School Funding

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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Governor Brown Tapped as “America’s Greatest Education Governor"

California Teachers Accept Award on Governor’s Behalf; He Addresses 9,000 Educators via Video

(Photo above) Governor of California Jerry Brown speaks via a live video feed during the presentation of America’s Greatest Education Governor. NEA Today/Rick Runion

The National Education Association at its annual Representative Assembly in early July named California Governor Jerry Brown its “Education Governor of the Year.”

The 325,000-member California Teachers Association nominated Brown for the prestigious annual award for his ongoing commitment to public schools. He led the fight for his Proposition 30 last year to stop billions in education cuts and generate $47 billion over the next seven years for schools, colleges and other essential services. He also last week signed into law his historic overhaul of public school funding that provides more money to help at-risk English learners and low-income students succeed.

Leaders of CTA – Davis Counselor Dean Vogel, Pittsburg Elementary Educator Eric Heins, and San Bernardino Youth Services Teacher Mikki Cichocki-Semo – accepted the award on the governor’s behalf.

Later, the governor addressed the Representative Assembly via video feed, thanking California’s teachers for their courage and support that helped quality and pass Proposition 30, the revenue measure that stopped another $5 billion in cuts and began the turn-around of the state’s finances.

The governor recalled his signing the state’s collective bargaining law more than 38 years ago and the continued need to provide local participation and leadership from teachers who are closest to the students. He advocates giving those in the classrooms and local school districts “maximum authority.”

“Teaching is lighting a fire, and the job of politicians is to enable teachers to light that fire….not to regiment students like they’re on parole,” Brown said. He also downplayed the role of testing in education, noting that “you don’t [get students to] learn by hammering people. You [get them to] learn by inspiring them.”

 

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Capitol News: Broad-based Coalition Comes Together to Lobby Against Higher Ed Privatization Bill

More than 30 CTA members from community colleges, CSU, UC and students came together to urge lawmakers to vote against CTA-opposed SB 520. This bill, a measure by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would divert education dollars to private contractors to provide online lower-division courses, instead of college faculty.

Bill opponents wanted to lobby members of the Assembly before they left for summer break because the bill may be heard in the Assembly as soon as lawmakers return.

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Capitol News: Governor Brown Signs Budget

Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed California’s new, $96.3 billion budget that overhauls public school funding to help at-risk students succeed, and includes $1.25 billion in school district funding to prepare for Common Core State Standards.

“I don’t say all problems are over,” the Los Angeles Times reports Brown stated at a Capitol news conference. “But the budget is balanced.”

CTA appreciates the hard work done by all, starting width the passage of Proposition 30, to pass a budget that will begin to pay back some of the funds owed to schools after years of cuts and provides additional support to students width greater needs.

“While it will take years for our schools to fully recover, this budget is a big step in the right direction,” said CTA President Dean Vogel. “These new standards will dramatically impact teaching and learning and educators must have the resources they need to help students succeed.

Read more budget news stories here and here, and the governor’s news release.

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Capitol News: Legislature Sends Budget, Trailer Bills to Governor

AB 86, Education Trailer Bill, Details Actions Affecting Schools

If Governor Jerry Brown signs the state budget bill by June 30th widthout making any changes, public education will see $55.3 billion in Proposition 98 funding for 2013-2014. That figure includes $2.1 billion for the governor's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), $1.25 billion to implement the Common Core State Standards, and $4.3 billion to begin to pay down money the state has owed to schools from past years.

The trailer bills width the greatest direct impact on public education are AB 86, which contains the "education trailer language," SB 91, which deals width the Local Control Funding Formula, and AB 78, which governs how schools may use Proposition 39 funds to reduce their energy costs by adding "green technology."

Overall, the new state budget would:
  • Provide LCFF target base grants of $6845 for K-3, $6947 for 4-6, $7154 for 7-8, and $8289 for 9-12.
  • Increase the K-3 base grant by 10.4% for Class Size Reduction and the 9-12 base grant by 2.6% to encourage the provision of Career and Technical Education programs.
  • Establish LCFF supplemental grant of 20% of the base for students identified as English learners, foster care youth, or in financial need (as defined by eligibility in the Free or Reduce Price Meal Program).
  • Phase in the LCFF over eight years.
  • Allocate $250 million in one-time funds for Career and Technical Education.
  • Underwrite a 1.63% enrollment growth funding for the community colleges, pay down community college deferrals by $178 million in 2012-2013 and another $30 million in 2013-14, and provide $25 million in planning grants for adult education programs to promote regional collaboration between community colleges and K-12 school districts.
  • Maintain total revenue limit and categorical program funding for each district and charter school at its 2013 level.
  • Create new charter school accountability.
  • Empower districts to create local accountability plans widthout giving overriding authority to county offices of education.
Under state law, the governor has the power of the "line-item" veto to blue-pencil or reduce appropriations in the spending bills sent to him by the legislature. The constitution gives him until June 30th to sign the budget.

