STATE BUDGET UPDATEGovernor Jerry Brown has issued the May Revision to the state budget. First, it reflects an increase of $2.9 billion in funding for K-14 schools for 2016-17. This increase brings the formula to 95.7 percent of full implementation. The money going to Proposition 98—the minimum California school funding guarantee which was approved by California voters—is funding that is owed to our schools and colleges, mandated by law, and helps keep us on the road to recovery. As educators, students, and communities we are counting on lawmakers to protect the integrity of Prop. 98 as budget discussions continue.
The Governor’s budget presentation made clear that California faces a $4 billion deficit and a $4 billion cut to education if we don’t pass the Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act (CEHCPA) which temporarily extends the current income tax on the wealthiest 2 percent of Californians.
Also in the May Revision:
One-time discretionary funding which aids with the implementation of numerous programs, including the state-adopted academic standards and resources to help with the critical teacher shortage we face as a state.
A $10 million General Fund one-time investment for grants to California Higher Ed instructors to improve upon or develop four-year integrated teacher credential programs. Grants of up to $250,000 would help with the improvement and creation of blended programs.
A $1.6 billion Early Education Block Grant to consolidate state-subsidized early learning programs. Existing programs including Transitional Kindergarten and state preschools will be collapsed into a new program. While this proposal seems to be well-intended because it targets our neediest children, the funding is inadequate and fails to provide room for growth. Without appropriate requirements of quality instruction to meet the needs of the whole child and the lack of resources, school districts will struggle to choose between increasing the number of slots for children and providing the quality program that is needed.
Funding for a Strong Workforce program to close the middle-skills gap by increasing and improving the career technical education provided within the community colleges.
Part-time categorical funds for Community College office hours, health care and parity, which have not been made whole.
Additionally, CTA is advocating for an additional $100 million from the general fund above the Governor’s January proposal for higher education. This would allow for 3 percent growth in enrollment, which equates to roughly 10,700 Full-Time Equivalent students (FTEs). This investment will help to make the dream of a college degree a reality for more California students.
More than 100 local chapter presidents will be in Sacramento tomorrow lobbying lawmakers to preserve the integrity of the Prop. 98 funding for their annual Lobby Day.
TOGETHER WE WILL PROTECT SCHOOL FUNDING
CTA and a broad coalition of organizations representing millions of Californians on May 11—the Day of the Teacher—officially kicked off the California Education and Children’s Healthcare Protection Act (CECHPA) campaign at California Middle School in Sacramento.
The initiative will temporarily extend current tax rates on the wealthiest 2% of Californians. Without an extension, we risk going back to the days of thousands of pink slips for teachers and school employees, furlough days, larger class sizes, and cuts to vital programs.
You can sign up at the site for email notifications and add your name to the list of persons endorsing the measure.
Remember to take part in the discussion on social media about why our students need the act to pass by using #CACantGoBack and #KidsMatterMost.
SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement released its report on school accountability to the State Board of Education last week. CTA President Heins and task force co-chair led the presentation with comments on why multiple indicators are necessary when measuring student success.
During his comments to the Board and to the media, he stressed the importance of adopting accountability standards that are multi-faceted. It would be a grave mistake to rely solely on student test scores as an indicator of student and school performance, he emphasized.
Following the presentation, the Board voted to direct the State Department of Education staff to work on accountability rubrics that included the wide array of measurements that CTA and the task force recommended.
Learn more about the issue by reading the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force Report and the president’s letter to the Board of Education about the accountability rubrics.
CTA is proud to cosponsor AB 2200 by Assembly Member Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond). The bill has cleared the Assembly Education Committee and is in now with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
The bill would provide a housing assistance grant for school employees including teachers so that they can afford to live in the communities in which they teach.
JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE TO VOTE ON ALLIANCE AUDIT WEDNESDAY
CTA supports Sen. Tony Mendoza’s (D-Artesia) request of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to perform an audit of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools to assure that the entity is spending public tax dollars where it should—on the education of its students. The committee is scheduled to consider the request this Wednesday. The call for the audit comes in the wake of the management company’s failure to respond to Freedom of Information requests about its spending.