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By CTA Governmental Relations

For the last three years during the pandemic, the state budget process has looked different. The legislature has largely allowed for remote testimony from the public and even quarantined legislators, hearings have been consolidated or many cancelled, and the Legislature has taken early budget actions on items related to the impact of COVID-19, such as CTA’s supported early action on COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

The following is a summary of some of the major components of the final budget agreement related to community colleges. This includes updated revenue estimates and changes to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget. And like in recent years, the Legislature has foregone the Legislative Conference Committee process used to publicly discuss the final budget deliberations.

Apprenticeship

Approves the May Revision proposal to provide $45 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to support the implementation of the California Healthy School Meals Pathway Program, a pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and fellowship workforce training pipeline pilot program for school food service workers. Also approves the May Revision proposal to increase reimbursement rates in apprenticeship programs to match the full-time equivalent student rate.

Career Pathways

Approves the governor’s budget proposal to provide $130 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to support healthcare-focused vocational pathways for English language learners across all levels of English proficiency through the Adult Education Program.

Classified Summer Bridget Program

Approves the May Revision proposal to provide $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to establish the Classified Employee Summer Assistance Program for community college classified employees. Specifies that community college districts shall exclude any hours worked by the classified employee as a result of an extension of the academic year directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, if the hours would prevent the employee from being eligible for this program.

COLA

Provides COLA to the Academic Senate, part-time faculty office hours, and part-time faculty compensation categorical programs. Also approves the May Revision proposal to include COLA for the Disabled Student Programs and Services Program, Student Services for CalWORKs Recipients Program, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services Program, Campus Childcare Tax Bailout Program, Adult Education Program, and Mandates Block Grant program.

Enrollment Growth

Approves the May Revision proposal to support 0.5 percent enrollment growth.

Facilities, Maintenance, and Equipment

Approves the governor’s proposed Prop. 51- supported capital expenditures and provides $834.4 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding for facilities maintenance and instructional equipment.

Faculty and Staff Diversity

Provides $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to support the implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity best practices to diversify community college faculty, staff, and administrators.

Financial Aid Offices

Provides $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to support campus financial aid offices.

Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant

Includes $650 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding for the Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant to address barriers to learning, re-engagement strategies, grants to faculty to develop online, accelerated learning modules, professional development opportunities for faculty and student services professionals, investments to close the digital divide, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, or to discharge unpaid fees due or owed by a student to a community college in the district.

Part-Time Faculty Health Insurance

Approves the governor’s budget proposal to provide $200 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to augment the Part-Time Faculty Health Insurance Program. Includes Legislative intent to consider changes to the program to achieve parity between part-time faculty and multidistrict part-time faculty, maximize the State of California’s investment in this program, and incentivize more community college districts to provide quality and affordable medical care coverage to part-time faculty and multidistrict part-time faculty.

Other Ongoing Augmentations

Includes ongoing support for the following programs:

  • $30 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for the NextUp program for foster youth and eliminates the cap on the number of colleges that can participate in the program.
  • $25.7 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for Mathematics, Engineering, Science, and Achievement Program (MESA), for total funding of $36.4 million.
  • $25 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), for a total of $169.2 million.
  • $25 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for the Student Equity and Achievement program.
  • $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding for Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARES), for a total of $30.9 million.
  • $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to increase the rapid rehousing program. Total ongoing spending on this program is $19 million.
  • $25 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding for the Disabled Students Programs and Services Program, for a total of $159.7 million.
  • $15 million in ongoing Prop. 98 General Fund augmentation to the Rising Scholars program to support the implementation of model programming for juvenile justice-impacted students.
  • $10 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase to support the basic needs of community college students. Total ongoing spending on basic needs centers is $40 million.
  • $8 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding to support the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Student Achievement Program.
  • $3 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for the Puente Project, for a total of $12.3 million.
  • $1 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding increase for the Umoja program to promote student success for African American students, bringing total state support for Umoja to $8.5 million.

Other One-Time Augmentations

Includes one-time funding for the following programs:

  • $105 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to support the systemwide implementation of a common course numbering system pursuant to the provisions of AB 1111 (Berman), Chapter 568, Statutes of 2021.
  • $65 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding for community colleges to implement the transfer reform provisions required by AB 928 (Berman), Chapter 566, Statutes of 2021.
  • $64 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to establish the California Community College Equitable Placement and Completion Grant Program, which provides funding to colleges to support students in completing college-level math and English courses.
  • $30 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to create the Native American Student Support and Success Program to strengthen K-12 pathways to and through community college, including transfer to the UC and CSU systems, to ensure the educational success of Native American students.
  • $30 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to create the Hire Up program, which supports up to 10 community college districts for a five-year pilot program, to provide funding for stipends to formerly incarcerated individuals, CalWORKs recipients, and former foster youth.
  • $20 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to support emergency student financial assistance grants to eligible AB 540 students.
  • $25 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding for the procurement and implementation of software to help students clearly map out intersegmental curricular pathways.

SCFF Hold Harmless

Creates a new funding floor based on districts’ hold harmless level at the end of 2024-25. Specifically, starting in 2025-26, districts will be funded at their SCFF generated amount or their hold harmless amount in 2024-25, whichever is higher. Whereas SCFF rates would continue to receive COLA in subsequent years, a district’s hold harmless amount would not grow. The intent is to eventually get all districts funded under the SCFF.

Student Centered Funding Formula Base Increase

Includes $600 million in ongoing Prop. 98 funding for a base increase for community colleges, in addition to a 6.56% COLA.

Student Financial Aid

The budget agreement includes changes to the Cal Grant Program through the Cal Grant Reform Act. However, implementation is subject to a determination made in May 2024 regarding state revenues. The act eliminates barriers to Cal Grant that will allow about 150,000 more California students to become eligible for an award, aligns Cal Grant eligibility with the new federal Student Aid Index, and creates the Cal Grant 2 program for community college students, which provides non-tuition support that grows annually with inflation, and the Cal Grant 4 program for students at UC, CSU and other institutions. The act also states legislative intent that UC and CSU use institutional aid to cover non-tuition costs for its students.

Student Recruitment and Retention

Approves the governor’s budget proposal to provide $150 million in one-time Prop. 98 funding to support student recruitment and retention strategies.

Student Success Completion Grant

Approves the May Revision proposal to adjust the Student Success Completion Grant and provides $200 million ongoing Prop. 98 funding to increase the amount to about $1,300 per semester for Cal Grant students taking more than 12 units and $4,000 per semester for Cal Grant students taking more than 15 units.

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