The voice of California’s charter school movement

What Does California's Historic State Budget Mean for Charter Public Schools?

By California Charter Schools Association

While no state budget is ever perfect, there is a lot to celebrate in California's recently passed 2021-2022 spending plan. The final budget package reflects total state spending of $262.6 billion and provides a record $93.7 billion in Proposition 98 spending.

It also contains a total of $25.2 billion in General Fund reserves, a historic high. We believe it shows a substantial investment in educational opportunities for our children and a brighter future for Californians.

Here’s a quick budget breakdown detailing what charter public schools in California stand to gain, new education programs created due to historic levels of investment, and finally areas of concern:

The Good News for Charters

This year’s budget provides equitable funding for all of California's public schools. For charter public schools, the budget also provides a two-year extension of school renewals and a three-year extension of the moratorium on new nonclassroom-based charter schools.

Other highlights of the budget include:

  • $121.7 billion in TK-12 funding – an average $21,152 per student.

  • $66.7 billion in Local Control Funding Formula funding – a $4.4 billion increase.

  • $11 billion to completely repay apportionment deferrals.

  • $400 million in 2021-22 for supplemental pension payments to offset future pension costs for K-12 Schools and Community Colleges.

  • Free breakfasts and lunches for all students with $650 million ongoing Prop 98 funding, starting 2022-23.

  • Special Education receives an ongoing increase in funding of over 4 percent and $450 million in one-time funding for learning recovery supports associated with the impacts of school disruptions.
New Programs on the Horizon

In addition to the record level spending for current programs, Governor Newsom and the Legislature provided billions in funding for brand new programs, including providing transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds by 2026, an expansion of afterschool and summer enrichment programs for elementary grade level students and additional high school supports for college readiness.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Expansion

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, the eligibility date for TK students will expand by three months annually until all kids who are age four by September 1 are eligible for a full year of TK before kindergarten. TK class sizes are limited to 24 students and there is an adult to student ratio of 1 to 12 starting in in 2022-23 and 1 to 10 starting in 2023-24. This will expand on the limited TK opportunities that are available today.

Expanded Learning Opportunities Program

All classroom-based local education agencies serving kindergarten through grade six will be provided funding to expand afterschool and summer school enrichment programs for high-need students. Over the next few years, $5 billion will be allocated to districts, based on their numbers of high-need students, for these programs for TK to 6th grades.
UC and CSU Preparedness
The budget provides a one-time $557 million to improve students’ rates of passing A-G courses, which are required for admission to CSUs and UCs. This funding includes paying for AP exam fees.

Areas of Significant Concern

Independent Study

CCSA has significant concerns with policies that target remote instruction and independent study including the lack of clarity and the short period between enacting the budget and the start of the school year. The policies will have significant impacts on educational opportunities that are delivering flexible high-quality education to our most vulnerable students, including teen parents and medically compromised students, and homeless students.

The changes will hamper the ability of schools to provide the flexibility that these students need to remain engaged in their education and have been proven to be successful.

CCSA is directly engaged in further developing a fix to these new regulations and minimizing the impact on students.

There is plenty of work ahead in ensuring that all children are provided with a model of learning that works best for them as individuals.

This blog story was written by Jeff Macedo, CCSA's Senior Director of Communications.