Contact: Claudia Briggs at 916-325-1551 or cell, 916-296-4087
SACRAMENTO—More than 200 educators and members of the California Teachers Association met with their local lawmakers at the State Capitol today 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.
“CTA continues to support the goals of Governor 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 with higher needs,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “Our association’s State Budget Principles call for equitable funding for students most in need, paying back 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.”
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, on quantifiable data that is consistently applied and publicly available, and districts must be held accountable for spending the money appropriately.
It is extremely important to pay back the deferrals to local school districts.
“After years of drastic cuts, it is necessary for the future of our children and the future of California that money owed to students and public education begins to be restored,” emphasized Vogel. “Funding for California schools and colleges has been cut by more than $20 billion over the last four years. 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.”
Funding for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is of paramount importance to CTA.
“We appreciate the governor allocating $1 billion to help local school districts implement the Common Core State Standards. It is great and welcome news for California’s students. The money is much needed to provide training, professional development, textbooks and materials,” added Vogel. “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 supports the Class Size Reduction program for grades K-3 within 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.
“Studies consistently demonstrate greater student achievement among students in smaller classes where educators can reach each student and provide individualized attention based on needs and strengths,” said Vogel. “Our members made a case for this at each of their meetings with legislators today.”
Other concerns CTA has with the proposed LCFF:
- 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, distributed to local districts, and that quantifiable data is consistently applied.
- Keeping Adult Education, ROC/ROP, Home-to-School Transportation and the Targeted Instructional Improvement Program (TIIG) as stand-alone programs with their own dedicated source of funding.
“California ranks 49th in the nation in per-student funding and has consistently hovered in the lower levels over the past 10 years. While the LCFF does not provide sufficient funding to get funding levels to where they need to be, it will help restore funding that has been cut from schools in recent years and provide additional resources in the future,” said Vogel. “We look forward to working with the Legislature and the governor to pass a state budget that supports students, educators, schools and colleges.”
This week, CTA also honors Education Support Professionals who work alongside teachers to make school days possible and were greatly impacted by the draconian cuts to public education over the last several years.
“The bus drivers who transport students to school, the paraprofessionals who work directly with students, clerical service staff who interface with parents and make our schools run, and the custodial and maintenance professionals are all important to the success of our schools,” he concluded. “We ask you to take a moment to thank an ESP for the work they do every day in our schools. They play vital roles in making sure our schools and our students succeed.”
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.