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California proposes more spending on schools and roads
13 January 2018, 02:37 | Erica Roy
Jerry Brown unveils $132 billion California budget for 2018-19
Jerry Brown (D) made significant investments in the state's child welfare and juvenile justice systems in the first version of the state's 2018-2019 budget. Philosophically, he is extending some of the recent changes in K-12 financing to the two-year public colleges. As the new formula is implemented, no district will receive less funding than now provided.
Brown stated that they haven't collided with recession yet but soon will.
Wednesday he added that expanding preschool access will "improve student success and lifetime incomes".
The famously frugal governor noted a "healthy one-time surplus" in his budget, but warns that the state "faces uncertain times, including the ramification of the recently enacted federal tax bill". The college would aim to help 2.5 million students earn credentials through more-flexible and affordable digital learning options.
To be eligible for the new funds, colleges would have to adopt a series of reforms, such as partnerships with K-12 schools, additional guidance and other changes as spelled out in the law.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said in November that the state was on track to end the 2018-19 fiscal year with $19.3 billion in total reserves.
While living expenses for students far exceed the cost of attending a community college, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the chancellor of the California Community Colleges, suggested marketing college as free can have a powerful effect on encouraging students to enroll. Brown's Local Control Funding Formula increased funding for districts with disproportionate numbers of English-language learners, foster students and students from impoverished families to help them all have better chances at leading successful lives. The plan is to use $100 million over seven years to create the college and fund it annually at $20 million. The University of Wisconsin offers online degree paths through what it calls the UW Flexible Option.
The new college appears to follow another trend in the higher education: competency-based education.
The plan isn't without its naysayers and details on tuition remain unsettled.
California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan says that, under the governor's proposal, tens of thousands of qualified students would be turned away every year. It wasn't that fickle when he first took office over 40 years ago.
The budget reflects the first full year of funding under the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1), which provides stable, long-term funding for both state and local transportation infrastructure. NY residents can also complete online degree programs through the State Univeristy of New York's Open SUNY program, which allows learners to take courses from more than 470 degree programs within the SUNY system.
However, the UC released a statement on the same day that the increase in funding is still less than what was anticipated under a previous agreement between the University and the governor, and that it does not include funding for UC enrollment growth. I applaud the Governor for bringing our budget reserve to 10% of the total state budget.
"If it were to pass, it would be a blow to California's economy", Brown said of the repeal drive. They have more to do with excessively optimistic forecasts than they do with real gaps between current spending and revenues.
"There is a lot more flexibility than is now assumed by those who discuss the California rule", Brown said.
This budget isn't the last word on how much state support colleges will receive next year.
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