by Dina Martin
Ingrid Villeda, Lynette Henley
Based on their work accomplished during the January weekend meeting, the nearly 700 delegates to CTA’s State Council of Education agreed with CTA President Dean E. Vogel when he said, “This is our time!”
With the passage of Proposition 30 and new revenues coming into the state’s coffers, the promise of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), and the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, CTA has a real opportunity to “lead the profession and the discussion on education issues,” Vogel told Council members, “to lead those discussions with parents and the community to move our schools forward and fund the priorities we know work best for our students.”
On the heels of Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget announcement, Vogel noted the budget proposal provides $10 billion more for schools and colleges and repays all of the budget deferrals to local schools this year. A funding increase of $244 million for the UC and CSU systems, which will hold tuition at existing levels, is included in the proposal. State funding for community colleges includes an 11 percent increase in 2014-15.
“The governor also committed to working with us to ensure the stability of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. This too was an important recognition that the state must ensure the retirement commitments made to our hardworking teachers and educators,” Vogel said.
Strategic Plan approved unanimously
After two years of meetings, input from more than 30,000 members, and discussions by the Strategic Planning Group, State Council unanimously approved CTA’s Long-Term Strategic Plan. The plan, “Our Union, Our Future,” will be CTA’s road map for the next four years and is intended to result in a more vibrant, inclusive, strong and engaged union.
There was good discussion about the plan. And on Sunday morning, Council unanimously voted in support of the Strategic Plan, with many members agreeing with Ingrid Villeda, a member of United Teachers Los Angeles.
“We need to change the way we are a union. I’m very glad CTA is engaging in strategic planning,” said Villeda. “Site grievances are not enough. Bargaining the way we used to do it doesn’t work as well. It takes a whole community standing behind educators to be able to transform and change.”
“The plan’s genesis was in 2011, amid increasing attacks on public schools and educators coming from billionaires and politicians, and schools struggling against devastating budget cuts,” Vogel said. “If you’ve read the Strategic Plan, you’ve got a pretty good idea about our direction: how we as an organization will help our members promote the profession and provide for public education.”
The next step: An Implementation Workgroup consisting of members and staff will be appointed to make recommendations to the CTA Board of Directors about how to implement these goals and how to align governance structures.
New Local Control Funding Formula regulations adopted
In his report to Council, CTA Executive Director Joe Nuñez discussed the State Board of Education’s adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula regulations and the basic template for the Local Control Accountability Plan. The adopted regulations and template are largely the outcome of months of work and collaboration among CTA, the ACLU, and Public Advocates, which is a coalition of community and civil rights groups, staff from the State Board of Education, the Department of Finance, and the California Department of Education.
“It was kind of a Wild West hearing at the State Board of Education. More than 500 people were there to testify,” Nuñez told delegates. He noted that Gov. Brown showed up unexpectedly to testify, and started by thanking CTA for helping to pass Proposition 30.
“The regulations for the LCFF and the Local Control Accountability Plan are inextricably linked and give local educators and our local chapters an opportunity to further participate and guide district budgets,” Nuñez said. “This is how we begin to transform our profession as outlined in CTA’s Strategic Plan.”
In other actions, CTA State Council:
- Re-elected NEA Directors Doreen McGuire-Grigg (District 1) and Greg Bonaccorsi (District 3).
- Unanimously denounced the Vergara v. California lawsuit attacking educators’ professional and due process rights, which is being bankrolled by millionaires and corporate special interests.
- Recommended Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones for re-election in November, and recommended John Chiang for state treasurer and John Perez for state controller.
- Raised $20,000 for the Alpine Teachers Association strike fund in contributions from Council members.
- Approved spending up to $3 million in the upcoming elections in support of CTA’s positions.