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California Approves $1.3 Billion to Restructure Community Schools

Bo Tefu and Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media

The State Board of Education and Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that they have approved $1.3 billion in grants to implement a new school initiative that offers students support outside the classroom.

According to a press release dated May 8, State education officials have appropriated funds since 2021 to offer students and their families resources such as health care, mental health support, and social services.

The State’s board awarded $1.3 billion to 288 local education agencies that fund and support 995 schools statewide.

The California Department of Education plans to mobilize resources to help students thrive in school and at home. This initiative includes summer programs, tutoring, and counseling.

Gov. Newsom said that the state is expanding community schools across the state. Students will be offered free meals twice a day, mental health counseling, and after-school programs.

“California is transforming education to make schools a place where every family and student can succeed,” Newsom said.

The state is developing the initiative as part of the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP), a ten-year plan that promotes equity and quality education for students in California. The state will spend $4.1 billion with its partners including community schools, local counties, government agencies, and nonprofits that provide health, mental health, and social services.

State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond is eager to uplift communities with well-resourced schools and achieve equity in public education.

“We know children learn best when they are healthy, happy, and in a learning environment where they are surrounded by knowledgeable and caring adults attuned to their needs,” Darling-Hammond said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond endorsed current school programs and anticipates promising results as grants are invested in these programs.

“Our Community Schools continue to serve as exemplars of programs that educate the whole child. I am proud to see California continue to be at the forefront of recognizing that student wellness is a cornerstone of learning,” Thurmond said.

The California Department of Education will award a final round of grants to community-based organizations and schools during the 2024-2025 academic year.

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