January 10, 2024
Statement by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Governor’s Proposed 2024–25 Education Budget
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed education budget for fiscal year 2024–25:
I am grateful to Governor Newsom that there are no major reductions or pullbacks in vital education programs. By preserving our Educator Workforce Investments, Community Schools Investments, and Learning Recovery Investments, we ensure that our students, families, and educators have what they need to improve literacy, math proficiency, and social–emotional wellness. We are pleased to see the Proposition 98 guarantee slightly up from its projected value but disappointed in the Average Daily Attendance decline, with COLA at 0.76 percent when it was projected to be at 3.5 percent.
This budget also preserves every child’s access to foundational resources such as school nutrition and early learning. California students will continue to have universal school meals. I sponsored the legislation to establish universal school meals and led this implementation effort because I personally know the impact of childhood hunger. Even as we tighten our belts in a tough budget year, we refuse to return to the days when children went hungry at school simply due to missing paperwork or a lack of lunch money. We must show moral clarity about the resources our children need to learn, grow, and thrive, and this budget reflects that clarity.
This budget also reflects continued investment in my strategic initiatives to improve quality instruction, especially in foundational academic skills and especially for our earliest learners.
Universal Transitional Kindergarten continues to receive strong support, with a continued expansion of Transitional Kindergarten programs at developmentally appropriate staffing ratios of 12:1. I sponsored the legislation for Universal Transitional Kindergarten because I recognize how important it is that our youngest learners have access to high-quality early learning, especially as we work to close equity gaps in early literacy.
I also want to celebrate our ongoing investment of $25 million for literacy screening. I have led the charge to provide universal screening for dyslexia throughout California’s public schools so that every child who needs support for this common learning disability is identified and receives resources.
I am also grateful to see the one-time investment of $20 million from Proposition 98 to support subject matter expert work in math. I have championed professional development for teachers because I know that it is one of the smartest investments we can make in our school system. We must ensure that teachers have the training that they need to provide high-quality instruction in foundational skills like math and literacy. We must close equity gaps in mathematics achievement to ensure that all of California’s young people can see a future for themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and other high-growth fields.
This budget also reflects future-focused investments in our school operations, including $500 million for zero-emission school buses. Combined, this investment package reflects our determination to strengthen public schools across the state and to prepare all of our youth for success in an increasingly connected and changing world.
More information about State Superintendent Thurmond’s initiatives and priorities that transform our California K–12 public schools is on the California Department of Education Transforming Schools: Superintendent’s Initiatives web page.
# # # #
Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100