The state of California has been making a great recovery when it comes to economy and job growth. In 2015, the state saw a surplus in revenue exceeding $8 billion, and this was only in a matter of four months. Fortunately the state chose to do a great thing and use the extra money for public schools. It was the hopes of Assembly Democrats that this money be used to increase average per-pupil spending, and expand access to quality childcare and preschool programs. This would help in making California one of the best states for education.
Extra money to play around with
Although a bulk of the money went to help public schools, there was still about $1 billion dollars left over that Legislature planned to "save for a rainy day". Of course there are several ways that the state might wish to spend the extra cash. Should it go toward health, poverty, other groups? Because of the excess money Governor Jerry Brown was able to come up with a new general fund spending plan for the fiscal year that began in July 2015. California's economy has recovered quickly when you compare to the state's financial outlook from just a few short years ago. The state was hit so hard, that they had a deficit hit of about $26.6 billion, which is way more money than one would ever expect to get from pink slip loans in San Diego.
Other plans for extra money
Assembly Democrats discussed other programs they might wish to fund with the surplus in revenue. One of the major plans was to develop a state earned income tax credit for working families, which was signed into law in June of 2015. In addition, some of the money would be used for preservation and maintenance of California roads and highways, as they are not in the best shape. It was most important that the money go to public schools and some universities. Schools were the ones that suffered in the state during the recession, and so to be able to give back is the right thing to do. Another interest would be to work on the state's CalWorks program, which is for low-income mothers and children. Investing in quality childcare means mothers are able to join the workforce. Knowing that their child is in a safe place is what is most important. More mothers joining the workforce meant more job growth. California is no stranger to job growth as it has one of the fastest growths in the nation.
School surplus doesn't mean adequate funding
Jon Gundry, Superintendent of Santa Clara County schools, said that although they are receiving funds from the state surplus, it doesn't solve the real issue. The real issue is that schools in California need sustained school funding to surpass the nation in average per-pupil funding. Others are happy with the funding, especially since they know what it was like when the recession hit. In California, several faculty members lost their jobs, class sizes had to be increased, and art and music programs were cut.
The state of California is continuing to work hard in 2016 to provide any additional funding to schools in hopes of achieving national success in education.