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
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders late last week put finishing touches on the final 2017-18 school district budget some Local Control Accountability Plans, which will be approved, perhaps with some minor changes, at the governing board’s June 29 meeting.
In California, annual school district budgets and their accompanying LCAPs, a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, must be submitted to respective county offices of education on or before June 30.
Although they detail spending for all student programs, LCAPs typically lay out in detail funding for programs that help English learners, foster youth and low-income students in efforts to close the “achievement gap,” the difference in standardized test scores between whites and ethnic minorities.
Source: Vacaville Unified school board trustees put final touches on 2017-18 budget
By Larry Gordon
The California Legislature’s final actions this year on higher education funding will please some middle-income families but may lead to conflicts with Gov. Jerry Brown.
The embattled Middle Class Scholarship program that Brown sought to end was kept alive in the conference committee budget legislation that both houses are expected to approve this week. Saying it was too expensive and not efficient, Brown wanted to phase out the program that provided aid for about 50,000 middle class students at California’s two public university systems this year. But parents around the state whose income was not low enough to qualify for Cal Grants lobbied the Legislature for the Middle Class aid to continue.
Source: California middle class families may still get scholarship help | EdSource
By John Fensterwald
California school districts won’t have to wait an extra year to get nearly $1 billion in one-time funding, as Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last month. And after-school and summer program providers will see their first funding increase in more than a decade, under the terms of the 2017-18 state budget that legislative leaders and the Brown administration negotiated last week.
The Legislature must pass the proposed $126 billion state budget by Thursday to meet a constitutional deadline. Schools and community colleges will get a sizable share of the funding increase. Funding under Proposition 98, the formula that determines K-12 and community colleges’ share of state revenue, will rise $3.1 billion – 4.4 percent – to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will be $2.8 billion.
Source: Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Several public hearings, senior manager employment contracts, and a proposed hike in developer fees are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
The first public hearing concerns the district’s school facilities needs analysis and a resolution, set for a vote later in the meeting, on Level 2 developer fees.
Likely to pass muster among the five-member governing board, the resolution calls for a hike in developer fees from $5.42 to $5.49 per square foot for new housing, with the exception of any residential development subject to mitigation agreement or a Mello-Roos Community Facilities District (CFD) special tax.
Trustees also will hear any public comments about the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, the document that guides virtually all of a school district’s spending under Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula.
Source: Several public hearings, manager contracts, developer fees on TUSD agenda
By John Fensterwald
Officials with the California Department of Finance reassured lawmakers Wednesday that the state would issue the first batch of bonds this fall for K-12 school construction, funding that voters approved in passing Proposition 51 in November.
Chris Ferguson and Jeff Bell, who oversee education policy for the department, confirmed an autumn timeline in response to lawmakers’ questions during a hearing of the Assembly Education Committee. The news will relieve school districts worried that Gov. Jerry Brown, who opposed Prop. 51, might drag out the bond sale to exact more stringent oversight and other changes in the bond process.
But Ferguson said that Brown’s two preconditions for moving forward – the creation of new grant agreements laying out districts’ commitments in receiving state funding and imposition of tighter audits – should be in place by summer. The auditing requirement will be in the “trailer bill,” statutory language accompanying the state budget.
Source: Gov. Brown agrees to issue first school bonds this fall | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
California has the most diverse public school student population in the nation and it is increasingly “minority majority” in its enrollments.
Under components of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, the state’s 1,000 school districts must devise a plan of action to meet the educational needs for every student in California, where, according to data from the 2000 Census, 60 percent of state residents speak only English, while 40 percent speak another language (either instead of, or in addition to, English).
To that end, the Solano County Office of Education plans to launch a “cultural proficiency” program to better serve students in an increasingly diverse county, where, essentially, the world has arrived during the better part of the last half century.
Source: SCOE to sponsor ‘cultural proficiency’ program for educators – The Reporter
By Fermin Leal
In his proposed budget for the coming year, Gov. Jerry Brown indicated that he wants California to continue addressing the statewide shortage of qualified teachers with ongoing initiatives rather than by funding new reforms.
The initial 2017-18 budget Brown released last week doesn’t include any new money to combat the state’s teacher shortage. Instead, it highlights the $35 million in programs allocated this year to help school districts recruit new teachers.