For more detailed information, see CTA's 2013-14 State Budget Highlights.

 

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Capitol News: State Supreme Court Hears Arguments over Administration of Insulin

The California Supreme Court has been   hearing arguments over whether non-medical personnel should be administering   insulin to students under ordinary circumstances.  Current law allows only   doctors and nurses to inject students width the drug, except in emergencies.

CTA maintains that medical procedures should be performed by medical professionals – and not educators and school support professionals, whose focus should be educating and supporting the education   of students.

Attorneys for the American Nurses   Association emphasized to the justices that licensed nurses and other medical   professionals should be doing the injections because they have the scientific   background and necessary technical skills to ensure that students are not   placed in jeopardy through incorrect procedures.

"At its heart, [this] is about   protecting students," the nurses' attorney told the court. CTA and NEA   filed amicus briefs in this case. Read more: San Francisco Chronicle: Supreme Court Hears Insulin Shots   Case.

 

 

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Legislature Approves State Budget: California Educators Are Encouraged by the New Compromise on the Local Control School Funding Formula

The state Senate and Assembly today passed AB 110, the legislature’s budget bill that will make a historic change in how schools are funded. The new budget, which is on its way to the governor for his signature, also provides more than $2 billion to begin repaying school districts funding they are owed after years of drastic cuts. It provides additional funding to ensure that virtually all districts get back to their 2007-08 state funding levels. It also targets more funding to help the state’s neediest students.

“While it will take years for our schools to fully recover, this budget is a big step in the right direction. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a state budget proposal width a significant increase in education funding,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “The governor’s Local Control Funding Formula that is part of the final budget adds up to renewed opportunities for our schools. We are also encouraged by the $1.25 billion for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These new standards will dramatically impact teaching and learning. Educators must have the resources they need to help students succeed.”

New language regarding school district accountability provisions in the final budget protects collective bargaining and limits the oversight of County Offices of Education. This agreement holds the promise of a better future for our students. Take a closer look at details of the agreed-upon budget.

The legislature approved the spending bill a day before the June 15 deadline for sending the measure to the governor.  The governor has until June 30 to sign the budget into law to take effect on July 1, the start of the state’s new fiscal year.

Lawmakers are also debating and approving several “budget trailer measures” that help implement the new spending plan.

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California Educators Support Agreement On New School Funding Formula

We are extremely encouraged by the historic state budget agreement in Sacramento to overhaul education funding for K-12 schools. Thanks to the hard work of educators and parents to pass Proposition 30, the new spending plan provides all schools width more resources, begins repaying schools the money they are owed from years of budget cuts, recognizes the need for smaller class sizes and helps meet the needs of school districts serving at-risk students. As school doors close for the year this month, new doors are opening width the new funding plan. Additional funding  for our students of greatest need will help more dreams become realities.

While it will take years for our schools to fully recover, this budget agreement is a big step in the right direction. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a state budget proposal width a significant increase in education funding. We call on all lawmakers to support this compromise on the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula as part of the final budget because the numbers add up to renewed opportunities for our schools. We are also encouraged by the $1.25 billion for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These new standards will dramatically impact teaching and learning and educators must have the resources they need to help students succeed. CTA is still reviewing school district accountability provisions, but this agreement holds the promise of a better future for our students.

More about the State Budget

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Conferees Send Legislators Budget Compromise: All Schools Would Get More Funds

Proposal Would Allocate $1.25 Billion to Implement Common Core

A newly approved budget proposal would give all districts in California the most funding since 2007-08, the last year before $20 billion in cuts devastated public schools.

The proposal, sent back to both the Senate and the Assembly by an eight-member joint conference committee, would also over two years provide $1.25 billion in one-time funding to help implement the Common Core State Standards.  These funds are much needed for professional development for educators and textbooks and supplies for students.

The agreed-upon budget also provides funding for an amended version of Gov. Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).  That proposal would make school funding less complicated and more transparent.  The plan would also provide additional moneys to help districts width high numbers and concentrations of students who are more costly to educate.  These students include English learners and students who qualify for free and reduced price lunches.

CTA has supported the goals of the governor’s LCFF and has been negotiating width the governor and the legislature over the details and timeline for implementation. CTA has been especially concerned that all districts receive payback of funds owed to them from prior years and that nothing in the accountability provisions of the LCFF negatively impact chapters’ ability to negotiate over funding decisions through the collective bargaining process.

CTA has also been discussing its others concerns width the governor and lawmakers, including concerns about adult education and class size reduction programs.

The compromise budget must be approved by both houses before it is sent to the governor.  Lawmakers have until June 15 to send the governor their final plan, and the governor has until June 30 to sign it into law.

 

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