More than 2.3 million California TK-12 public school students bring a linguistic asset with them to school every day: living in homes where a language other than English is spoken. A majority of these students (1.2 million) demonstrate English proficiency during their school years. But, students’ home language skills are often neglected at school due to California’s shortage of bilingual education teachers. Neglecting students’ language assets means they may not become biliterate, causing them to miss out on numerous advantages biliteracy provides such as cognitive benefits and increased competitiveness once students enter the workplace.
To help students achieve biliteracy, California must address its shortage of adequately trained bilingual education teachers. The magnitude of this shortage can be assessed by looking at the number of teachers who have been authorized to teach bilingually in recent years, which pales in comparison to the number of TK-12 students who live in homes where languages other than English are spoken. Specifically, a large imbalance exists between 1) the number of students who live in homes where one of the top 10 languages is spoken and 2) teachers who earned an authorization to teach in those languages from 2012-13 to 2021-22 (See Table).
The bilingual teacher shortage is a significant obstacle for California students to achieve biliteracy. One step the Legislature can take to address this shortage is reinstating the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP), which expired in June 2021. Last year, the California Department of Education reported the BTPDP “was very successful and helped address a critical teacher shortage area that is in high demand.” The Legislature should fund the BTPDP and build on its success, especially to help the millions of California TK-12 students with home language assets achieve biliteracy.
Demand for TK-12 Bilingual Education Teachers Outstrips Supply in California
Students from Homes Where a Language Other Than English Is Spoken
Bilingual Authorizations Issued from 2012-13 Through 2021-22
Student-to-Bilingual Authorization Ratio
*Note: A bilingual authorization authorizes teachers to deliver instruction in languages other than English and does not include teaching intern credentials, permits, and waivers.
Source: California Department of Education and California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Support for this report was provided by the Sobrato Family Foundation and the Stuart Foundation.
The diversity of California’s students is an invaluable asset that enables our communities to thrive. State leaders have a responsibility to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and achieve their goals. Yet, many California students of color face persistent challenges. To address these challenges, Governor Newsom’s “Equity Multiplier” proposal would increase funding to … Continued
Every year, California’s governor and Legislature adopt a state budget that provides a framework and funding for critical public services and systems — from child care and health care to housing and transportation to colleges and K-12 schools.
But the state budget is about more than dollars and cents.
The budget expresses our values as well as our priorities for Californians and as a state. At its best, the budget should reflect our collective efforts to expand economic opportunities, promote well-being, and improve the lives of Californians who are denied the chance to share in our state’s wealth and who deserve the dignity and support to lead thriving lives.
State budget choices have an impact on all Californians and these decisions are particularly important for the nearly 6 million students in California’s K-12 public schools. Because the state budget provides the majority of funding that K-12 public schools receive each year, it is critical for Californians to understand and participate in the annual budget process to ensure that state leaders are making the strategic choices needed to allow every K-12 student — from different races, backgrounds, and places — to thrive and share in our state’s economic and social life.
This guide sheds light on the state budget, the budget process, and why they matter for K-12 students and schools with the goal of giving Californians the tools needed to effectively engage decision makers and advocate for fair and just policy choices.
the bottom line
The state spending plan is about more than dollars and cents.
Crafting the budget provides an opportunity for Californians to express our values and priorities as a state.
The state Constitution establishes the rules of the budget process.
Among other things, these rules allow lawmakers to approve spending with a simple majority vote but require a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. Voters periodically revise the budget process by approving constitutional amendments.
The governor has the lead role in the budget process
Proposing a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year gives the governor the first word in each year’s budget deliberations.
The May Revision gives the governor another opportunity to set the budget and policy agenda for the state.
Veto power generally gives the governor the last word.
The Legislature reviews and revises the governor’s proposals.
Lawmakers can alter the governor’s proposals and advance their own initiatives as they craft their version of the budget prior to negotiating an agreement with the governor.
Budget decisions are made throughout the year.
The public has various opportunities for input during the budget process.
This includes writing letters of support or opposition, testifying at legislative hearings, and meeting with officials from the governor’s administration as well as with legislators and their staffs.
