Newsom provides no new money for teacher shortage

Newsom provides no new money for teacher shortage

(Calif.) Although Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he wants to address the continued shortages of teachers, his proposal next year for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing calls for no new funding or special programs to solve the stubborn problem.

The governor would provide for an operational budget of just over $29.6 million for the CTC in 2019-20. If approved, the figure would be a slight reduction from this fiscal year when the CTC was given authority to spend $31.5 million.

The commission, which serves as California's standards board for educator training and professional conduct, has only recently emerged from an extreme downturn in revenue caused both by the 2008 recession and the steep drop off in new teachers joining the profession.

The commission is one of the few state agencies traditionally self-funded, supported largely by credential application fees and educator exam fees.

Under the governor’s plan, the CTC would maintain a staff of almost 145 full-time positions, down slightly from the 149 the commission employed in 2017-18.

Next year, the CTC is expected to generate about $23 million in credential fees and an additional $5.9 million from testing charges.

On the spending side, the commission will use about $17.2 million on the administration of teacher preparation and licensing. Another $5.6 million will be used to pay for legal services provided by the state Attorney General’s office, which represents the state in teacher misconduct cases.

As part of a broad effort to respond to teacher shortages and the downturn in new recruits joining the profession, the Legislature provided $45 million to the CTC beginning in 2016 to help an estimated 2,250 classified employees become credentialed classroom teachers.

Another $10 million was also authorized in 2016 to support teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities.

In 2018-19, the state budget included a total of $50 million for the recruitment and preparation of special education teachers.

Although much of those funds have been allocated and put into use, shortages in some districts still persist. A report from the Learning Policy Institute issued just last September found that in some districts the problem has gotten worse.

Indeed, a key contributor to this month’s teacher strike in Los Angeles were overcrowded classrooms.

Newsom’s January budget plan did not address teacher shortages but as a candidate his platform included mention that he understood the problem and planned to “develop and encourage” new incentives to bring more young people into the profession.

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