Ed Trust–West Statement In Response to California’s Final 2020-2021 Budget

Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga issued the following statement on behalf of The Education Trust–West:

The budget signed by Governor Newsom last night contains important and difficult choices to protect students — especially students of color and low-income students — from the worst of the recession. It also shows that lawmakers in Sacramento have more work to do and that California will need significant additional federal investments to avoid exacerbating longstanding educational equity challenges. 

Budgeting in a recession is never easy. But hard decisions are when we show our true values. The decisions we make now will determine whether we allow this crisis to widen opportunity gaps or whether we recommit to closing them. 

At the PreK-12 level, we are encouraged that this budget preserves the current rates of reimbursement for early care and education providers for their services to high-need children, prevents teacher and staff layoffs, and embraces our Equity Coalition’s call to invest in learning supports for low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. We are also pleased that the budget requires districts to address equity concerns about distance learning and to work in partnership with communities on plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Still, the Governor and legislature must implement additional measures to ensure that students of color and low-income students receive adequate instructional time and opportunities to engage with teachers. And it is vital to pass AB 1835 to ensure that all supplemental and concentration funds are spent effectively and equitably.

In higher education, we appreciate that this budget reduces the cuts envisioned by earlier proposals, but our public colleges and universities still face significant challenges without additional federal investments. We commend Governor Newsom and the legislature for supporting undocumented students, extending the hold harmless period for the Student Centered Funding Formula, funding a community college COVID-19 response block grant, and investing in summer financial aid. We are also pleased to see intent language for the UC and CSU to mitigate the impact of cuts on low-income students, students from underrepresented groups, and ensure transparency in budgeting decisions.

Make no mistake though, without additional investments, we will lose out on progress we’ve made as a state on college access and affordability in California. This budget wisely includes a funding restoration option to reverse cuts to state colleges and universities if the state receives additional federal funding. Our state and federal representatives must now come together to secure added support and prevent a college access and affordability disaster like the one we saw in the wake of the 2008 recession.

Overall, this is a good start, but as the Governor and the Legislature continue their work throughout the summer, they must prioritize giving districts, schools, colleges, and educators the tools they need to meet students’ basic needs, address learning loss, and accelerate progress toward closing opportunity gaps. 

As advocates, citizens, and voters, we also have a role to play. We must continue to work to fund public schools by passing the School and Communities First initiative on the November ballot. And we must end the era of willful ignorance toward racial inequity by repealing Proposition 209 and restoring affirmative action. We commend the Governor’s endorsement of ACA 5 allowing California voters to reinstate affirmative action and invite Governor Newsom to endorse the School and Communities First Initiative. Both of these system-changing ballot initiatives will take a step forward towards a California for All.


Protecting Essential Services: The Budget preserves reimbursement rates for early learning and care providers at 2019-10 levels, provides a hold harmless provision in 2020-21 for providers with direct contracts with the California Department of Education (CDE), and provides reimbursement to providers accepting vouchers at a child’s maximum certified level of need.

CARES Act Funding for Child Care: California received $350.3 million in federal funds for COVID-19 related child care activities. The Budget includes a spending plan that includes family fee waivers and provider payment protection, stipends for state-subsidized child care providers, and support for at-risk children and children of essential workers. The Budget also includes language that will help allocate potential future federal funding (up to $300 million) toward child care, and includes allocation of funds to expand access for families eligible for subsidies who are not currently being served or those receiving limited-term subsidies, limited-term stipends for state-subsidized child care providers offering child care during COVID-19, and funds to assist providers with re-opening their facilities.

Transition of Child Care Programs: The Budget includes $2.3 million General Fund to transition Child Care Programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Social Services, which will unify all child care programs within a single department and maximize the alignment of early learning and care programs with other social safety net programs that support children and families.

Early Learning and Care Data System: The Budget includes $9.3 million one-time federal funds to develop and implement an early learning and care data system.

LCFF Investment: The Budget maintains the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) at its 2019–20 levels.

Deferrals: The Budget defers $1.9 billion of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding in 2019-20, growing to $11 billion LCFF in funding deferrals in 2020-21. LCFF funding will remain at 2019-2020 levels in both fiscal years; the Budget suspends the statutory LCFF cost-of-living adjustment in 2020-21. Of the total deferrals, $5.8 billion will be cancelled in 2020-21 if the federal government provides sufficient funding that can be used for this purpose.

