Capitol News: Political Pranks

The Legislature is embarking on an unprecedented move which is turning into the conflict of the calendars. While the Assembly is finishing up their business width meetings next week, they will adjourn at the close of business on July 3. The Senate has decided not to recess until the close of business on July 12. Not only is the Senate staying open longer but they are determined to have a multitude of committee hearings on Assembly bills, forcing numerous Assembly Members to stay in the triple digit heat of Sacramento. However, this also means that the Assembly will return one week earlier than the Senate and can do the same to their colleagues in the other house.
It is typical for both houses of the Legislature to begin political posturing and fighting amongst each other during the final few weeks of session in August, but they have decided to turn up the heat early this year.
Capitol News will also be on recess and will resume publication in August. For more information, view the legislative calendar.

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Capitol News: Alternative Suspension Bill Moves out of Senate Education Committee

CTA continues to monitor the progress of a bill that would change some suspension policies in an effort to keep students in school, but also ensure the safety of students and educators in the classroom. AB 420 (Dickinson) focuses on the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of African American and Latino students as a result of the overuse of “willful defiance” that can be interpreted differently from educator to educator. CTA has a WATCH position on the bill that was approved by the Senate Education Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

What the bill does:

  • Prohibits student suspension from school for substantially disrupting school activities or substantially preventing instruction from occurring in grades K-5. Students in grades 6-12 can only be suspended from school on or after the third offense in a school year, and only if the pupil’s parent or guardian have been informed that other means of correction were attempted before the recommended suspension.
  • Prohibits student expulsion from school at all grade levels for substantially disrupting school activities or substantially preventing instruction from occurring.

One issue of great concern to educators is to ensure that a teacher continues to have the ability to control their classroom. CTA drafted the following amendment now in the bill: “A teacher may suspend a pupil in any grade level from class, including for a first offense and from a one-room schoolhouse, for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.”

AB 420 continues to allow (makes no changes to) student suspension and expulsion of students for a variety of other reasons, which include threats, violence, robbery, extortion, damaging school or private property, committing an obscene act, habitual profanity or vulgarity, harassment, threats, bullying, etc. Some alternatives to suspension and expulsion identified in the bill include a conference width parents and student, study teams, restorative justice programs, referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, social worker, etc.

CTA’s lobbyist testified that while educators believe in equity, and that suspension and expulsion should be a last resort, CTA remains concerned width tying the hands of school staff at any grade level. This bill and policy related to this bill was the subject of a lengthy debate on the floor of the June 2013 State Council of Education. Some educators were concerned that administrators have previously disregarded the current law that allows teachers to suspend from the classroom by immediately sending the student back to class, because there were no established alternative programs at the school site. Additionally, there are no funds in the bill for resources to implement training and/or alternative suspension programs, but school districts and local bargaining teams could use the flexibility in the local control funding formula to establish district programs. CTA is working width the sponsors of the bill and the author on these and other areas of concern.

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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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Capitol News: CTA and Measure Agree - Being Homeless is Not a Criminal Offense

A CTA-backed bill, AB 652 by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), echoes a key element of the Association's policy: "CTA believes that the mere fact of homelessness does not equate to abuse or neglect."

Ammiano's bill would modify current law, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, to acknowledge that the fact a child is homeless or is classified as an unaccompanied minor is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect.

Without the bill's passage, persons mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect could be at risk professionally and criminally for not reporting children whose parents or guardians are homeless.

According to the author, "It is hard to imagine a youth desiring to be taken into police custody or returned by police to a home the youth has fled. Many of the unaccompanied minors on the  street are foster youth that have fled the child welfare system and feel the system has failed them. Allowing the mandated reporters to report not solely based on the youth's homeless status would serve to remove barriers to services so as alleviate the homelessness and its risks."

Current law considers teachers and other educational support professionals among the "mandated reporters."

The bill cleared the Assembly floor on a 51-23 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate.


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Capitol News: Assembly Overwhelmingly Approves CTA-cosponsored Misconduct Reporting Bill

On a 78-0 vote, the Assembly approved CTA cosponsored-bill AB 449.

AB 449 by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) would make it clear that a district superintendent has the responsibility to report to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing  (CCTC) any adverse employment action taken against a certificated employee due to allegations of serious misconduct.

A superintendent's failure to make these reports has serious consequences for the safety of students in that district and other districts.

The bill clarifies that the CCTC may subject the superintendent of the school district or county office of education or   the administrator of a charter school to adverse action for unprofessional conduct.

Under AB 449, a refusal or willful neglect to make the report to the CCTC is a misdemeanor, width a fine that may not be paid or reimbursed width public funds. The bill now goes to the Senate.


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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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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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CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett Honored by State Council

This weekend, the CTA State Council of Education paid tribute to CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett who is retiring after 18 years as CTA's top executive.

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