By Carolyn Jones, EdSource
The threatened deluge of post-pandemic special education litigation may be averted — or at least minimized— by a new initiative in California encouraging parents and schools to resolve disputes before heading to court.
The state budget, signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, sets aside $100 million for resolving special education conflicts between parents and school districts, which escalated during remote learning.
The money will go toward outreach, such as brochures, meetings and presentations, to help parents and school staff understand the rights outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that requires districts to educate students of all abilities. The goal is to improve communication and build trust between parents and schools, so conflicts can be resolved quickly and more easily.
Source: How California plans to deter costly special education disputes – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of the 2021–22 state budget bills and trailer bills, which include key investments in areas the State Superintendent championed before the pandemic disrupted public education. These investments provide the resources schools desperately need to recover and to build back better.
“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and we are grateful that this budget recognizes that investments in public education will be a critical driver to our state’s rebound,” said Thurmond. “Coming off the most difficult year for education in our lifetime, historic funding levels to the state and education will enable us to recover, accelerate learning, and build back better—with specific attention to student mental health and closing opportunity gaps that disproportionately affected students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and students in low-income households.
“I echo our Governor, who announced that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California’s future and expand opportunities for every child across the state, with $123.9 billion to reduce barriers and increase opportunities from transitional kindergarten through community college. In this year’s budget, our Proposition 98 funding for TK to 12—money going to our schools and classrooms—went from $69.3 billion in 2020–21 to $80.4 billion this year, almost a 30 percent increase over last year.
Source: SPI Applauds 2021-22 Education Budget – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
By Susan Hiland
The school district budget has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the past year, Laneia Grindle, assistant superintendent of Business Services, said Thursday during a meeting with the Fairfield- Suisun School District governing board.
Her comment came as she presented an updated budget report to the board.
The estimates are more favorable now than earlier projections, she said.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun trustees hear overview of newly adjusted school budget
By Matt Miller
Students will soon return to school, be required to wear masks – at least at the outset – while options of independent learning will continue and the state works to address the digital needs for all Californians.
Those were the topics discussed Tuesday night at a virtual town hall put on by Sen. Bill Dodd and broadcast live on Sonoma TV and KSVY radio in Sonoma, and on local social media channels.
Joining Dodd was California Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond, Sunne Wright McPeak, president and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund, and Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Solano County superintendent of schools.
Source: In-person school returning, with technological support
By Susan Hiland
The Fairfield-Suisun School District should start the year with a bit more money set aside than is required by the state but will have to keep a watchful eye in coming years when budget cuts may be required.
Trustees heard a presentation on a draft of the budget for the 2021-22 school year when they met Thursday.
Laneia Grindle, director of Fiscal Services, said the budget is based on the governor’s proposed budget, which means it might be revised over the next month and a half.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school trustees hear proposed budget summary for coming year
By Glen Faison
The Travis School District board will hear public comment Tuesday on the proposed 2021-22 fiscal year budget, and will consider approving the certificated salary schedule including a 183-day work calendar.
A staff report on the budget proposal shows more than $68.33 million in general fund revenue and nearly $69,021 in spending. The approximate $1.38 million in red ink is driven by $1.55 million in deficit spending in the district’s unrestricted funds, partially offset by a surplus of $171,000 in the district’s restricted funds.
Source: Travis schools budget plan – with $1.38M in red ink – open to public comment
By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters
With a deluge of dollars flowing into California’s coffers from state taxpayers and Uncle Sam, Democratic leaders in the Legislature have agreed on a budget plan that would spend slightly less than what Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed, while still pouring billions of dollars into helping Californians recover from the pandemic.
The $267.1 billion plan the Assembly and Senate announced Tuesday largely mirrors the proposals Newsom laid out last month in his $267.8 billion budget. It embraces Newsom’s “Golden State Stimulus,” which will send at least $500 to every household that makes as much as $75,000 a year. It would pour even more into grants to help small businesses and into payments toward unemployment insurance. But it would launch fewer new social programs than the Democratic governor proposed.
