Portantino’s K-12 Funding & Teacher Shortage Bills Pass State Senate

Thursday, May 25 2023

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Portantino’s K-12 Funding & Teacher Shortage Bills Pass State Senate

Sacramento, California Senate Bills 98 and 765, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Senate Floor. SB 98 is a prudent reform bill that bases school funding on enrollment rather than attendance. SB 765 offers long-term comprehensive solutions to the current teacher shortage crisis by making it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom and provides financial incentives for new, prospective teachers.

SB 98:

“Enrollment-based funding will ensure that California schools are funded more equitably and have greater financial stability and predictability,” stated Senator Portantino. “The current outdated system for determining budgets for K-12 schools is based solely on student attendance and negatively impacts too many low-income students. Many children lack reliable transportation, housing and suffer from health-related issues that contribute to school absences.”

California is one of six states that does not consider student enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts. Districts plan their budgets and expend funds based on the number of students enrolled but receive funds based on their average daily attendance.

SB 98 remedies this inequity and would define “average daily membership” as the amount of the aggregate enrollment days for all pupils in a school district or county office of education, from transitional kindergarten to grade 12, divided by the total number of instructional days for the local educational agency in an academic year.

The measure has received support from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the California School Employees Association, and many other school institutions.

“SB 98 will provide new funding to California schools using a more equitable funding calculation to help improve attendance, successfully address chronic absenteeism and better support students in need,” stated Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “It also makes funding more predictable so districts and schools can plan ahead. The estimated $3.4 billion provided by this important legislation will put students and schools on a better path to close opportunity and education gaps.”

“SB 98 would provide more equitable funding to help school districts address the root causes of absenteeism and ensure all students receive support to be in class and learning every day,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Additional funding, coupled with tailored outreach to students who are chronically absent, can demonstrate to students that each of their lived experiences matter and our schools are a safe haven. Los Angeles Unified is a proud co-sponsor of this bill and we are happy to see if pass the Senate floor.”

“Our current attendance-based funding system ignores the challenges that students and families face when it comes to going to school,” stated California School Employees Association, Association President Adam Weinberger. “It unfairly takes resources away from the schools that need it the most, such as those in lower-income communities, which tend to have higher rates of absenteeism. Our members, including attendance clerks and instructional assistants, know that student absences actually cost money and demand additional resources to track down absent students and prepare make-up assignments. CSEA thanks Senator Anthony Portantino for introducing CSEA sponsored Senate Bill 98 which provides additional funding to schools based on enrollment and looks forward to working with members of the Senate and Assembly to ensure California schools will be funded equitably and have greater fiscal stability.”

SB 98 would require the local educational agency to report the average daily enrollment for the prior academic year to the State Superintendent on July 1 and to demonstrate a maintenance of effort to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy. The bill would also require local educational agencies to use at least 30% of their supplemental education funding to supplement existing local educational agency expenditures to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy. SB 98 includes a 5-year review provision, where we could see how the supplemental funding was spent and whether it increased attendance rates and reduced chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy.

SB 765:

According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), there were over 10,000 teacher vacancies across California during the 2021-22 school year. Governor Newsom issued an executive order to provide more flexibility to hire retired teachers during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, which was vital to addressing the growing teacher shortage. Additionally, the CTC’s Teacher Residency Grant, which took effect in 2021, allowed teacher residents to receive up to $25,000 in stipends.

SB 765 seeks to continue these efforts to mitigate the teacher shortage crisis by streamlining the process for retired teachers to return to the classroom. Additionally, SB 765 expands the CTC Teacher Residency Grant by increasing the grant award for teacher candidates from $25,000 to $40,000. Finally, the bill waives the financial need requirement for 1,000 Cal Grant Awards given to students pursuing a teaching career.

“Addressing the teacher shortage crisis requires that we appropriately invest in our schools and teachers,” stated Senator Portantino. “We need practical solutions, including making it easier for retired teachers to come back to their teaching positions and make it easier for aspiring teachers to enter the workforce. Too many teachers are leaving the classroom and we need to step up our efforts to ensure that it does not negatively affect the quality of education that our children deserve.”

"I am proud to sponsor SB 765, a critical piece of legislation that will enable our schools to meet the immediate needs of students with qualified educators, and offer long-term solutions to combat the California teacher shortage," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

SB 765 is sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Additionally, the bill has received support from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD), California Charter Schools Association, Central Valley Education Coalition (CVEC), Los Angeles Unified School District, Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), Riverside County Office of Education, and the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).