SACRAMENTO – Today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the California State Board of Education unanimously approved $750.5 million in grants for community schools – the largest allocation of funds yet under California’s nation-leading initiative to transform thousands of schools into a community school. Community schools provide students, and their families, the resources and support they need to thrive – including counseling, nutrition programs, tutoring, social services, and health care and mental health care services.
What Governor Newsom Said: “With today’s approval of historic levels of funding for community schools, California yet again affirms our commitment to creating schools where all students can thrive. From ending hunger in the classroom to providing mental health services to our students, we’re equipping schools to meet the diverse needs of their students inside and outside the classroom. As education continues to be under assault in other parts of the nation, we are proud to be a leader in providing our students with the resources they need to succeed.”
What State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond Said: “Children learn best when they are healthy, happy, and deeply engaged in learning. And schools operate at their best when families are connected and empowered to work toward common goals. I am grateful to Governor Newsom, the Legislature, State Superintendent Thurmond, and my fellow Board members for continuing to prioritize family partnerships, equity, and a ‘whole child’ agenda in public education.”
Why This Matters: California’s $4.1 billion community schools investment — the latest of which was awarded today — is the nation’s largest investment in dismantling barriers to learning that lead to inequitable student outcomes. These funds allow parents and students throughout California to have better access to schools that provide high-quality instruction and culturally competent wraparound services, including mental health support, tutoring, nutrition programs, free school meals, health care, counseling, and other social programs. Research shows that community schools can result in better school attendance, improved grades and test scores, higher enrollment in college prep classes, and higher graduation rates. The list of awardees can be found here (item 9).
How California is Transforming Education:
- Universal Pre-Kindergarten: With full-scale implementation anticipated by 2025, California’s children will have access to crucial high-quality instruction by age 4 – effectively adding a new grade to the traditional K-12 system – regardless of a family’s income.
- Universal Extended-Day Learning: All elementary school students will have access to before- and after-school programs, as well as summer learning opportunities, by 2025.
- Universal Free Meals: No student will need to learn on an empty stomach, with all students having the choice of two free, nutritious meals per day – regardless of income or family status.
- Youth Behavioral Health: Youth ages 0-25 will have access to a revamped youth behavioral health system, including an online one-stop hub and billions invested to integrate mental health services with schools.
- College Savings Accounts: Every low-income public school student will soon have an account opened in their name with a seed deposit of $500 to $1,500 – cultivating a college-going mindset, building generational wealth, promoting college affordability, and developing financial literacy.
- Tutoring + Literacy + Math: Schools will help students accelerate academic progress and mitigate learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic with over $20 billion invested in tutoring, increased instructional time, and other student supports.
- More Teachers, More Counselors, and More Paraeducators: Lower staff-to-student ratios is more support for students. Ratios will be lowered across settings and $1.1 billion in annual funding for high-poverty schools to hire up to 5 more staff each.