Source: Four things to know about the California budget deal – The Reporter
By Susan Hiland
Trustees of Fairfield and Suisun City schools gave the go-ahead last week for a 2021-2022 budget priorities plan that was put on hold earlier this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The projected budget for 2021-2022 includes nearly $203.183 million in attendance-based state revenue. That’s compared to just more than $195.561 million for the current academic year that ends June 30.
The district has identified $4.355 million in cuts that can be quickly implemented if needed at the start of the coming school year July 1. About $500,000 would come from what’s paid in retiree benefits. The district also reported some costs that were greater than anticipated and student-based funding that will fall short of projections.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school board OKs plan that identifies nearly $8M in possible cuts
By Richard Bammer
At a regular governing board meeting Tuesday, Travis Unified leaders heard an update about learning and reopening district schools amid the pandemic, an overview of the budget and enrollment projections and an update about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $227 billion 2021-22 budget, which includes $90 billion for K-14 education.
Since the updates and reports were informational items, no action was taken during the 6 p.m. meeting, which was held online.
Sue Brothers, assistant superintendent for educational services, updated the five-member board on learning and reopening, ending her slide presentation with “next steps,” which included a “family choice” between hybrid, meaning some in-person instruction coupled with distance learning, or continuing with distance learning. She indicated that the information would be sent to families to “consider what is best for their children.” Families will respond online, a date to be determined.
Source: TUSD leaders hear reports on school reopenings, budget and enrollment projections – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
A Fairfield-Suisun Unified official says that while Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed $227 billion 2021-2022 budget “is not without its challenges,” which include deferral of payments from the state to the district, it requires attention to a “critical cash management” in the coming months.
In a press release and an interview earlier this week with The Reporter, Laneia Grindle, director of fiscal services for Solano County’s largest district, said there is good news, too, even amid the pandemic and the virtual learning model.
In a Jan. 8 statement about the new budget, Newsom promised a commitment to “equity in and for our school communities,” reflected by the highest level of K-14 school funding in the state’s history, $90 billion, and targets the “inequitable impacts of the pandemic on schools and families,” including $2 billion to support a safe return to in-person instruction, $4.6 billion to help students recover from the pandemic’s impacts, and $400 million for school-based mental health services.
Source: FSUSD official: State’s 2021-22 budget presents challenges – The Reporter
By Susan Hiland
A review last week of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget by the Fairfield-School School District shows both cause for optimism and concern.
Staff shared highlights of the governor’s 2020-21 budget plan for the coming year at the school board meeting Thursday. The discussion was cut short due to time limits for virtual meetings.
Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of Business Services, gave the presentation, which showed that the past year’s $5.6 billion state surplus is gone and the budget reflects a $54.4 billion deficit.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board hears overview of governor’s proposed school budget
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed education budget for the fiscal year 2021–22:“
At a time when a global pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for our students, families, and educators, the weeks and months ahead represent the most important moment for public education in a lifetime. The investments we choose must help our schools urgently and immediately recover from this crisis and accelerate learning for the students and families hardest hit by a global pandemic that has deepened historic inequities. Our priorities should not only help our schools emerge safely from the impacts of COVID-19, but should immediately double down on our efforts to level the playing field for a generation of students.
“I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for proposing a budget that—until our educators, school employees and communities are vaccinated—addresses main areas of need as public schools consider how to safely resume in-person instruction. Today’s budget proposal also represents a strong start at tackling the growing access and learning gaps experienced most severely among our students of color, low-income households, children with disabilities, and students learning English.
Source: Thurmond’s Statement on Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Fensterwald
Dissatisfied with the uneven quality of distance learning among school districts after they closed in March, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature established minimum requirements for the next school year in legislation accompanying the 2020-21 budget.
For many districts, the school year will begin next month. With Covid-19 infection rates and deaths rising, some districts, including the state’s largest, announced this week they’ll open solely with remote learning or hybrid instruction, with some in-person and some remote teaching.
The minimum requirements include ensuring every student is equipped with a computer and internet access, taking daily attendance and interacting with students in some form every day. Proponents of the standards say they’re pleased the Legislature acted but haven’t given up lobbying for additional requirements, particularly more extensive online teaching.
