School Funding

CSU Students Protest "Student Success Fees"

As part of “Degrees not Debt” actions this week, students from several CSU campuses and community colleges rallied outside the CSU Board of Trustees in Long Beach Thursday to protest so-called “student success fees” being considered by the board and already in effect on 11 campuses. The fees, totaling nearly $800 per student, are viewed by many as tuition hikes.

Protesters had support from CSU faculty members as well as CTA Board members. The event was organized by NEA, the California Faculty Association (CFA) and Students for Quality Education (SQE).

Inside the trustee meeting, while a few students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo spoke in favor of maintaining local control of the use of student fees and seemed to support what their campus was using them for, the majority of students criticized the fees as an unfair tuition hike that is putting a university education out of reach for many current and prospective students.

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Supt. Torlakson Announces $250M in Career Pathways Grants

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is urging school districts and community colleges to apply for $250 million in California Career Pathways Trust Grants that can help students prepare for success in school and careers. This effort furthers Supt. Torlakson's Career Readiness initiative to curb dropouts and support career technical education.

"This program is a great example of teamwork among educators and employers," said Supt. Torlakson. "By giving students a taste of the working world before they graduate, these programs motivate and excite students, reduce the drop-out rate, and increase the college attendance rate."

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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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