School Funding

Capitol News: CTA/CCA and Allies Defeat Effort to Move Funds from Classrooms to Management

The Assembly Appropriations Committee rejected AB 806. The CTA-opposed bill by Assembly Member Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) would have undermined the current law requiring community college districts to spend at least 50 percent of their budgets on classroom instruction.

It would also have allowed community college districts to use more of their money on administration and management. The bill would have, for the first time, counted librarians and counselors as "classroom" expenditures. Currently, expenditures for important library and counseling positions are not considered classroom spending.

Assembly Member Wilk said the bill would help librarians and counselors.  Opponents – including CTA's Community College Association (CCA) and other labor organizations – said the bill's real purpose was to allow more funds to be used for management positions by changing the 50 percent requirement.

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Capitol News: Senate Health Committee Approves CTA-supported Insurance Rate Measure

The Senate Health Committee on a 7-2 vote approved CTA-supported SB 746 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to implement a state review of health insurance rates in the large employer market.

SB 746 aims to expose insurance companies that take advantage of the system to maximize profits.  CTA believes that employers should provide health insurance to employees, but skyrocketing health insurance costs have funneled funds away from the classroom. SB 746 will help control these costs.

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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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CTA Commends Governor for May Budget Revision, Providing Funding For Common Core Implementation

We commend Governor Jerry Brown today for keeping public education a priority in his May revision of the state budget. 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. The transition to the Common Core 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.

CTA continues to support the goals of Gov. Brown’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula as we believe that every student is entitled to educational equality and appreciate the recognition that it costs more money to educate students width higher needs. We will review the proposed changes and will continue to work width the governor and legislators to ensure all concerns are addressed, including accountability, use of accurate data in determining funding levels and timing of implementation. We look forward to having many more discussions in the next few weeks as the state budget is finalized.

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Governor Scheduled to Release Updated Budget Proposal Tuesday Morning

Gov. Jerry Brown is slated to unveil his updated budget proposal – the May Revision – at a Capitol news conference beginning at 10AM on Tuesday, according to a media advisory from the governor’s press office.

The California Channel plans to webcast the news conference at www.calchannel.com.

The governor’s office said the budget documents will be available on line shortly after the news conference begins at www.ebudget.ca.gov.

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Capitol News: Measure to Protect Class Size Reduction Program Moves to Appropriations

The Assembly Education Committee passed a bill that would enforce the state's Class Size Reduction program for grades K-3. Because of the state's budget crisis, penalties for districts failing to comply width the state's CSR program have been significantly reduced.  AB 558, by Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Carmichael), over the next three years restores the penalties districts face if they increase class sizes above the limit.

Maintaining small class sizes is important because studies consistently find that smaller classes have a significant impact on student learning, particularly for students living at or below the poverty line and minority students.

The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee  for a hearing.

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Capitol News: CTA Fights Tax Credits and Exemptions That Could Cost Schools Billions

California's governor, educators, and other union members worked long and hard to secure voters' approval of Proposition 30 in November to bring desperately needed new revenues to schools and other vital public services. But a flurry of bills in this legislative session threatens to create new budget gaps.

Lawmakers are considering many tax bills seeking tax credits and exemptions for corporations and wealthy tax payers.  CTA and many other groups oppose all these bills as they undermine the tax fairness goals of Prop. 30 and translate into less funding available for public education, health care and seniors.

Our schools have endured $20 billion in cuts over the last several years. With the passage of Prop. 30 and a recovering economy, there is hope funding will be restored. These exemptions would be counterproductive and only hurt California students in the end.

Here are two examples:

CTA-opposed AB 286 by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) would expand the number of movies in production that would qualify for income tax credits.

CTA-opposed SB 376  by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) creates a new billion dollar tax loophole for software manufacturers. According to the Board of Equalization, the exemption would cost the state $660 million in 2016-17 and an annual loss of $1.39 beginning in 2017-2018.

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Legislature Honors CTA for 150 Years of Strong Advocacy for Education

(Photo above) Dana Dillon, an elementary educator from Weed, Alen Ritchie, a retired teacher, and Rick Simpson, deputy chief of staff to Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), display the resolution presented to the Association moments earlier by the Assembly Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) in honor of its 150th anniversary. Lawmakers honored the California Teachers Association on its sesquicentennial by presenting a legislative resolution commending the organization for its 150 years as one of “the strongest advocates in the country for educators, including teachers, counselors, school librarians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, community college faculty, California State University faculty, and education support professionals.” The resolution was authored by the two legislative leaders and coauthored by a myriad of members of both houses. The legislative leaders made the presentation on the Assembly floor on May 9, the actual anniversary of the CTA’s founding by John Swett.  At that time, the organization was known as the California Educational Society.

resres2(Photo at left) Among others things, the resolution commends CTA for “the vital role it has played in improving the quality of education….”

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Ramona Teachers Overwhelmingly Approve Strike Authorization Vote

Ramona teachers vote to strikeBy a more than three-fourths majority – width 99 percent voting – members of the Ramona Teachers Association overwhelming approved a vote authorizing the RTA’s executive board to call for a strike action “when and if it becomes necessary” to the teachers’ efforts to achieve a fair contract settlement width the Ramona Unified School District.

“Ramona teachers do not want to strike,” said RTA President Donna Braye-Romero, “but we are not willing to accept the district’s unfair, unreasonable imposition. The cuts will not only cripple us financially, but will ultimately harm Ramona’s students and our entire community. If all other efforts fail, we now have the unity and support to strike as a final option.”

RUSD’s current finances show a 15 percent reserve fund balance at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, a second interim budget revealed an additional $800K, a figure the district knew at the time, but widthheld from both the fact finder and RTA. Also, the district will see an infusion of new money in next year’s budget and for several years to come from the passage of last fall’s Prop. 30. "Now is the time for prudent caution, not knee-jerk reaction," said Braye-Romero.

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