In short, Californians have ample opportunity to stay engaged and involved in the budget process year-round.
California’s State Budget & Why It Matters for K-12 School Funding
The State Budget Consists of Three Types of State Funds
three types of state funds
General Fund — The state General Fund accounts for revenues that are not designated for a specific purpose.
Special Funds — Over 500 state special funds account for taxes, fees, and licenses that are designated for a specific purpose.
Bond Funds — State bond funds account for the receipt and disbursement of general obligation (GO) bond proceeds.
The state General Fund provides more than 95% of state spending that supports K-12 education.
The Largest Share of State General Fund Spending Supports K-12 Education
Under the enacted 2022-23 state budget:
Nearly one-third of General Fund dollars (33.1%) supports K-12 education.
Almost 3 out of every 10 General Fund dollars (29.3%) pays for health and human services.
Roughly 1 out of every 10 General Fund dollars (10.1%) goes to higher education.
Less than 1 out of every 10 General Fund dollars (6.3%) supports corrections, primarily the state prison system.
More than 1 out of 5 General Fund dollars (21.3%) goes to other essential services and institutions, such as transportation, environmental protection, the state’s court system, and so-called “General Government,” which consists of a variety of statewide expenses such as emergency expenditures.
Most General Fund Revenues Come From Three State Taxes
More than 9 out of every 10 General Fund dollars (just over 94%) under the enacted 2022-23 state budget are projected to come from:
The personal income tax (61.8%),
The corporation tax (17.3%); and
Sales and use taxes (15.3%)
The remaining General Fund dollars in 2022-23 are projected to come from smaller state revenue sources (5.7%), such as insurance and cigarette taxes.
The Majority of K-12 Education Funding Comes From the State
In 2020-21, K-12 school districts and county offices of education received:
More than half of their dollars (nearly 56%) from the state;
Nearly one-quarter of their dollars (24.6%) from local property taxes;
More than 1 in 10 (13.1%) of their dollars from the federal government, which included funding to mitigate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
Only 6.5% of their dollars from other local sources of revenue, such as parcel taxes and fees for the use of school buildings.
Most K-12 Education Funding Is Allocated Through the Local Control Funding Formula
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is the primary funding formula for K-12 school districts and county offices of education.
State policymakers fundamentally restructured the state’s K-12 education finance system when they enacted the LCFF in 2013.
The LCFF is an equity-based formula that provides a base grant per K-12 student, adjusted to reflect the number of students at various grade levels, as well as additional grants for English learners, students from low-income families, and foster youth.
The Legislature determines LCFF grant levels in the annual state budget.
LCFF Dollars Come From the State and from Local Property Taxes
In 2020-21, nearly 2 out of every 3 dollars (66.2%) that K-12 school districts and county offices of education received were allocated through the LCFF.
Slightly less than two-thirds of LCFF dollars came from the state and slightly more than one-third came from local property taxes.
State Budget and Policy Choices Are Key to Determining the Allocation of K-12 School Funding
The state budget provides most of the funds that K-12 schools use to educate California’s 5.9 million K-12 students.
These funds go to more than 1,000 school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools.
The size of the state budget is a key factor that determines the total amount of annual funding K-12 schools receive.
However, the Legislature and governor decide how these state funds are allocated across the state.
Understanding the financial resources available to K-12 schools requires familiarity with the state budget and the state budget process.
Assembly Budget Committee and Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee
Review the governor’s budget proposals and develop each house’s version of the state budget. Most budget committee work is done through subcommittees that focus on specific policy areas.
The initial budget bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, after any line-item vetoes. The Budget Act can be referred to by the year in which it becomes law (“Budget Act of 2021”) or by the fiscal year to which it applies (“2021-22 Budget Act”).
Budget Bill Jr.
The informal term to describe any budget bill that amends the Budget Act. Budget Bill Jrs. may be numbered sequentially using Roman numerals (e.g., Budget Bill Jr. I, Budget Bill Jr. II, etc.).
