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If Lawmakers Get Their Way, California Won’t Slash Funding For Schools, Colleges

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, POOL)
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Last month, as part of a plan to make up for a coronavirus-triggered $54 billion state revenue shortfall, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed deep cuts to California’s education spending.

This week, leading State Assembly and Senate leaders proposed an alternative: Don’t cut California’s education spending. They propose…

  • Rejecting Newsom’s proposal for more than $8.1 billion in cuts to Proposition 98 — the main source of state funding for K-12 schools and community colleges. (For some context, that’s a Great Recession-esque cut; and in some ways, the state’s K-12 system hasn’t fully recovered from that prior crisis.)
  • Rejecting $770 million in proposed cuts to the University of California and Cal State University systems.
  • …and more.

Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said in a statement:

‘Our economy has been pummeled by COVID-19, but thanks to a decade of pragmatic budgeting, we can avoid draconian cuts to education and critical programs, or broad middle-class tax increases.’

Newsom had proposed to roll back some of his proposed budget cuts
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if — and only if — lawmakers in D.C. end up approving a new multi-trillion-dollar COVID-19 package to state and local governments.

The legislature’s budget deal “flips the presumption,” banking on Congress coming through with an aid package. If it doesn’t, then cuts and spending reductions take effect — including delaying more than $5.3 billion in payments to school districts, which would basically force them to borrow this money.

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