New California budget makes fewer cuts to public education

One day after settling their differences, the Legislature on Tuesday quickly approved a $310 billion 2023-24 state budget and sent it to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed the bill Tuesday night. Senate Bill 101, the budget, will provide slightly less funding for schools and community colleges than last year, yet assures school districts will have a sizable increase in general operating money by fully funding a cost of living increase.

For higher education, the budget spares delays and cuts to construction and student housing projects by shifting costs to bonds, provides debt-free college to foster youth, and assures that the current $289 million for the state’s middle-class scholarship program will continue through 2024-25.

The state budget, which the Assembly approved 62-14 and the Senate passed 32-6, takes effect on Saturday. It marks a retrenchment from three years of record education funding supplemented by tens of billions in one-time federal and state COVID-19 relief, which together set in motion ambitious new programs with eye-popping costs. Those include $4.4 billion for community schools and $4 billion for after-school and summer programs for low-income children through the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program.

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