The Blog at CTA

Chapter Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Protect School Funding and Head off Shortfall

On behalf of CTA President Eric Heins, Vice President Theresa Montaño and Secretary-Treasurer David Goldberg prepare to speak to the 120 CTA chapter leaders who came to the Capitol on May 24.

More than 100 CTA local presidents gathered near the state Capitol on Tuesday, May 24, for the annual Presidents’ Lobby Day. They spent the day talking to their legislators about critical issues including the state budget, the teacher shortage, early childhood education, and funding for the community colleges and higher education.

A key focus of the discussions was the effort to extend the Prop. 30 income tax rates on the state’s wealthiest 2%. That money has helped pay back our schools after years of devastating budget cuts.

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Former State Schools Chief Eastin Issues Fiery Defense of Schools and a Fiscal Challenge to Voters

 

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin denounced as shameful California’s 46th national ranking in per student spending and warned that the expiration of Proposition 30’s school funding could deal a harsh blow to students’ education.

“Cadillac prisons and jalopy schools are a disgrace…and a violation of the constitution,” former Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin told more than 70 participants in Thursday’s Capitol Weekly/ UC Center forum on education in Sacramento. She traced California public schools’ funding decline, from fifth nationally in 1955 to as far down as 50th in recent years.

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Educators Outline Lasting Effects of Budget Cuts on Schools

(Photo above) During a Monday media briefing in Sacramento, CTA Legislative Advocate Estelle Lemieux (at podium) details the $59 billion that will be required to fund educators, school programs, and services for students that were cut during the Great Recession. Educators are hopeful that funding due schools through the Prop. 98 guarantee will restore appropriations to pre-Recession levels.

Members of the Education Coalition on Monday urged lawmakers to keep the promise to California’s students that Proposition 98 provides and to restore $59 billion to fund educators, school programs and services slashed during the Great Recession.

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Supt Torlakson: $33 Million More Available to Help Schools Go "Green"

State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson - -a former teacher and coach – has announced that qualified school districts and county offices can submit their requests for a share of $33 million more in funding to cover the costs of energy efficiency projects.

The funds are part of the moneys for this purpose voters approved in November 2012 by passing Proposition 39.

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Tell the Bee How Prop. 30 Has Made a Difference for Your Students and Classroom

Voters’ passage of Prop. 30 in November 2012 has been channeling billions of new dollars into California’s schools, reversing years of devastating cuts. 

You’ll recall that the promise of its passage led the governor to propose and lawmakers to adopt a budget that protected schools from more than $4 billion in cuts in 2012.

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More Good News: Schools Could Receive Another $3.1 Billion in 2013-2014

(Graphic above)  The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) projects that K-14 public education will receive an additional $3 billion in 2013-2014 and another $5 billion above that for 2014-2015, thanks in part to voter approval of Proposition 30, the funding initiative, last November.

In a welcome bit of news, K-14 public education could see another $3.1 billion in 2013-2014 above the allocations in the adopted state budget. The LAO also notes it may take longer than originally projected to fully fund the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

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Checks are in the Mail: Schools Receiving Second Installment of $1.25B Total

Good news for California students today as Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced our schools are receiving $622 million, the second installment of a $1.25 billion state grant to help them implement the new Common Core State Standards.

That grant amounts to $200 per student to help schools transition to the new comprehensive standards that aim to equip students with the higher order thinking skills they will need in higher education and the world of work.

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Good News for Schools: Year-to-Date Revenues are Up $136 Million Above Estimates

Our public schools are receiving more good news in the form of the latest announcement from State Controller John Chiang that state revenues are coming in even higher than expected. The increase reflects voter approval of CTA-backed Proposition 30 and a rebounding economy.

In fact, Controller Chiang reported Monday that this year’s state revenues are running $136 million* above earlier estimates. That’s good news for students and schools because California’s funding for schools, as determined by Proposition 98, generally increases as state revenues go up. 

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Test Data Show Students Holding Ground

Despite billions of dollars in education cuts in recent years, California’s public schools reported only minor test score declines in 2012-13 and continue to show significant gains over the last 10 years.

Dean E. Vogel, a counselor and president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association, made these points in a news release distributed to the media on Thursday:

“Overall, students held their ground and these test scores once again indicate that students and educators accomplished much amid a steady storm of state budget cuts and increasing class sizes. A loss of more than $20 billion and the layoff of more than 30,000 educators are eventually going to take their toll. Some schools have lost entire support systems in that counselors are gone and libraries have closed. We have some of the largest class sizes in the nation and rank near the bottom in per-pupil funding.

 

 

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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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