By Richard Bammer
Solano County Office of Education leaders, when they meet tonight in Fairfield, will face a relatively light agenda, followed by a special meeting and a closed hearing.
Nicola Parr, director of student and program support, will update the seven-member board on the SCOE’s Local Control Accountability Plan, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. LCAPs are annual documents that guide virtually all of a school district’s spending, especially for English learners, low-income students and foster youth.
Parr will note the stakeholders “engagement process,” to include the frequency of meetings with parents, students, staff and foster youth advocates.
Additionally, she will note a pending Career Technical Education advisory meeting, to include a guest speaker who will offer an update on the economic climate for the North Bay; input from local businesses about the skills they want in graduates, among other things.
Source: Solano County Office of Education board holds special meeting
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia Unified School District would need to make $800,000 in ongoing adjustments for its budget to break even, Chief Business Official Tim Rahill reported at Thursday’s school board meeting.
On Jan. 10, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his final January budget proposal. After gathering information from the proposal, Rahill said BUSD would need to make $800,000 in continuing budget adjustments for the budget to become balanced and provide for California’s required minimum 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainties— which is currently $1.4 million— and the board policy reserve— which stands at $2 million.
“Both of those reserves are enacted to help provide financial stability for the district in tough economic times, such as continuing declining student enrollment which our district has experienced for at least two years in a row,” Rahill said.Reserves can also provide security in times of state or national recessions or economic slowdowns, Rahill said.
The chief business official said BUSD would receive an estimated $1.3 million in one-time funds, which would be spent on items like books, technology, 21st-century classrooms and professional development, including the instructional coaching model. The money would not be spent on items that have a cost to the district over multiple years.
Source: BUSD business chief: $800K needed for balanced budget
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Thursday that California public schools built before 2010 must test for lead in drinking water, an order that will affect all schools in Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield.
The requirement comes several months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 746, which requires community water systems statewide, beginning Jan. 1, to complete lead testing in these older schools by July 1, 2019.
It also comes nearly four years after national headline-making news of lead contamination in drinking water in Flint, Mich., when the city switched its main water source from Detroit to the Flint River to save the city money. However, officials there did not properly treat the water coming from the Flint River, which leached lead from the city’s aging pipes into the drinking supply.
Source: California Department of Education says most schools must test their drinking water
On January 10, Governor Jerry Brown released a proposed 2018-19 budget that prioritizes building up reserves amid deep uncertainty about looming federal budget proposals, the impacts of the recently enacted federal tax bill, and future economic conditions. The Governor forecasts revenues that are $4.2 billion higher (over a three-year “budget window” from 2016-17 to 2018-19) than previously projected in the 2017-18 budget enacted last June, driven largely by continued economic growth. The Governor’s budget assumes no changes to current federal policies and funding levels and is not yet able to account for the potential impacts of the Republican tax bill passed in late December.
The Governor’s proposed budget reflects some notable advances, such as providing funding to fully implement the Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 education (designed to direct additional resources to disadvantaged students), continuing to invest in early education and higher education, and creating a home visiting pilot program that would offer a range of supports for families participating in welfare-to-work (CalWORKs). In addition, the proposal maintains resources to address the impact of federal actions targeting the state’s immigrant residents. Yet, the Governor also places a heavy emphasis on building California’s reserves. He proposes making a one-time supplemental deposit of $3.5 billion to the state’s rainy day fund, in addition to the $1.5 billion required by Proposition 2 (2014). This proposed $5.0 billion deposit would raise the rainy day fund balance to the Prop. 2 maximum of 10 percent of General Fund tax revenues.
Source: First Look: Budget Proposal Prioritizes Saving for a Rainy Day Amid Federal and Economic Uncertainties – California Budget & Policy Center
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year:
“Governor Brown’s budget proposal provides a big boost to our public school students. The proposal shows how far we have come as a state in the past seven years in increasing investments in education so our students can continue to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy.
The proposal adds $3.8 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will raise per-pupil spending 66 percent above 2011-12 levels and bring total Proposition 98 funding from $47.3 billion in 2011-12 to $78.3 billion. The proposed budget will provide $11,614 per pupil in the next fiscal year, compared with $7,008 in 2011-12.
The budget also maintains Governor Brown’s commitment to fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula. The formula is California’s ambitious, ground-breaking plan to help all students, while giving extra resources to those with the greatest needs, students from low-income families, English learners, and foster youth.
