2022 Budget Agreement Announced by Governor and Lawmakers

Public Advocates applauds Governor Newson and our state leadership for prioritizing equity and racial justice in the 2022 budget agreement, while making strong investments in K12 and Higher Education so that our surplus-rich state can once again lead in better serving the holistic needs of our school communities, and support low-income communities of color, and students disproportionately impacted by historical exclusions and COVID. 

Public Advocates Legislative Counsel Andrés Ramos reports that our Metro Equity team had been advocating for support of the Community Anti-Displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP) — a $500 million budget request that would prevent displacement and increase California’s stock of affordable housing by removing rental housing from the speculative market and preserving it as permanently affordable. We’re disappointed to report that CAPP funding did not make it into the final budget, but we are grateful to the Legislature for having included CAPP in the initial budget bill that the Legislature passed, which reflected the Legislature’s joint legislative budget priorities. We will redouble our efforts to continue the fight for more affordable housing and against displacement. 
A man looking outside window carrying a backpack.
Public Advocates Applauds Significant Investments into Education in the 2022 California Budget

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the biggest pot of annual school funding, received a permanent 6.56% cost-of-living increase, $4B+. LCFF base grants received a permanent $2.1B increase. The Expanded Learning Opportunity Program for low-income, English Learner, and foster youth students from preschool through 6th grade, received a permanent $3B increase. One-time grants for districts to address local challenges, including mental health and wellness, student learning challenges, and staffing challenges, increased by the largest of these amounts, $8B. 

There were two important investments in student and family engagement: Community Schools Grants to ensure all high-needs schools can get funding to become transformational community schools, received a $1.5B increase; and the Community Engagement Initiative, in which districts can apply for training and support to improve their community engagement practices, was expanded by $100M.

Public Advocates is working to make sure everyone has a say in how this money will be spent. Engagement is especially important in districts getting Community Schools Grants. Engaging with students, families, staff, and community members is at the core of any community school. Here are lists of schools/districts receiving Community School planning grants and implementation grants. We recommend community members ask their districts: how much unspent money they have from the 2021-2022 school year and their plan for spending that money in the future; to use numbers from the Governor's updated May budget for their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP); to put ALL of their estimated funding into the LCAP and not just LCFF funds; and to engage with students, families, staff, and community members on any extra money they receive that isn't in the budget adopted in June.
Photo: Concord Naval Weapons Station in 2010. Flickr / ellenm1 (cc)
Public Advocates and Community Partners Urge Concord to Increase Affordable Housing, Tenant Protections and Development Based on Equity 

Building on years of advocacy for “public land, for public good,” Public Advocates recently submitted a public comment to the City of Concord. The City of Concord then considered an agenda item to declare two parcels close to the Concord BART station as surplus land and therefore subject to the Surplus Land Act. In a win for affordable housing advocates, the City of Concord declared the two parcels surplus land. Longtime partner, East Bay Housing Organizations and Public Advocates have been advocating for the city to comply with the Surplus Land Act since 2007.

We also recently partnered with the Raise the Roof Coalition and East Bay Housing Organizations to advocate for a Concord housing element that meets the community's needs and advances coalition priorities. Our letter called on the city to commit to passing tenant protections and comply with the new affirmative housing requirements that we helped secure into law. To comply with these new requirements the city needs to desegregate exclusionary areas, including through rezoning.

Public Advocates started work on the equitable redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station (pictured above) in 2007. The current developer recently asked the city to scrap existing plans and sell the site to them, in a move that alarmed advocates seeking to maintain commitments under the longtime effort to develop the area in response to community needs. The city declined the developer’s proposal and extended negotiations with that developer until January 2023. The Concord Naval Weapons Station is a parcel of land the size of Berkeley, and our coalition won a commitment that 25% of the 12,000 new homes there would be affordable to lower-income families, and that 70% of the site would become a new regional park.
Photo: (first row, L-R) Adriana Hardwicke, Kate Walford, and Mariam Sossouadouno; (second row, L-R) Michelle Pariset, Sumeet Bal, and Truman Braslaw. Alexis Aguilar is not pictured.

Public Advocates Continues to Staff Up! 

Public Advocates is excited to welcome seven new staff members in the last two months, including five summer interns. 

Sumeet Bal joins us as our new Director of Communications – Sumeet recently led communications strategy and research on messaging for immigrant rights movement building at the California Immigrant Policy Center. Michelle Pariset, who took a break from Public Advocates to be Chief of Staff to a Sacramento City Councilmember, returns to Public Advocates as Senior Policy Advocate. Isabel Alegria, our Director of Communications since 2015 announced her retirement as of December 2022, and continues as Special Communications Advisor for Public Advocates, focusing on our 50th Anniversary celebration. Congratulations, Isabel!

We are excited to welcome five summer fellows: Truman Braslaw, a JD and MPP student at UC Berkeley; Adriana Hardwicke, a student at Berkeley Law; Mariam Sossouadouno, a student at UC Davis Law, who joins us as the 2022 Arc of Justice Fellow; Kate Walford, a student at UC Berkeley Law; and Alexis Aguilar, Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow, UC Berkeley. A warm welcome to all!
Public Advocates in the News

Public Advocates was mentioned in an article in EdSource about a new report by the California Acceleration Project ….. KQED News quoted managing attorney John Affeldt in a story about education dollars allocated through the state’s funding formula ….. CalMatters quoted deputy managing attorney Nicole Gon Ochi and managing attorney John Affeldt in an investigative piece about oversight of schools’ COVID aid….. EdSource quoted John Affeldt in an article about new spending for public schools ….. Los Angeles Times mentioned Public Advocates’ advocacy in a story about remedial coursework reform ….. CalMatters published an op-ed co-authored by staff attorney Suzanne Dershowitz on the importance of integrating community expertise and equity into local housing, ….. EdSource quoted senior legislative counsel Erin Apte in community college remedial education article …..Higher Ed Dive featured Public Advocates’ research and opinion in an article about remedial education at community colleges ….. Black Chronicle quoted senior staff attorney Jetaun Stevens in a story about remedial education at community colleges….. EdSource quoted John Affeldt in a story about the addition of unrestricted funding for public schools ….. Fox40 News quoted legislative counsel Andrés Ramos in a segment about affordable housing advocates’ call to leverage California’s projected $50B budget surplus…..Diverse: Higher Education quoted senior staff attorney Jetaun Stevens in a story about remedial education at community colleges ….. Modesto Bee quoted John Affeldt in a story about housing and education.

50 Years of Public Advocates
Public Advocates Celebrates 50 Years!

Public Advocates has improved the lives of millions of Californians impacted by poverty and racial inequality since it first opened its doors in 1971. We invite you to celebrate this major milestone with us at our 50th Anniversary Gala on October 20, 2022 at the beautiful Commonwealth Club, San Francisco.

Very few legal nonprofits have the privilege of turning 50, and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our community partners, financial friends and family. Your continued support will ensure that Public Advocates champions the rights of working people, people of color, women and immigrants for decades to come. We hope you will join us!

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please visit our 50th anniversary website or contact Debi Harris at dharris@publicadvocates.org or 510.407.6622. To see current sponsors, visit our homepage.
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