School Funding

First Local Control Funding Formula Calculations Released Today

Local educational agencies (LEAs) now have access to the first official calculations of how the $42 billion in school funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will be distributed.

“California’s new funding formula puts more decisions about education funding where they belong—in the hands of schools, parents, and teachers—and dedicates more resources to students most in need,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “The information we are providing today will help administrators, teachers, and parents as they work together to help all students succeed.” 

The calculations for school districts and charter schools are displayed in the traditional funding exhibits. In addition, LEAs now can review a "LCFF Funding Snapshot", a step toward transparency and accountability, providing a concise two-page summary of the main components of the LCFF transitional funding and information on each LEA’s attendance, LCFF entitlements, and funding sources. The data are also translated graphically.

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Local Budget Transparency and Cap on School District Reserves

The Governor has agreed to put language in a State Budget Trailer bill that would call for transparency and a cap on local school district budget reserves. Local Budget Transparency would begin with the 2015-16 fiscal year and the cap is triggered when the state begins to put money away in the Proposition 98 “Rainy Day” fund.

We support this because taxpayer dollars need to be spent in our classrooms and on our children not sitting in bank accounts. Parents and communities need to know how much money local school districts are holding back and not spending on our students. Asking for school district transparency on school district reserves is all about local control and accountability for parents and communities. 

Wednesday night the Budget Conference Committee voted to place this language in a trailer bill. However, management folks (CSBA, CASBO, ACSA and all other large districts’ management lobbyists) are protesting and very busy calling the Legislature and telling them that this is not fiscally prudent and that a cap on reserves would be a hardship to districts. We all know… that is not true.


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In Capitol Today, Educators Advocate for Increased Funding, Mandatory Kindergarten, Secure Retirement

Exemplary At-Risk QEIA Schools Have Smaller Class Sizes, More Teacher Collaboration Time

Research released today shows the CTA-sponsored Quality Education Investment Act school turn-around program is a model for prioritizing Local Control Funding.

“The QEIA law demonstrates CTA’s support for students of greatest need, and that discoveries at QEIA schools can offer ideas for Local Control Funding Formula spending by school districts that must target the same at-risk students,” said CTA President Dean Vogel. “The new research shows that lessons learned from exemplary QEIA schools should be shared.”

Findings from “Pathways to Change: Learning from Exemplary QEIA Schools”, the second in a series of five research reports, include seven “pathways” to success: 
  • Reducing Class Size
  • Leveraging Collaboration Time
  • Responding to Student Needs
  • Building Local Accountability
  • Recognizing and Rewarding Students
  • Using Student Data to Intervene
  • Strengthening Leadership

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High-poverty Marylin Avenue Elementary thriving under QEIA

QEIA reforms working in LivermoreA recent press conference held at the award-winning Marylin Avenue Elementary in Livermore highlighted new research showing how the Quality Education Investment Act is helping high-poverty schools excel and thrive. More time for professional development is making a big difference at the school, as are smaller class sizes and more resources provided by what is the largest school turnaround law of its kind in the nation.

For its academic gains, Marylin Avenue Elementary won an achievement award from California Business for Education Excellence, and its faculty collaboration is making headlines.

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First Half of $1.25 Billion in Common Core State Standards Funding is Headed to Schools

When Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says the check is in the mail, he means it.

The state’s public schools are beginning to receive $622 million, the first installment of a California budget appropriation of $1.25 billion to help educators fully implement the ambitious national Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards are designed to help all students achieve academic excellence and acquire critical thinking and other skills required to succeed in college and their careers.

Under state law, districts can decide how best to use their allotment of the funds to train teachers, buy materials, and purchase technology.

“Allocating $1 billion to help local school districts implement the Common Core State Standards is great and welcome news for California’s students. The money is much-needed to provide training, professional development, textbooks and materials,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “The transition to the Common Core State Standards will dramatically impact how teachers teach. Educators must have the support and resources they need in order for the new standards to be implemented effectively.”

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New Report Released: A Deeper Look at QEIA Implementation

New independent research shows that the kinds of proven reforms provided by a CTA-backed state school turnaround program is helping hundreds of at-risk California schools improve and innovate, CTA President Dean E. Vogel announced today in a news conference at a successful elementary school in the program.

The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) targets low-income schools like Harmon Johnson Elementary in the Twin Rivers Unified School District. The high-poverty school is flourishing and recently won a high-profile national award for excellence. The school has been receiving extra resources due to the QEIA law of 2006. Parental involvement and volunteering have soared at the school as well.