Source: Torlakson Praises Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
Three members of Solano County’s delegation in the state Legislature issued optimistic responses Wednesday to the governor’s state budget plan.
State Assemblyman Jim Frazier said he’s proud to see the level of transportation spending in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget. State Sen. Bill Dodd, whose district bore the brunt of the region’s October wildfires, focused on disaster-prevention and disaster-relief spending.
“Supporting wildfire recovery and reducing fire risk must be top priorities in the budget,” Dodd said in a prepared statement. “I believe Governor Brown’s budget reflects a thoughtful starting point for this year’s budget negotiations. I will be working with the administration and my colleagues in the Legislature to expand our efforts on disaster recovery and preparedness.”
Source: Solano representatives praise governor’s proposed state budget
By Richard Bammer
The first interim 2017-18 budget report, nomination and election of new governing board officers, and new or modified course proposals are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Chief Business Officer Sonia Lasyone will update the five-member governing board on the district’s financial picture for the current year, one of two annual interim reports required by state law.
She will present her numbers as the state’s financial outlook remains generally healthy, with revenue collections exceeding expectations but with Gov. Jerry Brown warning public entities not to commit to ongoing, multiyear agreements.
Source: Interim budget report, officer elections on Travis Unified School District agenda
By John Fensterwald
With Gov. Jerry Brown retiring a year from now, EdSource asked two dozen school leaders, student advocates, legislators and other astute observers to suggest the most important improvements needed to make his landmark education law, the Local Control Funding Formula, more effective, equitable and truer to its promise. Their insightful recommendations touched on the key aspects of the law — its need-based funding formula, school accountability requirements and a focus on school improvement through local control. There was some common ground, plenty of disagreement and one response in verse. Their recommendations are summarized below and my own observations are in a separate column.
Source: 24 ideas for improving the Local Control Funding Formula | EdSource
By Ashley Hopkinson
In an effort to remove obstacles for Californians trying to succeed in the labor market, a new law could make access to child care easier for low-income parents taking classes to learn English or complete high school.
The law will expand the eligibility requirements for subsidized child care. It will make low-income parents who are are enrolled in English as a second language classes (ESL) or a program to earn a high school diploma or general education development certificate (GED) eligible to place their children in subsidized care.
Although in the past some parents taking ESL classes were considered eligible for subsidized care, it was not specifically listed as a factor for eligibility.
Source: New California law expands low-income parents’ access to subsidized child care | EdSource
By John Fensterwald
Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed Republican tax cut on the state’s economy and budget is hanging like a cloud over California, but at this point, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting robust growth in state revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the coming year.
The LAO is predicting that the schools and community colleges will get $3.2 billion more in 2018-19 under Proposition 98, the constitutional formula that determines minimum school funding. That would be an increase of 4.3 percent, bringing the Prop. 98 total to $77.7 billion, according to the LAO report released Wednesday.
K-12 schools get about 89 percent of Prop. 98 funding, with community colleges getting most of the remainder.
Source: Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource
By Daily Republic Staff
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Thursday that allows more community college students to bypass remedial English and math courses and begin directly in college-level math and English, according to a press release.
Nearly 170,000 California community college students enter remedial math, for example, with as many as 110,000 failing to complete the math requirements required for a degree, according to the release.
Assembly Bill 705 will require colleges to use the high school grades or students rather than standardized tests to make accurate and equitable placement decisions, and ensure students are placed into courses that give them the best chances of completing college-level courses within a year.
Source: Brown signs bill to help boost community college student achievement
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed into law a bill that goes further than any other legislation in the country toward creating a statewide sanctuary policy. SB 54, by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities, except when the immigrant has been convicted of certain crimes.
SB 54 will end the practices of local police arrests for “civil immigrant warrants,” using immigration agents as interpreters, local police proactively providing personal information to ICE, and the “287g” deportation agreements. The new law also prohibits cruel, costly, and unconstitutional ICE “holds” in local jails. SB 54 will also help ensure that immigration raids do not take place in public hospitals, schools, health facilities, and courthouses.
Source: Gov. Brown Signs SB 54 into Law – New America Media
By Dan Walters
California has spent tens of billions of extra dollars on its K-12 school system in recent years on promises that its abysmal levels of academic achievement – especially those of disadvantaged children – would be improved.
And what have those massive expenditures – a 50 percent increase in per-pupil spending – and a massive reworking of school curriculums accomplished?
