- Posted by Team Helios
- On Apr 21, 2022
- 0 Comments
Are you really in education if funding doesn’t cross your mind at least once a day? The budget game is one that no one really likes to play. How to pay for the staff, schools, and supports that lend themselves to a stellar education for students is a never ending question. The good news (for once!) is that there is a bevy of new funding available for California schools. Available through grants, COVID-relief legislation, and additions to Proposition 98, there are plenty of exciting new funding opportunities available to you.
How Much Funding is Available?
As of today, there is $23 billion available in non-Proposition 98 funding. This is funding that exists in a general fund outside of the annual California school budget. These funds come from COVID relief acts like ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) as well as one time budget items set by the General Assembly.
Additionally, Governor Newsom provided $25 million in ongoing funding in his 2021-2022 budget to meet the mental health needs of students and staff in California schools. This funding is a match grant that encourages schools to create a three-year plan that focuses on supporting mental health needs and services. The State Board of Education is developing the application process that will require a renewal every third year.
Looking ahead into next school year, the Governor has proposed an additional $6.4 billion in one time funding to meet the extraordinary needs of schools in the pandemic era. As this is currently just a proposal and not yet part of the budget going into next year, it does not yet include any potential federal funding that may be granted for further COVID-19 relief.
How Can the Funding Be Used?
The lion’s share of the available funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and ESSER III funding. This money can be used as follows:
- $20 billion for school grants
- $302 million earmarked for students with disabilities
- $99 million earmarked for students experiencing homelessness
- Remainder must be used for:
- Addressing needs of low income students, minorities, and English Language learners
- Providing mental health support to both students and staff
- Supplies to sanitize school buildings and offices
- Purchase educational and adaptive technologies to serve students – particularly those who have low income
- $2 billion for Instruction and Expanded Learning Grants
- $301 million for After School Education and Safety Program
- $15 million for state operations – not available to schools
Much of the funding for the 2021-2022 school year has already been allocated, but there is $3.4 billion in reserve to be used for Expanded Learning grants through 2024.
The remaining funding comes from one-time budget allotments passed by the General Assembly in 2021. These funds include:
- $490 million for facilities grants for Early Childhood Education
- $150 million will be allocated in Spring of 2022. Application for major construction coming soon!
- $250 million for School Facilities
- Applications available for Major Construction and Modernization through the Office of Public School Construction
- $20 million to waive credentialing fees for new educators
- $10 million for California Preschool Learning foundations
- $7 Million for California Subject Matter Project
We have only listed items that still have active application processes or are still available to educators this school year. The complete list of non-proposition 98 budget items can be found here in the California K-12 Spending Plan for 2021 – 2022.
As this school year draws to a close, you are no doubt beginning to look ahead to what will be available to you in 2023 and beyond. Already, the Governor’s proposed budget has several important items to keep your eye on. In addition to increasing funding for Expanded Learning Grants to help make up the gaps left due to COVID-19, the Governor has signaled his continued commitment to transitioning to community schools.
California Budget and Policy Center highlighted several key one-time additions to school funding, such as:
- $1.5 billion for career pathway programs – specifically technology, healthcare, education, and climate science fields
- $1.5 billion for school transportation to update buses to manage environmental impact as well as provide better transportation in underserved locations
- $1.3 billion in NEW school facilities funding to construct new school buildings and modernize existing structures
- $700 million for early literacy program to provide literacy coaches and specialists in underserved schools
- $500 million for dual enrollment programs and student advising services.
If these proposed items are on your wish list, keep an eye on the California Budget site to stay updated on any changes. The budget will be revised in May and voted on this summer.
Stay Compliant With Reporting
Whether you are already benefiting from the funding opportunities available or you are in the application process, reporting through the Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) software is vital for compliance. Particularly with grants and COVID-19 funding, reporting is a necessary step to ensuring your funding for the upcoming year. Stay up to date on training and compliance through the California DOE SACS support page.