EdSource: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs $123.9 billion package to support K-12 education

October 08, 2021


Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a $123.9 billion package to increase broadband infrastructure, develop mental and behavioral health programming and require that all high school students take an ethnic studies course before graduating. The 22 bills included in the package amount to the highest per-pupil funding in state history, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
One pair of bills signed Friday will extend a state program that seeks to provide broadband access to Californians via grants. Parts of California have struggled to attract internet service providers and have lacked the broadband infrastructure to do so, particularly in less populated areas. The pandemic has exacerbated the issue, especially in the first months that students relied on distance learning.  

Assembly Bill 14, introduced by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, and Senate Bill 4, introduced by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, extend the California Advanced Services Fund program through 2032. They also extend the tax on phone bills that is used to fund the program. The tax amount will remain the same. 

Additionally, SB 4 extends the California Advanced Services Fund from 2026 through 2032 and increases its annual funding cap. The fund provides grants for various broadband access projects, which will now include one for broadband access at unserved nonresidential locations, such as fairgrounds, that are used for local and state emergency response.

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