“No additional investments are being proposed in the governor’s budget, given both the investments that were made (in the 2016-17 budget) as well as the fiscal pressures now facing the state,” said H.D Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance.
Source: Gov. Brown’s proposed budget lacks new funds to combat teacher shortage | EdSource
On January 10, Governor Jerry Brown released a proposed 2017-18 budget that reflects both deep uncertainty about looming federal actions and a tempered economic and fiscal outlook for the state. The Governor forecasts revenues that are $5.8 billion lower — over a three-year period — than previously projected and proposes taking steps to address a $1.6 billion projected shortfall for 2017-18. The Governor’s proposal assumes current federal policies and funding levels, even as the Affordable Care Act and other federal programs face the prospect of cuts with President-elect Trump taking office.
As part of addressing the deficit that his Administration foresees, the Governor proposes to rescind several one-year spending commitments that had been part of the 2016-17 budget agreement, including $400 million for affordable housing programs and $300 million for renovation of state office buildings. The Governor also proposes to “pause” a multiyear plan for reinvesting the state’s child care system.
Source: First Look: Restrained Budget Proposal Reflects Uncertainty About Federal Commitments and Economic Conditions – California Budget & Policy Center
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year:
“In a year where California’s overall revenue is down, this is still another positive step forward for California’s 6.2 million public school students. The Governor’s proposed budget continues to invest more in helping students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.
“The budget proposal adds $2.1 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will increase to $73.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. Per-pupil spending under Prop. 98 will reach about $10,900, up from about $10,600 in the current budget year. As state revenue improves and the budget process continues, we hope that support for Early Education remains a priority for our youngest learners.
Source: Comments on Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Of the three education-related propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot, 51, to build new and repair old schools; and 55, to extend a tax surcharge on Californians making more than $250,000 per year, are getting the most media attention.
But it is Proposition 58, the English Proficiency, Multilingual Education initiative, that some believe may have the most long-lasting effect on California’s future.
If approved by voters Nov. 8, it essentially would roll back Proposition 227 of 1998, the so-called “English-only” initiative, and allow multilingual education in public schools.
As written and if approved by a majority of voters, it would keep the requirement that public schools ensure students become proficient in English. Schools would still be allowed to set up dual-language immersion programs if they and families choose to. It would require school districts to provide English learners the option to be taught mostly in English. It would authorize school districts to set up language-immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers.
Source: Strong statewide support for Proposition 58, multilingual education initiative
By Richard Bammer
For many California’s high school students, dreams of attending college are being nurtured by a state grant.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday announced that nearly 1,000 school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, will receive about $100 million in grants to help students prepare to attend college.
The grants, which are available through the 2018–19 fiscal year, come from a $200 million College Readiness Block Grant program administered by the California Department of Education. The expenditure also was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature.
The goal is to increase the number of students who enroll in college and complete a degree program in four years, with a special emphasis on helping English learners, low-income students, and foster youth.
Source: State department of education releases $100M in college-readiness grants
By Richard Bammer
Educators want it; local taxpayer groups don’t: Proposition 55, the Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare initiative.
One 17 state initiatives on the crowded Nov. 8 ballot, it extends by 12 years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings of more than $250,000. The money would be disbursed to K-12 schools, California community colleges, and, in certain years, to health-care programs.
The measure would essentially extend 2012’s Proposition 30, which sent billions of dollars to the state’s 1,000 school districts, among other funding recipients, including public safety.
Source: Educators, most voters support Proposition 55; taxpayer groups don’t – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Many parents, including Vacaville Unified trustees, California educators, and state and federal legislators from both sides of the political aisle support Proposition 51, but, as expected, major statewide anti-tax groups do not.
If approved by voters Nov. 8, the K-12 School and Community College Facilities initiative, the first of its kind on a California ballot, authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new buildings and upgrades to the state’s 10,000 K-12 schools, including 1,100 charter schools, vocational education facilities, and the state’s 113 community colleges. California has some 6.2 million students in K-12 schools and some 2.1 million enrolled in community colleges, the largest such systems of their kind in the nation.
The initiative’s fiscal impact, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, would be about $17.6 billion to pay off the principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on the bonds. It would generate payments of $500 million annually for 35 years.
Source: Wide swatch of voters support Proposition 51; anti-tax groups do not