In late January, UNITE-LA welcomed two of California’s leading experts on the state budget: Christopher Ferguson, program budget manager, Education, California Department of Finance, and Chris Hoene, executive director, California Budget & Policy Center. Both provided context and insight on California’s current and future fiscal outlook and its impacts on our state's cradle-to-career educational systems. With the start of what looks like a recession that economists predicted in 2020, the 2023-24 State Budget is expected to be in a $24 billion deficit, per the Legislative Analyst's Office. A deficit of this magnitude will undoubtedly result in cuts to essential education and workforce programs that we all care about. UNITE-LA’s policy team will be monitoring this closely and communicating and working closely with partners to minimize the impact to under- and unserved communities. Watch the recording.
The Policy Team also supported the first Regional Economic Association Leaders of California (R.E.A.L.) Coalition Education & Workforce Development Committee meeting of the year in January. Sonia Campos-Rivera, senior vice president, Education Policy & Public Affairs, provided the committee with a summary of the Governor’s proposed budget as it relates to education and workforce development. The session featured remarks by Erin Gabel, principal consultant for the Assembly Budget Committee on Education Finance, who shared a need to double down on learning loss recovery, due to a huge increase in absenteeism and broadening of the achievement gap; and to grow a resilient generation through investments in CTE, community schools and other programs that are learning loss recovery and systems reform. The committee also finalized its 2023 Priorities, which are now being reviewed by the Coalition board for approval.