Budget-Related Bills ("Trailer Bills")
Generally make changes to state law related to the budget bill. Trailer bills typically move in tandem with the budget bill through the Assembly and Senate budget committees. Trailer bills also may move independently of the budget bill — such as through the Legislature’s policy bill process — and still be considered part of the overall “budget package.”
Department of Finance (DOF)
Leads the development of the governor’s budget proposals, prepares the governor’s budget documents, testifies on behalf of the governor at legislative budget hearings, develops the governor’s economic forecasts, and performs several other functions. The DOF’s director is the governor’s chief fiscal adviser.
Governor's Budget Summary
Provides the governor’s economic and revenue outlook, highlights major policy initiatives in the governor’s proposed budget, and summarizes proposed state expenditures. The budget summary is released on or before January 10.
Governor's Proposed Budget
Provides a detailed overview of the governor’s proposed expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year, estimated expenditures for the current fiscal year, and actual expenditures for the prior fiscal year. The proposed budget is released on or before January 10
Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO)
An independent, nonpartisan office that conducts research and analysis on state budget issues, analyzes statewide ballot measures, and provides fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature. The LAO is overseen by the Legislature’s bipartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
The governor’s power to reduce or eliminate specific items of appropriation while approving other portions of a bill. This power applies to any bill that contains an appropriation, including budget bills and budget-related bills. The Legislature may override a line-item veto with a two-thirds vote of each house.
Released on or before May 14, the May Revision updates the governor’s economic and revenue outlook; adjusts the governor’s proposed expenditures to reflect revised estimates and assumptions; revises, supplements, or withdraws policy initiatives that were included in the governor’s proposed budget in January; and outlines adjustments to the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee for K-14 education.
The Constitutional Framework
The governor and legislators craft the state’s annual spending plan according to rules outlined in the state Constitution.
California voters periodically revise these rules by approving constitutional amendments that appear on the statewide ballot.
Proposals to amend the state Constitution can be placed on the ballot through a citizens’ initiative or by the Legislature.
A constitutional amendment takes effect if approved by a simple majority of voters.
Three Key Budget Deadlines
Two in the State Constitution (January 10 and June 15), One in State Law (May 14)
The governor must propose a budget for the upcoming fiscal year on or before January 10. The budget must be balanced: Estimated revenues (as determined by the governor) must meet or exceed the governor’s proposed spending.
The governor must release the May Revision on or before May 14.
The Legislature must pass a budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year by midnight on June 15. The budget bill must be balanced: Estimated General Fund revenues (as set forth in the budget bill passed by the Legislature) must meet or exceed General Fund spending.
Proposition 25: Simple Majority Vote for Budget Bill and Most Budget-Related Bills
The budget package generally may be passed by a simple majority vote of each house of the Legislature.
Prop. 25 of 2010 allows lawmakers to pass, by a simple majority vote, the budget bill as well as certain budget-related bills (“trailer bills”) that may take effect as soon as the governor signs them. Typically, the budget package consists entirely or primarily of such majority-vote bills.
To qualify as a budget-related bill under Prop. 25, a bill must (1) be listed in the budget bill and (2) contain an appropriation of any amount.
The budget package may include bills that require a two-thirds vote of each house, such as bills to raise taxes or to place constitutional amendments or general obligation bonds before the voters.
Proposition 25: Penalties for a Late Budget
Lawmakers face penalties if they fail to pass the budget bill on or before June 15.
Prop. 25 requires lawmakers to permanently forfeit both their pay and their reimbursement for travel and living expenses for each day after June 15 that the budget bill is not passed and sent to the governor.
These penalties do not apply to budget-related bills, which do not have to be passed on or before June 15.
Proposition 26: Supermajority Vote for Tax Increases
Any tax increase requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature.
Under the state Constitution, “any change in state statute which results in any taxpayer paying a higher tax” requires a two-thirds vote of each house.
This standard was imposed by Prop. 26 of 2010. This measure expanded the definition of a tax increase and thus the scope of the two-thirds vote requirement, which was originally imposed by Prop. 13 of 1978.
