Early 2018 Midterm Election Results in California and Impacts to Our Community Colleges

By Larry Galizio, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Community College League of California 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Recognizing that results are still coming in, the League offers a brief recap of some of the 2018 midterm election results and what it will likely mean for our sector.

With strong majorities in the California Legislature, we anticipate Governor-elect Gavin Newsom to pursue several of his signature education initiatives that he refers to as “cradle-to-career,” including:

  • Universal pre-school
  • Increased funding for all sectors of public education—referring to Proposition 98 as a floor and not a ceiling
  • Expansion of the Promise Program and tuition-free community college
  • Creation of a statewide higher education coordinating body
  • Release of more of Proposition 51’s (2016) $2 billion in bond funds for community college capital projects
  • Expansion of Cal Grant B Access Awards for community college students, and perhaps more meaningful and significant investments in recognition of the burden of non-tuition costs for community college students

In addition to strong Democratic majorities in Sacramento and an estimated $13.8 billion rainy-day fund, the potential for substantially increased spending on his campaign priorities exist. However, Governor-elect Newsom’s competing priorities, the state’s pension obligations, and the inevitable economic downturn include some of the known mitigating factors and countervailing forces Governor-elect Newsom and the Democratic majority will have to confront.

While it’s premature to identify State Legislative Committee assignments, we do not anticipate much change among the Committee Chairs. We believe that Senator Anthony Portantino (Appropriations), Senator Ben Allen (Education), Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (Appropriations), Assemblymember Jose Medina (Higher Education), Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (Education), Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (Education Finance), and Senate President pro Tempore Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Rendon are likely to remain in their leadership roles affecting public education policy and budgeting.

At the time of this writing, the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction was too close to call, however, if Marshall Tuck emerges victorious it may lead Governor-elect Newsom to reinstate an education cabinet position that Governor Brown chose not to fill.

League staff will be following up with more detailed analyses and descriptions of the post-2018 midterm election policy landscape. We urge you to stay tuned for forthcoming League-produced analyses of the 2018 Midterm Election results and its impact on the state and national environment in which we advance California’s indispensable community college mission.

Larry Galizio is the President & CEO of the Community College League of California.