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Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:

  • The probe into audit interference, ordered by UC regents, concluded that UC President Janet Napolitano approved a plan that led to the interference.
  • UC regents, meeting in San Francisco, chastised Napolitano for her role in the interference. Napolitano responded by saying she should have shown better judgment. 
  • On Wednesday, they heard about ways to make a UC education more affordable.
Betsy DeVosHigher EducationK-12LAUSD

How Trump's proposed budget could affect California's schools

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump’s proposed budget would reduce education spending nationwide while boosting money for school vouchers and charter schools.

While most public school dollars come from states and districts, federal funds cover specific programs. Since California is the most populous state, it stands to lose the most money. 

This fiscal year, the federal government is expected to pay California $4.09 billion for K-12 programming and $4.3 billion for college programs, EdSource noted.

The Trump administration has proposed entirely cutting Supporting Effective Instruction grants, which pay for teacher training. California gets about $250 million from that fund, and school districts use it in different ways.

Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor and president of the Learning Policy Institute — a nonprofit group focused on teaching — noted that under No Child Left Behind, the state used these grants to reduce class sizes.

More recently the funds have been used on specific methods of teacher training and improvement, she said.

“If you’re not helping people learn how to reorganize schools and evolve their teaching, it makes a huge difference in what’s possible,” Darling-Hammond said.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Michelle King said in a statement, "The proposed cuts would decimate programs that have successfully provided our students with a high-quality education."

The budget also seeks to zero out part of Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, money that gets wired from the federal government to the bank accounts of school districts that serve students from Indian reservations or public schools on nontaxed federal land such as military bases — in other words, schools that can’t rely on property taxes for revenue.

In California, at least 15 school districts would lose $18 million collectively as a result of this cut. In 2014, California districts received about a quarter of all such funds nationwide.

According to a statement released by the National Assn. of Federally Impacted Schools, “The elimination of Federal Properties funding would result in cuts to personnel and professional development, academic materials, transportation, technology, and other general operating expenses."

The proposed budget cuts or eliminates over 20 programs.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a statement that called the slashes efficient. “Taxpayers deserve to know their dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively,” she said. “This budget is the first step in investing in education programs that work.”

Trump’s budget proposal includes a $1.4-billion school choice program, with a $168-million increase in federal funding for charter schools and $250 million for a "private school choice program," but it does not provide details.

The school choice program also includes $1 billion more for Title I, a bedrock $15-billion program that supports low-income students. However, as Education Week points out, the budget encourages states and districts to budget the money in a way “that enables … funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice.”

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