State University system receive funding increases under the Governor's budget, their appropriation is lower than what is warranted and necessary to increase slots for California’s entering freshmen and transfer students. The ability to serve more students is essential, and we encourage the Legislature increase this funding.
We applaud the focus on education and workforce development in Gov. Brown’s $131.7 billion budget. We look forward to supporting these budget priorities for education in the months ahead.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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