CASTROVILLE, CA (STL.News) California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled another component of his $100 billion California Comeback Plan: transforming California public schools into gateways of equity and opportunity. Governor Newsom’s plan represents the highest level of state school funding in California history, investing an additional $20 billion to support the potential of every California student and make the structural change necessary to reduce barriers while increasing opportunities across the board, including massive investments in K-12 public schools, creating universal Pre-K and college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income children in public schools.
“We’re doing more than just fully reopening for the upcoming school year, we’re proposing historic investments in public schools to create new opportunities for every student, especially for our neediest students, so that every child can thrive, regardless of their race or zip code,” said Governor Newsom. “To achieve this goal, we’re going big – targeting $20 billion of investments to transform our public schools, including the creation of universal Pre-K and the establishment of college savings accounts for 3.7 million disadvantaged kids for higher education pursuits or to start their own business.”
Under the California Comeback Plan, the state will make targeted investments of $20 billion into public education to make sure every public school can fundamentally transform into the kind of complete campus every parent would want for their child: before- and after-school instruction, sports and arts, personalized tutoring, nurses and counselors, and nutrition – paired with new preventative behavioral health services for every kid in California. This includes $3 billion to create thousands of full-service community schools, with wraparound mental health, social and family services; $4 billion over five years to transform the youth behavioral health system to identify and treat behavioral health needs early; and additional billions more toward investments in accelerated learning and our teachers and school staff.
“California kids and young adults need new investments and supports to make up for the burdens they faced over the past year – and even before the pandemic – and Governor Newsom’s California Comeback Plan goes above and beyond to put our students first,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “By prioritizing the behavioral health needs of our young people – through before- and after-school instruction, behavioral health, social and family services – we can provide the younger generation with unparalleled opportunities to thrive.”
To make college more accessible to low-income California kids, the Governor proposes investing $2 billion to seed college savings accounts for vulnerable students currently enrolled in K-12 public schools, including a $500 base deposit for students from low-income families, English learners and foster youth, and a $500 supplemental deposit for foster and homeless youth. The savings account can be used later in life for higher education or to start their own business. California will also finally achieve universal Pre-K, providing high-quality, free transitional kindergarten to all four-year-olds in California, regardless of income or immigrations status. The Comeback Plan also adds 100,000 child care slots and subsidies to bring down the cost of child care.
COVID-19 presented a crisis without precedent this century, especially for school communities throughout California and the nation. That’s why the Newsom Administration is investing in a safe return to full in-person instruction for all schools, with $2 billion to implement health and safety measures, including improved ventilation and measures to expand access to vaccines and testing. This is on top of a historic $6.6 billion investment earlier this year in schools to get local communities the resources they need to reopen safely.