I am pleased that Gov. Gavin Newsom released a forward-looking budget proposal that strives to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of California residents, communities and businesses.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many California families have struggled to make ends meet as they have faced financial difficulties created by the public health and economic crises, along with childcare and distance learning struggles.

Clearly, the crisis is not yet over, so it is critical that the state continues to respond swiftly and decisively. From helping low income Californians to assisting struggling communities and small businesses, we must also do all we can to accelerate job creation and workforce development. I am grateful that this proposed budget advances these goals.

As the chair of the Senate Education Committee and the past chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, I applaud the budget’s proposed historic funding for K-14 schools -- $85.8 billion in Proposition 98 funding for K-12 schools and community colleges.

Clearly, California students, families, teachers, staff, schools and districts are all under tremendous pressure stemming from the effects of the pandemic, so it is vital that funds are available to enable in-person instruction to resume -- though only when it is safe to do so.

As all of these funding efforts are finalized, though, it is important that we continue to prioritize equitable solutions so that the most impacted students and districts promptly receive the assistance they need.

The budget proposal’s total funding of $36.1 billion for higher education will also help to address the immediate and ongoing needs of California’s UC, CSU and community college students and schools.

As a new grandma and a former labor leader, I appreciate the Governor’s focus on early education and childcare. California’s recovery will depend largely on the ability of families to access quality and affordable childcare and early education for our youngest learners, so this budget is certainly a step in the right direction.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will work with my legislative colleagues and the Administration to again pass an on-time balanced budget so we can provide further much needed relief and assistance to residents in the 20th State Senate District and across the state.”

(State Sen. Connie Leyva represents the 20th District, which includes Fontana.)

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