Pension Relief: The Budget redirects $2.3 billion appropriated in 2019 to reduce the amount of the CalSTRS and CalPERS unfunded obligation, and instead redirects these funds to reduce the employer contribution rates in 2020-21 and 2021-22. This reallocation will further reduce the CalSTRS employer rate from 18.41 percent to approximately 16.15 percent in 2020-21 and from 17.9 percent to 16.02 percent in 2021-22. The CalPERS Schools Pool employer contribution rate will be further reduced from 22.67 percent to 20.7 percent in 2020-21 and from 24.6 percent to 22.84 percent in 2021-22.

Learning Loss Mitigation:  The Budget includes a one-time investment of $5.3 billion ($4.4 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, $539.9 million Proposition 98 General Fund, and $355.2 million federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund) to local educational agencies to address learning loss related to COVID-19 school closures.

Specifically, funds will be allocated in the following manner:

  • $2.9 billion based on the LCFF supplemental and concentration grant allocation.
  • $1.5 billion based on number of students with exceptional needs.
  • $979.8 million based on total LCFF allocation.

Funds may be used for:

  • Learning supports that begin prior to the start of the school year, and the continuing intensive instruction and supports into the school year.
  • Extending the instructional school year, including an earlier start date, by increasing the number of instructional minutes or days.
  • Providing additional academic services for pupils, including diagnostic assessments of student learning needs, intensive instruction for addressing gaps in core academic skills, additional instructional materials or supports, or devices and connectivity for the provision of in-classroom and distance learning.
  • Providing integrated student supports to address other barriers to learning, such as the provision of health, counseling or mental health services; professional development opportunities to help teachers and parents support pupils in distance-learning contexts; access to school breakfast and lunch programs; or programs to address student trauma and social-emotional learning.

Learning Continuity and Attendance Plans: In April, the Governor issued Executive Order N-56-20, which allowed local educational agencies to submit local control and accountability plans, normally due July 1, 2020, by December 15, 2020. The Budget replaces the December local control and accountability plan with a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, to be completed by September 30, 2020. The Budget requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in consultation with the executive director of the State Board of Education, to develop the template for the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan by August 1, 2020, and requires the template to include all of the following:

  • A description of how the local educational agency will provide continuity of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and address all of the following:
    • Distance learning;
    • Learning loss;
    • Mental health and social-emotional well-being;
    • Professional development;
    • Pupil engagement and outreach; and
    • School nutrition.
  • Local educational agency expenditures related to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • How local educational agencies are increasing or improving services in proportion to funds generated on the basis of the number and concentration of English learners, youth in foster care, and low-income students pursuant to the local control funding formula.

In adopting the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, local educational agencies must consult with stakeholders, solicit stakeholder input, and hold public hearings on the plan.

Special Education:  The Budget increases special education base rates to $625 per pupil pursuant to a new funding formula, apportioned using the existing hold harmless methodology, and provides $100 million to increase funding for students with low-incidence disabilities. The Budget also includes: (1) $15 million federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds for the Golden State Teacher Scholarship Program to increase the special education teacher pipeline, (2) $8.6 million federal IDEA funds to assist local educational agencies with developing regional alternative dispute resolution services and statewide mediation services, and (3) $1.1 million federal IDEA funds for a study of the current special education governance and accountability structure, as well as three workgroups to create a statewide Individualized Education Program template, provide recommendations on alternative pathways to a diploma for students with disabilities, and study the costs of out-of-home care.

Department of Education State Operations: The Budget provides a total increase of $436,000 non-Proposition 98 General Funds for the following:

  • $336,000 ongoing non-Proposition 98 General Fund for the School Fiscal Services Division for workload associated with deferrals and average daily attendance changes.
  • $100,000 one-time non-Proposition 98 General Fund for the Department of Education to develop a template for the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan in consultation with the executive director of the State Board of Education.