Not much, the latest results from annual testing indicate.
Mathematics and English tests based on “Common Core” standards were administered last spring to half of the state’s 6-plus million K-12 students, those in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.
Source: CALmatters Commentary: Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
A bill to waive first-year tuition at community college for all California residents attending full-time is awaiting the governor’s signature after winning support from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the state Legislature Wednesday.
If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Bill 19 would allow for an estimated 19,000 additional students to take advantage of the state’s generous subsidies for community college students — irrespective of their financial need — under a new program called California College Promise.
For the bill to have teeth, it needs money appropriated from the state, and currently AB 19 has no funding mechanism. The Department of Finance, which advises Gov. Jerry Brown on fiscal issues, opposed the passage of the bill in August because of the estimated $30 million to $50 million price tag to enroll the additional students. The department also dinged the bill for expanding financial aid to students who don’t need it, “which is inconsistent with the Administration’s effort to target financial aid to the state’s neediest students.”
Source: Gov. Brown weighing support for free first year of community college | EdSource
On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 state budget bill. This year’s budget agreement includes a number of improvements over earlier proposals, though the overall scope of state investments remains constrained by uncertainty about potential federal policy changes. The 2017-18 budget package:
- Expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to well over 1 million additional families by expanding the credit to the self-employed and increasing the income eligibility limits.
- Reflects an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders over how to spend Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for Medi-Cal, with this funding going to supplemental payments for Medi-Cal providers and also to covering ordinary spending growth in the program.
Source: First Look: Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements, Reflects Ongoing Uncertainty About Federal Commitments – California Budget & Policy Center
By John Fensterwald
Rick Simpson didn’t write Proposition 98, the complex formula that determines how much money in the state budget goes to K-12 schools and community colleges each year. But for three decades after its inception in 1988, Simpson was an expert in its implementation as a senior adviser on education for eight Assembly Speakers.
Now recently retired, he’s pitching a tax proposal that would liberate schools from Prop. 98’s constraints. He says the only realistic way for schools to raise significantly more revenue is to give districts more authority to tax themselves. It will take a constitutional amendment, which he hopes that either the Legislature or voters, through an initiative, will place on the 2020 ballot. At this point, though, it’s just talk. No leaders or groups have stepped forward to embrace it.
Source: Expanding their taxing power would be one way to provide school districts more money | EdSource
By Ryan McCarthy
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Jim Frazier allowing school districts to pay for student field trips to other states – a measure spurred by Fairfield-Suisun School District students competing in a robotics event in Kentucky.
“I thank Fairfield-Suisun School District for bringing the need for this legislation to my attention,” Frazier said in a press release.
“School districts have been explicitly prohibited from using funds to help students participate in field trips or educational excursions out of state,” said Frazier, D-Discovery Bay. “AB 341 changes this, allowing schools to use district funds to enhance educational opportunities by increasing access to student resources.”
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools spur state law to pay for student field trips
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was all smiles when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2017–18 state budget. After all, it increases funding for K-12 public schools, after-school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.
“When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” he said in a press release issued late last month. “This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”
The Legislature approved the budget June 15, the date required by the state Constitution. Brown’s signature on the state’s key funding document kicked off the new spending plan July 1.
California has the nation’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students at nearly 10,000 public schools.
Source: Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Brown for signing a 2017–18 state budget that increases funding for kindergarten through twelfth grade public schools, after school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.
“The Legislature and Governor clearly showed their strong and ongoing support of high-quality public education in California,” Torlakson said. “When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.
“This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the Governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”
The Legislature approved the budget on June 15, the date required by the State Constitution. Governor Brown’s signature on Tuesday means the new state funding plan starts on July 1.
Source: State Budget with Increases for Education Funding – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Theresa Harrington
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the $183 billion state budget on Tuesday, after announcing he had reached an agreement on the details with legislative leaders earlier this month.
“California is taking decisive action by enacting a balanced state budget,” Brown said. “This budget provides money to repair our roads and bridges, pay down debt, invest in schools, fund the earned income tax credit and provide Medi-Cal health care for millions of Californians.”
The 2017-18 budget allocates more money to K-12 schools and community colleges, expected to increase by $3.1 billion over the 2016-17 level to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will include $1.4 million more for the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing its full implementation to 97 percent complete.
Source: Governor signs 2017-18 budget allocating more money to schools | EdSource