Prior to Prop. 26, only bills changing state taxes “for the purpose of increasing revenues” required a two-thirds vote. Bills that increased some taxes but reduced others by an equal or larger amount could be passed by a simple majority vote of each house.
Proposition 26: More Charges Are Classified as Taxes
Prop. 26 of 2010 also expanded the definition of a tax to include some fees.
Prior to Prop. 26, lawmakers could create or increase fees by a simple majority vote. These majority-vote fees included regulatory fees intended to address health, environmental, or other problems caused by various products, such as alcohol, oil, or hazardous materials.
Prop. 26 reclassified regulatory and certain other fees as taxes. As a result, a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature is now required for many charges that previously were considered fees and could be passed by a simple majority vote.
Additional Supermajority Vote Requirements
The state Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature in order to:
Appropriate money from the General Fund, except for appropriations that are for public schools or that are included in the budget bill or in budget-related bills that meet the requirements of Prop. 25.
Pass bills that take effect immediately (urgency statutes), except for the budget bill and Prop. 25 budget-related bills.
Place constitutional amendments or general obligation bond measures before the voters.
Override the governor’s veto of a bill or an item of appropriation.
A Bill Must Be Published for at Least 72 Hours Before the Legislature Can Act on It
Proposition 54 of 2016 requires bills to be distributed to legislators and published on the Internet, in their final form, at least 72 hours before being passed by the Legislature.
This rule applies to all bills, including the budget bill and other legislation included in the budget package.
This mandatory review period can be waived for a bill if:
The governor declares an emergency in response to a disaster or extreme peril, and
Two-thirds of legislators in the house considering the bill vote to waive the review period.
Proposition 98: A Funding Guarantee for K-12 Schools and Community Colleges
Prop. 98 of 1988 guarantees a minimum annual level of funding for K-14 education.
The amount of the guarantee is calculated each year based on one of three tests that apply under varying fiscal and economic conditions. Two of these tests include adjustments for changes in statewide K-12 attendance. Prop. 98 funding comes from the state General Fund and local property tax revenues.
The Legislature can suspend the guarantee for a single year by a two-thirds vote of each house and provide less funding. Following a suspension, the state must increase Prop. 98 funding over time to the level that it would have reached absent the suspension.
While the Legislature can provide more funding than Prop. 98 requires the guarantee has generally served as a maximum funding level.
Proposition 2: Saving for a Rainy Day, Paying Down Debt
Prop. 2 of 2014 revised the rules that apply to the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) — the state’s constitutional rainy day fund — and also established a new requirement to pay down state budgetary debt.
The state is required to set aside 1.5% of General Fund revenues each year, plus additional dollars in years when tax revenues from capital gains are particularly strong.
Until 2029-30, half of the revenues go into the BSA and the other half must be used to pay down state budgetary debt, which includes unfunded pension liabilities. Starting in 2030-31, the entire annual transfer goes into the BSA.
State policymakers may suspend or reduce the BSA deposit and withdraw funds from the reserve, but only under limited circumstances that qualify as a “budget emergency.”
Proposition 2: A Budget Reserve for K-14 Education
Prop. 2 of 2014 also created a state budget reserve for K-12 schools and community colleges called the Public School System Stabilization Account (PSSSA).
Deposits come from state capital gains tax revenues in years when those revenues are particularly strong.
However, various conditions must be met before these dollars could be transferred to the PSSSA. For example, transfers could occur only in so-called “Test 1” years under Prop. 98, which have been rare.
Proposition 55: Potential New Funding for Medi-Cal from a Tax on the Wealthiest Californians
Prop. 55 of 2016 extends, through 2030, personal income tax rate increases on very high-income Californians and establishes a formula to boost funding for Medi-Cal, which provides health care services to Californians with low incomes.
Starting in 2018-19, General Fund revenues — including those raised by Prop. 55 — must first be used to fund (1) the annual Prop. 98 guarantee for K-12 schools and community colleges and (2) the cost of other services that were authorized as of January 1, 2016, as adjusted for population changes, federal mandates, and other factors.
If any Prop. 55 revenues remain after meeting these required expenditures, Medi-Cal would receive 50% of this excess, up to a maximum of $2 billion in any fiscal year.