Other Federal Funds: In addition to the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund allocated to K-12 education above, the Budget appropriates $1.6 billion in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds that California was recently awarded. Of this amount, 90 percent ($1.5 billion) will be allocated to local educational agencies in proportion to the amount of Title I-A funding they receive to be used for COVID-19 related costs. The remaining 10 percent ($164.7 million) is available for COVID-19 related state-level activities, as follows:

  • $112.2 million to provide up to $0.75 per meal for local educational agencies participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Seamless Summer Option, or Summer Food Service Program and serving meals between March 2020 and August 2020 due to physical school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $45 million for grants to local educational agencies, including county offices of education, to coordinate or expand community schools to increase access to health, mental health, and social service supports for high-needs students.
  • $6 million for the University of California Subject Matter Projects to provide educator professional development for providing high-quality distance learning and addressing learning loss in mathematics, science, and English language arts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $1.5 million for the Department of Education for state operations costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee Protections: The Budget includes the following:

  • Suspension of the August 15, 2020, layoff window for teachers and other non-administrative  certificated staff.
  • Suspension of layoffs for classified staff working in transportation, nutrition, and custodial services from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

Average Daily Attendance: The Budget provides the following:

  • Funding for average daily attendance will not decrease in 2020-2021, even if average daily attendance has declined; average daily attendance will be based on the 2019-20 year, except for new charter schools starting instruction in 2020-21.
  • An exemption for local educational agencies from the annual requirement for a minimum amount of instructional minutes. The minimum daily instructional minutes and minimum instructional day requirements are maintained, but may be met through a combination of in-person and distance learning instruction.
  • Fiscal penalties for local educational agencies offering distance learning that do not meet instructional day requirements or the attendance-related requirements.
  • Requirements for distance learning services, including the provision of devices and connectivity and supports for students with exceptional needs, English language learner students, youth in foster care, and youth experiencing homelessness, as well as students in need of mental health supports. Daily interaction with students in distance learning is required and local educational agencies are required to provide access to nutrition programs.
  • Distance learning attendance requirements, including documentation of daily student participation, weekly engagement records, and attendance reporting for purposes of chronic absenteeism tracking. The Budget also requires local educational agencies offering distance learning to develop tiered re-engagement strategies for students who do not participate and to regularly engage with parents or guardians regarding academic progress.
  • A material revision exemption for site-based charter schools offering distance learning.
  • Additionally, the Budget provides $750,000 one-time Proposition 98 General Fund for the Sacramento County Office of Education to develop distance learning curriculum and instructional guidance for mathematics, English language arts, and English language development, for adoption by the State Board of Education by May 31, 2021.

Classified Employee Summer Assistance: The Budget provides an increase of $60 million in Proposition 98 General Funds to provide a match of state funds for participating classified employees to be paid during the summer recess period.

School Policing: The Budget includes $200,000 one-time non-Proposition 98 General Fund for the creation of a Young People’s Task Force, whose members can speak to the lived reality of school policing and will inform changes in policy, contingent on the enactment of future legislation. The Budget also includes intent language for the Legislature to evaluate the presence of law enforcement on school campuses and consider reforms informed by local needs to improve student safety.

Overall Higher Education funding: The Budget includes $19.4 billion from the General Fund and local property tax revenues for all higher education entities in 2020-21.

Tuition: No clear indication from the Governor on how tuition might be affected by proposed cuts and reductions.

Summer Financial Aid Program at the UC and CSU: The Budget provides $10 million General Fund, $6 million for CSU and $4 million for UC, for summer term financial aid.

University of California 

Base Resources: The Budget provides $169.2 million General Fund, or 5-percent, base increase to lighten the impact of contingent General Fund reductions.

General Fund decrease: The Budget reflects a net General Fund decrease of $258.4 million.

UC Trigger reduction: As a result of the COVID-19 recession, a reduction totaling $471.6 million (i.e., “trigger cuts”) to the budget will be necessary if California does not receive additional federal funds by October 15, 2020. In implementing this reduction, the Administration expects UC to minimize the potential impact of these reductions on disadvantaged students, and implement the budget adjustments associated with these reductions in ways that do not disproportionately impact disadvantaged students. It’s also expected that UC use their available reserves to mitigate the impact of these reductions from one fiscal year to the next.

Subject Matter Project: The Budget provides $6 million in one-time federal funds to support projects to address learning loss in mathematics, science, and English and language arts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deferred Maintenance: The Budget authorizes UC to redirect up to $21.6 million in deferred maintenance funding from the 2019 Budget Act to support for undergraduate instruction, undergraduate resident enrollment, student support services, and other core academic operations.

California State University

Base Resources: The Budget provides $199 million General Fund, or 5-percent, base increase to lighten the impact of contingent General Fund reductions.

