SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of the 2021–22 state budget bills and trailer bills, which include key investments in areas the State Superintendent championed before the pandemic disrupted public education. These investments provide the resources schools desperately need to recover and to build back better.
“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and we are grateful that this budget recognizes that investments in public education will be a critical driver to our state’s rebound,” said Thurmond. “Coming off the most difficult year for education in our lifetime, historic funding levels to the state and education will enable us to recover, accelerate learning, and build back better—with specific attention to student mental health and closing opportunity gaps that disproportionately affected students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and students in low-income households.
“I echo our Governor, who announced that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California’s future and expand opportunities for every child across the state, with $123.9 billion to reduce barriers and increase opportunities from transitional kindergarten through community college. In this year’s budget, our Proposition 98 funding for TK to 12—money going to our schools and classrooms—went from $69.3 billion in 2020–21 to $80.4 billion this year, almost a 30 percent increase over last year.
“I am excited about the interconnected nature of these historic investments that move forward universal access to school meals for all students, universal preschool, and afterschool expanded learning programs, such as the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program—all critical areas in ensuring equitable opportunities for California’s students. It also provides additional funding to support special education, inclusive practices, and family empowerment centers. Along with my CDE team, I look forward to working with districts, schools, and community organizations to support a continuum of equitable educational opportunities for every student—starting at preschool.
“I want to particularly call out the important allocations for mental health resources, because we cannot begin to think about academics until we are addressing the trauma students have faced this past year. I’m pleased that the budget package includes additional investments in many of my personal priority areas, including student mental health, as well as special education, educator recruitment and retention, ethnic studies, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, broadband infrastructure, anti-bias curriculum, dual immersion programs, and Holocaust and genocide education.
“It became abundantly clear during the pandemic that there is no replacement for a classroom teacher, and I am thrilled that the budget invests a record $2.8 billion to support educator recruitment, retention, and professional development. These funds will be crucial in our efforts to build pipeline programs for classified staff and to diversify our educator workforce to better reflect the diversity of California’s students.
“The budget will also fund thousands of full-service community schools with wraparound mental health, social, and family services; support for educators working with the most vulnerable students; and improved student-to-staff ratios. This is something I have been advocating for since I began this position. It is a key way to leverage community partnership and efficiently extend support and resources to students, families, and community members.
“Focusing on student mental health and wellness and critical supports like universal school meals and community schools that provide wraparound programs for families will be essential for facilitating a safe return to in-person learning for the students who have suffered so much during the pandemic. While this budget is good news for our 1,000 school districts and six million public school students, we still face great challenges and a lot of work together in the months ahead.”
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. You may also follow Superintendent Thurmond on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube