During the US Presidential elections of January, Californians had another important decision to make: were they willing to raise taxes in order to invest in education and healthcare? “Let’s raise taxes for our kids, for our schools, for our California dream,” Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said at the referendum.
The people of California voted in favor of Governor Brown’s proposal and suddenly the State’s enormous “Wall of Debt” will be chipped away, while large investments could be made at the same time.
California’s new, balanced budget allocates additional resources to California’s neediest students, Governor Brown stated. Where national debts in Europe are growing for years, California is steadily paying down. From its peak of $34.7 billion at the end of 2011, the outstanding debt is $26.9 billion at the end of 2013 and it will be paid down to $4.7 billion over the next four fiscal years.
No tuition hike
California will invest millions of dollars into its higher education system while students won’t have to pay extra. “The budget establishes the first-year investment in a multi-year stable funding plan for the University of California and the California State University systems. Each system will receive a 5 percent increase of $125.1 million – the first stage of a four-year funding schedule that will result in a 20 percent general fund increase for the systems.”
“The systems will also receive $125 million in 2013-14 for not increasing student tuition and fees in 2012-13. The budget also provides a year-over-year increase of $228.6 million in general fund dollars and local property taxes for California Community Colleges,” Brown said.
More and more efficient funding
Also the primary school system will get a significant increase in funds. “The budget adds $2.1 billion for first-year implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula. This will replace today’s overly complex, inefficient and inequitable finance system for California’s K-12 schools.”
“Districts will receive a per-pupil base grant, a supplemental grant based upon the number of students who are English learners, students from low-income families and foster youth and a concentration grant for districts with over 55 percent of this targeted population,” the Governor explained.
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