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Capitol News: California Educators Meet With Lawmakers to Discuss School Funding, Class Size and Common Core Implementation Funding

Presidents' Lobby Day a Success

More than 200 educators and CTA members met width their local lawmakers at the state Capitol Wednesday to discuss many issues related to the state budget — Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), class size reduction, funding to implement the Common Core State Standards, and the real need to pay back money that is owed to school districts after years of cuts totaling more than $20 billion.

In a press conference in Sacramento on May 22, CTA President Dean E. Vogel said CTA supports the goals of the LCFF as it addresses education funding on the basis of  equity among all of California's students and provides equal funding for students most in need. Funding must be based on student enrollment, using quantifiable data that is consistently applied and publicly available. Districts must be held accountable for spending the money appropriately.

"Our association's State Budget Principles call for equitable funding for students most in need, a repayment of what our schools are owed, an annual cost-of-living adjustment for all schools while the formula is being implemented over a period of several years, and full funding for the state's K-3 Class Size Reduction Program. We will continue to advocate for those changes to the current proposal," said Vogel.

"After years of drastic cuts, it is necessary for the future of our children and the future of California that the state begins restoring money owed to students and public education," emphasized Vogel. "It's time our students had a chance to focus on learning instead of facing threats of larger class sizes, fewer classes to choose from, higher tuition, and fewer teachers in the classroom."

CTA's other concerns width the proposed LCFF include:

- Funding for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is of paramount importance to CTA.

- CTA supports the Class Size Reduction program for grades K-3 widthin the LCFF, but maintains K-3 class sizes should return to the ratio of 20 students to one teacher, as it was prior to 2007-08.

- The accountability plan must give some assurance that the supplemental dollars allocated to school districts are spent as intended, that LCFF funding is based on enrollment and distributed to local districts, and that quantifiable data is consistently applied.

- CTA supports keeping Adult Education, ROC/ROP, Home-to-School Transportation and the Targeted Instructional Improvement Program (TIIG) as stand-alone programs width their own dedicated source of funding.

CTA will continue to work width the Legislature and the governor to pass a state budget that supports all students, educators, schools and colleges.

 

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More Than 200 Educators Urge Lawmakers to Support Public Education

(Photo top) Para Educator Doreen McGuire-Griggs talks to reporters during a May 22 news conference during the Presidents Lobby Day as part of a team including (from l.) Eric Heins, an elementary teacher and CTA Vice President; Dean Vogel, a counselor and CTA President; and  Theresa Montaño, a Professor at CSUN. The educators stressed the importance of providing targeted funding for students who are more costly to educate, the philosophy behind the governor’s local control funding formula. The educators are also supporting the governor’s plan to allocate one billion dollars to help implement the Common Core State Standards and his proposal to begin paying back money owed to schools after cuts of more than $20 billion. More than 200 educators convened near the state Capitol Wednesday morning in preparation for visits width their lawmakers in support of public education.  The educators discussed key issues including the governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula, class size reduction, and funding to implement the Common Core State Standards. At the top of the educators’ list was securing allocations to help restore the more than $20 billion in cuts schools have suffered in recent years. CTA’s policy-making body, the State Council of Education, in April adopted budget principles that call for equitable funding for students most in need, the repayment of what schools are owed, an annual cost-of-living adjustment for all schools while the formula is being implemented over a period of several years, and full funding for the state’s K-3 class size reduction program.

lobbydeanstarts(Photo at left) CTA President Dean Vogel welcomes more than 200 educators to Sacramento for a morning briefing.  During the day, the educators also heard from CTA Vice President Eric Heins (middle) and CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki-Semo.

 

lobbybuchanan2(At board in photo at left) Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and a team of educators discuss the projected impact of the Local Control Funding Formula on Bay Area schools. The educators told the lawmaker they are seeking legislative assurances that the new funds will make it to the classroom.

lobbysteinbergteamcroppedSenate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) met width a team of educators, including his constituents, Maggie Ellis, a teacher from Elk Grove, and Scott Smith, a drama teacher from Sacramento, who stressed the importance of providing payback funding for schools.

   

lobbycooley2United behind class size reduction – (At left in photo) Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova)  speaks width Toby Boyd, an elementary school teacher, and Christine Moran, an educator from the Twin Rivers school district, about efforts to get class sizes down to 20.  Assembly Member Cooley is the author of AB 558, a CTA-cosponsored class size reduction measure.

