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By Julian Peeples

Take Action: Support AB 1269

Assembly Bill 1269, by Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), seeks pay equity for adjunct faculty in the state’s community college system. Sign the CTA petition in support here.

Sponsored by the Community College Association and CTA, the bill would require the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to conduct a comprehensive study of part-time faculty by 2023. The study would identify policies and offer fiscal recommendations for achieving a pathway to parity for adjunct faculty by 2027. As part of the study, the Chancellor’s Office would convene a workgroup that would include community college union representatives. This legislation is being co-sponsored with the California Federation of Teachers.

CCA President Eric Kaljumägi observes that creating a “compensation schedule” to achieve parity between part-time and full-time faculty within six years is nothing new; it revamps 1999 legislation that was approved but never implemented. He says the goal is having 75 percent of community college classes taught by full-time instructors.

“Our problem is that we have an underclass of faculty that are the primary employees of the community college system,” he says. “I have no idea how we can maintain a diverse and high-quality workforce if we treat people this badly.”

Budget Bill Provides $4.6 Billion to Schools

In early March, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 86, providing $4.6 billion in funding to support student learning and an additional $2 billion to incentivize school districts to begin in-person instruction by April 1. The bill also requires 10 percent of all COVID- 19 vaccine doses to be set aside for school staff.

The $4.6 billion will allow school districts to dedicate the time and resources to equitably support the social and emotional needs of students and target a whole-child recovery, CTA President E. Toby Boyd says. However, he’s disappointed that lawmakers have again moved the goalposts for community case rates, relaxing standards and changing guidance, which triggers confusion and fear when our communities
are already worried about the safety of their families. Further, the lack of ongoing asymptomatic testing outside the purple tier, as well as serious equity concerns about the $2 billion incentive plan, leaves much to be desired.

“Implementation and enforcement of these regulations and safety guidelines at the local level and statewide will be the next step and the responsibility of all of us,” says Boyd.

Assembly Member Santiago Proposes Millionaires Tax

Recognizing the need for additional revenue post-pandemic and with the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicting a $20 billion budget deficit, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) is proposing an income tax on those with a personal income of over $1 million a year. The tax would affect about 70,000 Californians and would not apply to any making less.

Co-authored by Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego),
Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Alex Lee (D-San Jose), AB 1253 would generate billions through a progressive tax increase on the rich to help address the anticipated deficit and build back California more equitably.

“This bill brings resources to our students and the classroom for years to come.”

—CTA President E. Toby Boyd

CTA President Boyd says it’s embarrassing that with the fifth-largest economy in the world, California continues to lag below the national average in per-pupil spending. “This bill brings resources to our students and the classroom for years to come,” Boyd says. Also in the legislative process, a wealth tax on the ultrarich, AB 310 (Lee), which would increase tax rates at $50 million and $1 billion in earnings. CTA supports the bill.

CTA Supports Bill Reinstating School Nurse Consultant

Returning to classrooms during the pandemic takes resources, school health expertise and coordination between agencies, which is why CTA is supporting AB 285 by Assembly Member Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), which will reinstate a state school nurse consultant position in the California Department of Education to help orchestrate reopening schools by ensuring children are healthy and safe. The position has been vacant since 2012, despite the California School Nurses Organization’s work to get it reinstated.

During COVID-19 and beyond, it’s critical to have a school nurse consultant with the education, experience and expertise to guide school districts, state agencies, parents and communities in addressing the health and safety issues affecting students. The consultant will work with school nurses statewide to promote quality school nursing services and school health programs at a time when the need is great. School nurses are positioned to identify existing and emergent mental health issues and refer and case-manage students with local resources. According to 2018 data, there is one school nurse for every 2,400 California students, which places many children at risk for health crises.

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