Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed his $144 billion budget Thursday, placing a large emphasis on education and health and human services. More than half of the proposed budget will go towards education, according to Newsom, which could affect students spanning all ages across the state and in Kern County.
Anjelica Banks-Abbott, a sophomore at Bakersfield College, said she supports the portion of the budget that proposes to make the first two years of community college free in California.
“It is kind of expensive, especially when you don’t really have the money to take all the classes that you need to,” she said.
The governor said the budget includes $80.7 billion for education.
“It would help if [tuition] was free,” Banks-Abbott, who aspires to become an elementary school teacher, said, adding she “wouldn’t have to worry about the weight financially, trying to afford the tuition to go here.”
The governor’s budget also includes proposed universal preschool, an idea supported by United Way of Kern County. In part, the nonprofit organization seeks to increase literacy rates throughout the Golden Empire.
“The increase in education funds for the budget will help to increase our investment in children,” said Rachel Hoetker, education manager with United Way.
“I know that [Gov. Newsom]looking to enhance preschool, make kindergarten for all children, preschool for all, so that will have an impact on our kids in this community, because at a young age it’s important to invest in our young children because they’re ultimately our future.”
Banks-Abbot said she believes free tuition will provide a better future for her and for others.
“Free tuition basically would allow me to take on more classes so that way I can achieve my goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.”
Bakersfield Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong issued the following statement on the budget:
“Californians across our state understand that we must live within our means yet the governor’s proposed budget continues to spend public dollars at a record-setting level–$8 billion more than last year’s budget. As we review the details of this budget proposal, we need to significantly expand our budget reserves, pay off our liability and debt, and provide any remaining dollars for infrastructure investment. And as stewards of hard earned tax dollars, we must stop any budget diversions and gimmicks that has plagued previous budgets.
The budget is one of the most important documents that affects the lives of all Californians. The public should know what is in it. California is ranked last in budget transparency—we are overdue for modernization in our budget process so that the public can see line-item by line-item, how every state department and agency spends our tax dollars.”
The legislature is set to review the budget, and will need to approve it by June 15.