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Concerns over Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula Take Center Stage

Assembly Budget Subcommittee Warns About implications, and the Education  Coalition Says Cuts Must Be Restored First

The governor’s school funding proposals contained in his January budget plan made it to the education subcommittee of the Assembly Budget Committee again Tuesday morning. Representatives of the governor’s finance department, the legislative analyst’s office, and the department of education made presentations.

Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), chair of the subcommittee, said that the state can’t keep asking education “to spin gold from straw…. It takes an infusion of funding to make things happen.”

Allocating funding to the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which provides more money for students who need more help, would have implications for other important programs—including class size reduction, Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, and Common Core implementation.

Assembly Member Al Maratsuchi (D-Torrance) questioned whether the governor’s LCFF really increased funding for schools, something that was promised when Proposition 30 was on the ballot.  “The first priority is to increase base funding for all districts so that we don’t have winners and losers, things the Department of Finance figures [of funding under LCFF] show.  All the school districts in my area are losers, according to these figures,” he concluded.

He urged that the state to restore funding before implementing a new funding formula.

Maratsuchi’s comments were echoed by spokespersons for the statewide Education Coalition, which represents more than six million students, parents, teachers, educational support professionals, school board members, school employees, and school administrators. CTA is a prominent member.

Coalition members emphasized the importance of acknowledging that drastic cuts have slashed more than $20 billion from schools. These cuts have reduced the number of employees, shortened school years, and forced furlough days. Restoring these cuts is the Coalition’s top priority.

CTA reminded lawmakers that California ranks 49th nationally in per pupil spending.  While the top ten states spend more than $15,000 per student and the average state spends $11,000, California allocates only $9,000 for each student. The Coalition’s wants California to boost its spending to among the top 10 states in the nation.

Even widthout new programs, the funding restoration would only put California only 42nd nationally.

Next step:  The subcommittee has asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office for more information about alternative proposals to the governor’s LCFF. 

The budget subcommittee’s review of the governor’s plan is part of the legislature’s effort to craft a final budget prior to the June 15 constitutional deadline.  Under the state constitution, the governor has until June 30 to sign the proposal sent to him by the legislature, width July 1 marking the start of the next fiscal year.

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At PPIC Forum: Lawmaker, Educators Urge State to Provide Public Schools with Adequate Funding

(Photo above) During a Tuesday forum on the governor’s budget proposal in Sacramento hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-ALAMO) talks width Kindergarten Teacher Toby Boyd and retired high school teacher Linda Plack about the importance of securing adequate funding for public education.

(Photo below) Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan maintains that schools need adequate funding and major changes in the allocations process proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown should be thoroughly vetted in a policy committee hearing.  Nick Schweizer (l.), representing the governor’s Department of Finance, said the governor is committed to boosting school funding and is willing to work width lawmakers on changes to his Local Control Funding Formula  that would give additional funding to districts width high percentages of English Language Learners, children living at the poverty level or below, and other students width pressing needs. Like Assembly Member Buchanan, Peter Birdsall of the County Superintendents School Assistance Association, emphasized the importance of securing adequate funding for schools before making major and costly changes in appropriations.

 

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Capitol News: Education Coalition Issues Statement of Principles on State Budget Proposal

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.     The long-term goal is to move California into the top 10 states in per-pupil funding.

2.     No school district or county office of education should experience any cuts.

3.     The budget should provide greater-needs students more resources for their education.

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.     The LCFF must include sufficient transparency and accountability provisions.

6.     Lawmakers should examine closely the allocations local education entities would receive under LCFF and under a scenario width 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.

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Capitol News: CTA, Legislative Analyst Express Concerns about Governor's Adult Education Proposal

CTA shares some of the concerns of the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) about Governor Brown's adult education proposal widthin the budget trailer bill. The governor's plan would reshape the relationship between the state's adult education programs and K-12 public schools and the community colleges.

In the 2013-14 Budget Overview, the LAO said there are some concerns width the governor's plan to consolidate adult education widthin the California Community Colleges system (CCC). "Community colleges vary significantly in terms of the extent to which they consider adult education to be part of their educational mission. As such, some CCC districts might not be prepared to assume responsibility for adult education programs," states the report.

CTA believes shifting adult education to community colleges would cause problems width access and affordability. Fewer parents and other adults would have access to adult education programs and some would not be able to afford the community college fees.

In addition, CTA is concerned the proposals may not get the full policy discussion they deserve because they are elements of the governor's budget, instead of provisions of a bill on the subject. CTA is demanding that lawmakers hold a full hearing on all provisions of the Governor's new education funding formula and particularly all changes to adult education.

Lawmakers are expected to look at the plan as part of upcoming budget hearings in both Senate and Assembly fiscal committees. CTA will testify.

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