Articles posted by Capitol News

Capitol News

What happens in the state legislature, in the governor's office, and at state agencies can affect every teacher, education support professional, and student in the state. The Capitol News blog aims to provide members with timely information about what is going on in the state capitol.

City Budget in the Red? Mayor Reed Blames the Unions!

Sacramento Bee Columnist Dan Walters has apparently come to believe the spin spun by the pension “reformers” who assert that cities’ fiscal woes are due to the high costs of providing pensions to the women and men – the first responders and others – who put their lives on the line for these cities’ residents.

The word whirling by the likes of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed –  and the Texas millionaire who is supporting his efforts – holds that if these “high pension payments” were reduced to better levels, all would be right for the cities.

In fact, cities in fiscal trouble don’t have their police officers and firefighters to blame.  The voters should be blaming officials – like Mayor Reed – who made fiscal and urban planning decisions that have put their localities in the hole.

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New Web Site Spotlights Right Wing Zealots Playing the Part of Think-Tanks

The Beatles sang that “money can’t buy you love,” but it certainly can buy a lot of right-wing “thinking.”

New information cobbled together by two sources – the Center for Media and Democracy and its partner Progress Now – is shining a spotlight on efforts by right-wing zealots to package their corporate agenda as if it were the product of nonpartisan research.

Simply put, the bad guys are pretending to be good-guy researchers.  

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Checks are in the Mail: Schools Receiving Second Installment of $1.25B Total

Good news for California students today as Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced our schools are receiving $622 million, the second installment of a $1.25 billion state grant to help them implement the new Common Core State Standards.

That grant amounts to $200 per student to help schools transition to the new comprehensive standards that aim to equip students with the higher order thinking skills they will need in higher education and the world of work.

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Educators Urge State Board to Maintain Flexibility in Local Funding Regulations

(Photo above) Kendall Vaught, a 39-year teacher of English Language Learners and other students, stresses to the State Board of Education the importance of drafting regulations that maintain the flexibility and local decision-making that are the essence of the Local Control Funding Formula.

(Photo above) Nikki Milevsky, a school psychologist and president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, discusses her testimony about the LCFF regulations with John Fensterwald, a Sacramento-based education reporter.

CTA President Dean Vogel, CTA Board Members, and more than 160 other educators, education support professionals, parents, and students addressed the State Board of Education Thursday in Sacramento. The testimony came as the education policy body heard from the public about its proposed regulations on the Local Control Funding Formula.

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Five CTA Members Named Teachers of the Year - One in Running for National Post

State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has named five CTA members as state teachers of the year, and he has selected one of the five as the state’s nominee for national teacher of the year.

Our congratulations go to the five California Teachers of the Year:

Timothy Smith, a member of the Elk Grove Teachers Association who teaches 9th-12th grade Algebra 1 and Advanced Placement Statistics at Florin High School in Sacramento.  Smith is the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.

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Political Watchdog Hits "Dark Money" Contributors with Record Fine

FPPC

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state agency that oversees elections and contributions, and the state Attorney General have announced a record $1 million fine is being levied against out-of-state organizations that made illegal political contributions during their fight to defeat CTA-backed Proposition 30 and to pass CTA-opposed Proposition 32 last November.

The state watchdog agency detailed a “dark money trail” followed by the Koch brothers, a pair of billionaire political right-wing radicals, to direct about $15 million to No on Prop. 30 – passed by voters – and Yes on Proposition 32 -- a measure that aimed to handcuff unions and gag the voices of working women and men, a measure voters defeated.

The FPPC on Thursday afternoon announced that “record civil settlement against the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR) and Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL), two nonprofits operated as part of the ‘Koch Brothers' Network’ of dark money political nonprofit corporations. The settlement requires CPPR and ARL to pay $1 million to the State General Fund for their failure to disclose two dark money independent expenditure contributions in the 2012 election to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.”

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Good News for Schools: Year-to-Date Revenues are Up $136 Million Above Estimates

Our public schools are receiving more good news in the form of the latest announcement from State Controller John Chiang that state revenues are coming in even higher than expected. The increase reflects voter approval of CTA-backed Proposition 30 and a rebounding economy.

In fact, Controller Chiang reported Monday that this year’s state revenues are running $136 million* above earlier estimates. That’s good news for students and schools because California’s funding for schools, as determined by Proposition 98, generally increases as state revenues go up. 

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Lawmakers Expected to Take Up CTA-backed "Binocular Vision" Measure in January

Not all bills coursing through the legislature make it to the governor’s desk.  Some “die” because they are voted down in committee or on the floor.  Some die because they do not move from the originating house to the other before deadlines occur.

The measures that do make it through the first house – either Assembly or Senate – and then to the second house before the legislature adjourns at the end of its first year of a two-year session earn the title “two-year” bills.  Such measures can gain consideration in January of the second year.

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Outraged? Tell the Sacramento Bee How You Feel!

Sacramento Bee Columnist Dan Walters has fired off another inaccurate column that attacks our union for pressing for legal changes to speed up and streamline the teacher dismissal process to protect students and safeguard the profession.

Mr. Walters wrongly attacks educators for their support for AB 375 (Buchanan), a bill to streamline the dismissal process.

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CTA Members Represented at State Convention

A contingent of our members attended the state Republican Convention in Anaheim Oct. 4-6 and reached out to other delegates on issues of importance to educators, education support professionals, students, and parents. 

They also greeted hundreds of delegates Saturday night at a special reception hosted by the Association.  The new party chairman, former state Senator Jim Brulte, attended the reception and told CTA members there that he welcomed the support the party had received from CTA and other labor unions.

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