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Funding for Data System, Strategy in Newsom Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2021-2022 budget includes funding for developing and implementing the Cradle-to-Career Data System and the Statewide Data Strategy released last year. The former, in particular, could bring opportunities for vendors as soon as this year.

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There’s a long road ahead for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new proposed $227.2 billion state budget, but two items in particular could expand the state’s use of data and present opportunity for IT vendors.

In his proposed state budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, released Jan. 8, Newsom offers two so-called “Major Program Changes” as part of the nearly $37 million budget for the California Government Operations Agency. Both should be familiar to Techwire readers; one yielded an RFI last year. Among the takeaways:

  • The governor suggests spending $15 million from the General Fund — with $3 million of that being a one-time expenditure — and adding 12 positions to support development and implementation of the Cradle-to-Career Data System. Legislators created the system in 2019 with the Cradle-to-Career Data System Act, seeding it with a reported $10 million. In June, the California Department of Technology (CDT) issued a request for information on that system, seeking information from “state agencies, post-secondary institutions and technology respondents with experience in developing and managing master data management systems.” Priorities cited last year included a “centralized state data set with information on early care and K-12 students; public, private and independent college students; financial aid; employment and earnings” and the ability to connect to other state data sets — though the state acknowledged that the system would have to be built in phases. Through connecting data that schools, colleges, social service agencies and other entities already collect, the hope is the system will help more students graduate college and find work; and help agencies plan programs. Techwire has reached out to CDT for comment; this article may be updated.
  • Newsom also proposes spending $558,000 from the General Fund and adding three positions to support Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro in implementing the Statewide Data Strategy she released in October and “evaluating existing programs for opportunities to create efficiencies.” The strategy set three goals — streamlining data access; improving data management and government; and spurring data use and ability. Priorities for the next six to 12 months include creating enduring longitudinal data sets, standing up an interagency data exchange and fostering data communities. A contractor, Plante Moran, is working with the state to create the Homeless Data Integration System.
    “Longitudinal data sets, which track people across programs and over time, are key to understanding the effectiveness of a range of state programs — from early childcare, to education, to social services,” according to the strategy.
  • State tech officials may get some guidance from the Legislature this year on the Cradle-to-Career Data System. Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, has introduced Assembly Bill 99, which would express the Legislature’s intent to pass more legislation to “codify recommendations in the California Cradle-to-Career Data System Legislative Report” published in December. “As we await the final recommendations from the workgroup, AB 99 will be primed to move forward so that we can begin building this long-term investment,” Irwin said in a recent statement.
  • Among that report’s recommendations were investing in a proof-of-concept (POC) in the first half of 2021, followed by a five-year implementation process to reduce the cost to build and maintain the system. In the Legislative Report, the Cradle-to-Career Workgroup recommends a five-year timeframe for building out the data system — to be preceded by “investing in a proof-of-concept in the first half of 2021.” The estimated budget for the POC and deliverables in FY 2021-2022, according to the report, is between $15 million and $20 million. It highlights POC deliverables including producing a dashboard and upgrading K–12 data infrastructure for college eligibility, electronic transcripts and application tools.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.