Source: Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law – The Reporter
By Ricardo Cano
California’s new budget provides enough funding for schools to pivot to hybrid learning when they reopen this fall. But school officials fear Sacramento’s decision to delay cuts could throw districts into the fiscal abyss later.
The $202 billion budget Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday largely keeps intact funding for California’s public schools, capping a turbulent couple months of budget negotiations.
Initially, schools were in line to receive a steady increase in funding when the governor introduced his January proposal, with money going to long-term efforts to expand early childhood programs and other targeted efforts, including grants to incentivize educators to teach in low-income schools.
Source: What state’s budget means for K-12 schools – Daily Democrat
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued the following statement today in response to the Legislature’s approval of the 2020-21 state budget for K-12 public education:
“I want to commend our leaders in the Assembly and Senate for working with the Governor to preserve funding for education and to avoid the permanent cuts and layoffs that would have been devastating for California’s public schools and students just when they need us the most. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and we are grateful that this budget recognizes that investments in public education will be a critical driver to our state’s rebound.
Source: SPI Issues Statement in Response to Ed Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
BY Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Vacaville Unified School District will consider adopting with a projected $116 million in General Fund revenues for the 2020-21 academic year at its Thursday meeting.
The revenue assumptions used for the budget are based on projections from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revisions to the state budget. The district’s budget is also linked to the approval process of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), both of which require a public hearing and adoption. The budget approval process will have both at Thursday’s school board meeting, while an LCAP hearing will be held at a later date.
For the 2020-21 school year, VUSD is anticipating $5 million in local funding, $9 million in state funding, $4.6 million in federal funding and $97.9 million in funding from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a funding system which establishes grants in place of funding streams. Combined, the funding systems are projected to provide more than $116 million for the next school year.
Source: Vacaville school board to consider budgets for district, Kimme – The Reporter
By Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk
As California struggles to manage the impact of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a state budget deal that avoids deep education cuts to close a cavernous deficit created by the crisis.
Newsom offered few details in the deal hashed out with legislative leaders late Sunday, but he stressed that the most feared cuts to public schools that he’d called for to help close a $54.3 billion shortfall will be averted.
“We have provisions against teacher layoffs,” Newsom said Monday. “That is good news, that was foundational, something we all cared deeply about. There was concern and anxiety about layoffs and pink slips and that was substantially addressed.”
Source: Gov. Newsom: California budget deal avoids teacher layoffs – The Reporter
Legislators will vote on a new state budget Monday, even though they have yet to strike a deal with Gov. Gavin Newsom on a plan to close California’s $54.3 billion deficit.
The move could be largely procedural. State Senate and Assembly leaders said Wednesday that lawmakers plan to vote and then continue “productive” talks with Newsom, to meet a June 15 deadline for passing a budget or have their pay cut off.
Their plan is to take up a budget that legislative leaders announced last week, which differed in several respects from the version Newsom put forward in May.
Source: California Legislature pressing forward on budget vote without deal with Newsom [San Francisco Chronicle]
By Todd R. Hansen
A public hearing on facility needs for the Travis School District and a proposed Level 2 fee on new residential construction will be conducted Tuesday when the Board of Trustees meet during a virtual session.
Board members also will take public comment on the proposed 2020-21 budget, and will later in the meeting consider adoption of the budget, which also includes financial projections for 2021-22 and 2022-23.
“The Proposed Adopted Budget for 2020-21 demonstrates that the district will be able to meet its financial obligations for (2020-21) with the use of ending fund balance reserves. However, the district will not be able to meet its obligations in the subsequent years without substantial reductions to expenditures,” the budget document states.
Source: Travis school trustees to consider budget, new construction impact fees
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District officials announced various administrative changes Monday to help the district cover an expected budget deficit for the 2020-21 school year.
The changes were announced in a press release from the district and were described as a first step to help close a multimillion-dollar budget gap caused by the current health crisis.
Matt Smith, current superintendent of MIT Academy in Vallejo, will begin July 1 as Director of Student Services at the district office.
Current Director Vince Ruiz will begin as the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources as a result of the retirement of Clay McAllester.
Source: Travis School District announces staff changes in initial step to close $4M budget gap