The Education Coalition, a statewide group whose members, including CTA, represent more than one million parents, educators, principals, students, school employees, administrators, and school board members, has released a statement of principles for the 2013-14 state budget proposal. After five years of cuts, the Coalition agrees it's time for the state to begin restoring funds to public education's base budgets so that schools can get "back on the path of providing high quality education services to our students."
In regard to the governor's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the Coalition is strongly urging the governor and lawmakers to consider the following principles as they make decisions about the 2013-14 spending plan:
1. 1. The long-term goal is to move California into the top 10 states in per-pupil funding.
2. 2. No school district or county office of education should experience any cuts.
3. 3. The budget should provide greater-needs students more resources for their education.
4. 4. Numerous logistical and policy challenges, including limited time to reconfigure data and student testing systems, would make it difficult for some school districts to implement fully the LCFF in 2013-14.
5. 5. The LCFF must include sufficient transparency and accountability provisions.
6. 6. Lawmakers should examine closely the allocations local education entities would receive under LCFF and under a scenario with LCFF.
The Coalition also urges lawmakers to give proposed policy changes that are part of the governor's LCFF budget plan the full policy hearings that major changes normally receive. Such policy hearings provide an opportunity for all interested parties to express their views and suggest changes where appropriate, the Coalition reports.
The LCFF moves toward a system that provides a base grant to all districts tied to average daily attendance and then adjusts allocations to account for differential expenses between grades. It also provides additional money for English learners, low-income students and foster kids.
In mid-May, the governor will release his May Revision, an updated spending plan based on newer estimates of state revenues. The state constitution requires lawmakers to send the governor a final budget by June 15. The governor has until June 30 to sign the measure into law. The spending plan takes effect on July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.