General Fund decrease: The Budget reflects a net General Fund decrease of $299.1 million.

CSU Trigger reduction: As a result of the COVID-19 recession, a reduction totaling $498.1 million (i.e., “trigger cuts”) to the budget will be necessary if California does not receive additional federal funds by October 15, 2020. In implementing this reduction, the Administration expects CSU to minimize the potential impact of these reductions on disadvantaged students, and implement the budget adjustments associated with these reductions in ways that do not disproportionately impact disadvantaged students. It’s also expected that CSU use their available reserves to mitigate the impact of these reductions from one fiscal year to the next.

Deferred Maintenance: The Budget authorizes CSU to redirect up to $146 million in deferred maintenance funding from the 2019 Budget Act to support for undergraduate instruction, undergraduate resident enrollment, student support services, and other core academic operations.

California Community Colleges

Deferrals: As a result of COVID-19, the Budget authorizes late payments (i.e., deferrals) totaling $330.1 million in Prop. 98 General Fund community college apportionments from 2019-20 to 2020-21. It also authorizes a deferral of approximately $662.1 million Prop. 98 General Fund community college apportionments from 2020-21 to 2021-22. Deferrals are late payments to colleges that are needed because the state can’t meet its funding commitment. Deferrals let colleges budget for more money than the state will provide. They can spend as if there is no reduction in revenue.

CCC Trigger Deferral: As a result of COVID-19, the Budget proposes additional late payments (i.e., deferrals) totaling $791.1 million Prop. 98 General Fund community college apportionments from 2020-21 to 2021-22 as a result of the COVID-19 Recession. These deferrals will happen if California does not receive additional federal funds to assist the state with the fiscal crisis by October 15, 2020.

The Student-Centered Funding Formula: The Budget will extend the Student-Centered Funding Formula hold harmless provisions for an additional two years, and authorize the use of past-year data sources that have not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for the calculation of the Student-Centered Funding Formula for 2020-21. These statutory changes will assist CCCs in their recovery from the COVID-19 Recession and to provide them short-term stability.

COVID-19 Response Block Grant: The Budget provides a one-time increase of approximately $120.2 million for the COVID-19 Response Block Grant. This block grant is comprised of a mix of CARES Act funds and Prop. 98 General Funds that community colleges can use to support student learning and mitigate learning loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget requires a report on the use of these funds by March 1, 2021.

Legal Services for Undocumented Individuals: The Budget provides $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 General Fund to support immigrant legal services for community college students, faculty, and staff.

Dreamer Resource Liaisons: The Budget provides $5.8 million in Prop. 98 General Funds to fund Dreamer Resource Liaisons and student support services for immigrant students including undocumented students in community colleges. This program will not be rolled into Student Equity and Achievement Program funding, as proposed in the May Revision.

Food Pantries: The Budget enacts statutory changes to support food pantries within available Student Equity and Achievement Program funding.

Revised CalPERS/CalSTRS Contributions: The Budget redirects $2.3 billion appropriated in the 2019 Budget Act to CalSTRS and CalPERS to address long-term unfunded liabilities and reduce employer contribution rates in 2020-21 and 2021-22. This reallocation is intended to give community college districts increased fiscal relief.

Zero-Textbooks-Cost (ZTC) Degrees: The Budget does not include any funding ZTC degrees.

Instructional Materials for Dual Enrollment: The Budget does not include funding for dual enrollment instruction materials.

California Student Aid Commission

Cal Grant B Service Incentive Grant: The Budget provides $15 million one-time General Fund to support emergency financial aid for undocumented students at UC, CSU and the community colleges. Funding is made available by pausing the Dreamer Service Incentive Grant program, which will re-launch in 2021-22.

Student Loan and Debt Service Work Group: The Budget provides $250,000 one-time General Fund to convene a work group to analyze student loan borrowing patterns and develop more affordable loan repayment alternatives. It will no longer provide outreach grants to higher education institutions.

Golden State Teacher Grant Program: The Budget provides $15 million one-time federal funds to support grants to students enrolled in special education teacher preparation program at a high-need school site. The Budget also cuts $88.4 million in one-time General Funds provided in the 2019 Budget Act to support the Golden State Teacher Grant Program

Cal Grant Awards for Private Non-Profit: The Budget sets the Cal Grant amount for students attending private non-profit colleges and universities at $9,084 for the 2020-21 academic year.



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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.