Prop. 55 has not yet resulted in any additional funding for Medi-Cal.
State Appropriations Limit (SAL): A Cap on Spending
Appropriations are subject to a limit established by Prop. 4 of 1979, as modified by later initiatives. This spending cap is often called the Gann Limit.
The SAL limits the amount of state tax proceeds that can be appropriated each year. This limit is adjusted annually for changes in population and per capita personal income.
Some appropriations from tax proceeds do not count toward the limit, including debt service and spending that is needed to comply with court or federal mandates.
Revenues that exceed the SAL over a two-year period are divided equally between Prop. 98 spending and taxpayer rebates. The state last exceeded the SAL in 2020-21 (but did not do so in the prior year).
State Mandates: Pay for Them or Suspend Them
The state is required to pay for or suspend mandates that it imposes on local governments.
Prop. 4 of 1979 requires the state to reimburse local governments for costs related to a new program or a higher level of service that is mandated by the state.
Prop. 1A of 2004 expanded the definition of a mandate to include the transfer of financial responsibility from the state to local governments.
Prop. 1A also requires the state to suspend a mandate in any year in which local governments’ costs are not fully reimbursed.
What do the Governor and the Legislature Do?
Approves, modifies, or rejects spending proposals prepared by state departments and agencies through an internal process coordinated by the DOF.
Proposes a spending plan for the state each January, which is introduced as the budget bill in the Legislature.
Updates and revises the proposed budget each May (the “May Revision”).
Signs or vetoes the bills included in the budget package.
Can veto all or part of individual appropriations (line items), but cannot increase any appropriations above the level approved by the Legislature.
Approves, modifies, or rejects the governor’s proposals.
Can add new spending or make other changes that substantially revise the governor’s proposals.
Needs a simple majority vote of each house to pass the budget bill and Prop. 25 budget-related bills.
Needs a two-thirds vote to pass certain other bills that may be part of the budget package, such as bills that increase taxes or propose constitutional amendments.
Needs a two-thirds vote of each house to override the governor’s veto of a bill or an appropriation.
What Happens When?
The state budget process is cyclical. Decisions are made throughout the year.
State departments and agencies develop baseline budgets to maintain existing service levels in the upcoming fiscal year and may prepare “budget change proposals” intended to alter service levels. The DOF review these documents.
Following a series of meetings within the governor’s administration, the governor makes final decisions and the DOF prepares the proposed budget for release in January.
Independent of the governor, legislative leaders their budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.
The governor releases the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
January to Mid-May
Budget committees and their subcommittees hold dozens of headings to review the governor’s proposals and make initial decisions.
Mid-May to June
The governor releases the May Revision by May 14.
Each house of the Legislature then finalizes its version of the budget. A legislative conference committee may meet to resolve differences.
Legislative leaders and the governor meet to address outstanding issues.
The constitutional deadline for lawmakers to pass the budget bill.
This deadline does not apply to budget-related bills, which can be passed at any time.
The new fiscal year begins.
The governor may sign the budget bill and budget-related bills — as well as issue vetoes — by this date.
July and Beyond
The Legislature may pass, by a simple majority vote, amendments that change the spending levels in the adopted budget bill.
Lawmakers also may pass additional budget-related bills, thus increasing the size and scope of the original budget package.
State departments and agencies develop baseline budgets and budget change proposals for the following fiscal year and submit them to the DOF, starting the state budget process anew.
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Having a safe, stable place to live is crucial for student development and educational success. But more than 220,000 of California’s public K-12 students experienced homelessness in 2020-21. This includes children temporarily staying with other families due to economic hardship, and children living in motels, shelters, vehicles, public spaces, or substandard housing.
Latinx, Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander students were disproportionately likely to experience homelessness. These students also experience high rates of chronic absenteeism causing them to lose critical access to curriculum and social structures that schools, educators, and peers offer.
Students’ housing situations shouldn’t block them from learning opportunities. Policymakers should boost investments in safe, affordable housing and target additional funding and resources for students who experience homelessness to ensure every California K-12 student can thrive in school and life.
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