“With QEIA, we are finding new and effective ways to help our vulnerable students and to discover practices that all teachers can learn from," said CTA President Dean Vogel. "New research shows that these proven reforms are leading to positive impacts in achievement, school reputation, school climate and parent engagement. This is exciting to see and watch.”

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Take Action to Expose Secret Super PACs

Last November, you said NO to the secret Super PACs’ agenda and helped the Alliance for a Better California defeat the deceptive Proposition 32. We want to thank you for your support.

During the campaign, we learned that the group ‘Americans for Responsible Leadership’ was actually a front used to funnel $11 million into California from anonymous donors trying to gain more power for special interests.

But even after being exposed, the Super PACs still refuse to name their real donors.

The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) began investigating the dark money groups last year and has already forced them to admit to their deception. They are empowered to expose the special interests for who they really are and fine them for breaking California law.

Help us unmask the Super PAC Billionaires now. Sign our petition to urge the FPPC to fast-track their investigation.

Californians deserve a speedy resolution to this issue to reveal the truth and preserve the integrity of our election process. Sign our petition today and help us ensure that this never happens again.

P.S. To learn more about our fight against the Super PACs, please read this news story.

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CTA and NEA Press Lawmakers to Make Reauthorized ESEA Work

Congress could take up its version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – HR 5 or the Student Success Act – as early as next week. Our members in California and National Education Association members around the country are urging federal lawmakers to turn the reauthorization bill into one that will work for our students and our schools.

NEA has opposed the bill in committee, and we share concerns about several troubling aspects of the proposed legislation.

HR 5 would undermine the federal government‘s work to ensure equity for all students. The bill would undercut efforts to get targeted resources to schools that educate students width greater needs. HR 5 would also weaken collective bargaining protections involving teacher evaluation. The bill would also continue to force schools to use high stakes testing that is harming teaching and learning.

NEA is also working to stop amendments that would add private school vouchers to the bill. Our members and educators throughout the nation are urging Congress to restore bargaining rights and end the focus on high stakes testing.

Congress could amend the measure over the next several days. In its current form, the bill is not acceptable.

Please urge Congress to refocus the ESEA on its original purpose: ensuring equity for all students.

Call your Congressional Representatives at 1-866-420-3592 and ask them to:

  • Recognize educators’ roles in student success, which means stopping the push for high stakes testing and guaranteeing teachers a voice in their profession through collective bargaining.
  • Oppose any efforts to divert public education funding to private school vouchers.

Or email your Congressional Representatives width the same message.

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Good News from CalSTRS: Investment Return Rate Better than Expected

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is reporting some good news to its members and the public: the system’s investments earned 13.8% over the past year—a drastic comparison to earnings in recent years.

“The reality is that even good investment performance addresses only part of the long-term needs of the fund, which suffered a severe setback in the crash of 2008,” said CalSTRS Investment Committee Chair Harry Keiley, a high school teacher and CTA member.

CTA and its members – who have partnered width CalSTRS since its founding in 1913 – are committed to working width CalSTRS to find a long-term funding solution, as noted in the association’s retirement position papers.

CalSTRS’ earnings in the 2012 fiscal year handily outpaced its “assumed rate of 7.5%.” The assumed rate is the factor used in estimating the fund’s long-term earnings, the financial resources that help cover its projected costs – including the funding of retirees’ pensions. CalSTRS has earned at a 12.6% rate over the past three years and at a 7.5% rate over the past 20 years. Over the past five years – due to the impact of the Great Recession – the system’s earnings rate hit only 3.7%.

CalSTRS board members and staff caution that investment earnings fluctuate, and the stock market’s volatility in recent years spotlights the need for the legislature and the governor to help the system achieve long-term stable funding. CalSTRS is responsible for making pension payments to 862,000 California educators and their families.

Both Keiley and CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes point out that good investment earnings are just one element needed to keep CalSTRS on solid ground. “The Legislature and the Governor must implement a long-term funding plan that includes gradual, predictable and fair contribution increases for all parties involved,” Ehnes advises.

CalSTRS staff note that the governor and legislature alone have the power to change the system’s contribution rate, the amount employers and employees pay into the pension fund each month.

CalSTRS is the largest teacher pension fund and the second largest pension fund in the U.S.

Check the CalSTRS news release about the system’s earnings and the CalSTRS Investment Overview for more information.

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