Senator Portantino Responds to Governor’s Budget Proposal, Pleased with Investment in School Based Mental Health Training & Dyslexia Risk Screening

Wednesday, January 10 2024

For Immediate Release: January 10, 2024

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino Responds to Governor’s Budget Proposal, Pleased with Investment in School Based Mental Health Training & Dyslexia Risk Screening

Sacramento, CA - Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s 2024-25 State Budget proposal:

I applaud the Governor on his proposed budget, and recognize the importance of taking prudent fiscal steps and protecting essential services during this time of post-pandemic economic change and delayed income receipts.

I am grateful to the Governor for including several issues that have been part of my legislatives priorities for many years. In particular, the Governor included funding for behavioral health training and dyslexia risk screening. Mental health is a priority policy issue for me, especially for our youth who face numerous behavioral health challenges and far too many suicidal thoughts. The Governor’s budget provides school staff with the tools they need to recognize and address the mental health needs of students. The budget action and pending trailer bill language will significantly mirror SB 509, a measure I drafted in collaboration with a broad coalition of behavioral health professionals. This budget action will undoubtedly improve the health and welfare of our students, save lives, and make our campuses better.

“CBHA commends the Governor for recognizing this important policy and including it in his budget,” stated Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey, Chief Executive Officer for California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA). “Since 2018, CBHA has advocated for policies that require schools to offer mental health and substance use training for laypersons and school personnel. When the pandemic hit, we escalated our advocacy as the need to support youth who face mental health challenges grew exponentially. We are grateful to Senator Portantino for being our lead legislative champion for this important policy and to the many individuals and organizations who supported our efforts over the years.”

Additionally, the proposed budget implements risk of dyslexia screening for students (kindergarten through second grade) with a $25 million ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund investment. As a dyslexic myself, I am pleased to see the Governor’s continued support on this issue. This too has been a multi-year effort and it’s exciting to see that our younger students will have proper understanding of their reading challenges and get the subsequent intervention they deserve. 

"Supporting educators is critical to the successful implementation of K-2 universal screening. Decoding Dyslexia CA is thrilled to see the Governor is proposing funding for training in his January budget," stated Lori DePole, Co-State Director of Decoding Dyslexia CA.

“We applaud the Governor’s continued commitment to ensuring all California children can read. The $25 million in his budget for educator training on screening for reading difficulties will help tens of thousands of students with reading challenges, including dyslexia, receive the support they need to have success in elementary school and beyond,” stated EdVoice CEO Marshall Tuck.

I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues on formulating a responsible budget as we navigate through the next six months. There is still much work to be done and I am confident we will have a good fiscal projection that is true to our values and priorities as Californians and parents.