California Education Officials Call for More Investment in Community Schools

State and education officials called on Monday for more investment in so-called community schools, which are intended to offer more resources for students and their families than traditional schools. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd and others held a virtual meeting Monday to discuss the community school model and argue in favor of allocating $1.5 billion in grants to create more community schools.

The state allocated some $3 billion last year to convert schools in areas with high poverty rates into community schools, which offer health care and social services and, in some cases, even include onsite housing for students and families. 

Newsom proposed adding another $1.5 billion in one-time spending to expand access to community schools, but legislators have not included that allocation in the tentative state budget for fiscal year 2022-2023, in part because the initial $3 billion grant pool will be dispersed over seven years. 

"The funding will ensure that more schools can receive grant funding to implement the community schools model," Boyd said, adding that additional funding is necessary because "this is not just a one-time situation."

Newsom framed the additional proposed funding "the opportunity to provide supports that reside outside of the school system and bring those supports into the school system."

"Supporting students outside of the classroom is essential to helping our kids achieve, and Community Schools provide those resources for local communities to bolster support services," Newsom also said in a statement.

The state announced its first community schools grant recipients last month, issuing $649 million to some 268 school districts, local offices of education and charter schools.

Those grant recipients included, among others, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.

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