By Joe Hong
Black students’ standardized test scores and graduation rates have long trailed those of their white and Asian peers. For decades, educators and legislators have tried to close that achievement gap, and a school funding proposal in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget illustrates just how difficult it is to do.
The idea for the proposed funding began as a bill authored last year by Assemblymember Akilah Weber, a Democrat from La Mesa, that would have provided more money for Black K-12 students. The bill made it through both the Assembly and Senate with unanimous support. While Newsom never vetoed the bill, he ultimately refused to sign it. Weber agreed to drop the bill when the governor promised to include the funding in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
Source: School funding proposal aims to achieve equity, but does it go far enough? – The Vacaville Reporter
By Susan Hiland
The Fairfield-Suisun School District – along with public schools across the state – are feeling the pinch of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2023-24 budget, with the likely end of pandemic-driven one-time funding and no no relief provided as CalPERS retirement rates increase and CalSTRS retirement rates remain high.
The situation is such that schools will likely see most – if not all – spending for recent programs curtailed just to maintain baseline programs.
That was the gist of the message provided Tuesday to trustees of the Fairfield Suisun School District by Laneia Grindle, assistant superintendent of Business Services, who presented the governor’s budget plan and resulting budget year projections for the district.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board considers implications of governor’s budget
By Los Angeles Times
Taryn Luna, Mackenzie Mays and Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times
Facing a projected $22.5 billion budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced plans to reduce investments in the state’s move to zero-emission vehicles, make cuts to other climate change programs and delay funding for 20,000 new child-care slots as California transitions from a time of economic surplus to shortage.
The governor’s administration blamed high inflation, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and volatility in the stock market as the major forces causing state revenues to drop well below projections from last summer when he anticipated an $100 billion surplus in the current budget year.
Source: Gov. Newsom proposes cuts to climate change programs amid cloudy economic outlook
By Howard Blume
No grade level suffered a steeper enrollment drop during the COVID-19 pandemic than kindergarten, driven by what many parents saw as the futility of placing a 5-year-old in front of a computer all day.
When campuses reopened, enrollment somewhat rebounded, but an overall downward trend deeply worried educators, knowing the harm that missing kindergarten can mean for a child’s development.
For that reason, many expressed disappointment that Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday took a step back from a historic expansion of early education by vetoing one bill that would have made kindergarten mandatory and a second bill that would have required school systems to offer a full-day kindergarten.
Source: California kindergarten saw big enrollment drop during pandemic. What’s happening now? – The Vacaville Reporter
By Madison Hirneisen
California lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk this week that would require cash-strapped school districts to run an “equity impact analysis” before closing a school.
If enacted, supporters say it will require school districts to be transparent about the impact of closures beyond the fiscal cost.
Lawmakers advanced Assembly Bill 1912 on Tuesday, which requires school districts to develop an equity impact analysis with metrics that analyze the condition of a school facility, the operating cost of the school, special programs available at the school, pupil demographics and transportation needs of students, among other things, before considering closure or consolidation.
Source: California bill slowing school closure process heads to Newsom | National News | kpvi.com
By Matt Miller
School leaders applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recommendation Monday to lift mask mandates for students in what amounts to a small start in shifting back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The mandate will be lifted at midnight March 12. Masks will continue to be “strongly recommended” as students head to school March 14 but not required, likely meaning many students will continue to choose to wear their masks and others will not.
“I appreciate the state’s announcement of moving from mask requirements to masks being strongly recommended for our schools,” Solano Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said by email. “The new guidelines seem to reflect recent Covid data and feedback from California families. California has had among the lowest pediatric hospitalization rates compared to other states, and the data is certainly trending in the right direction in Solano County.”
Source: Solano school leaders applaud state’s first step in lifting mask mandates
By Susan Hiland
The school board will hear an overview Thursday of the governor’s proposed budget as it weighs the possibility of a cut to state funding due to a drop in attendance.
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Administrative Services Kelly Burks will talk about some of the highlights of the state budget plan and how it may affect the Vacaville School District.
The Department of Finance 18 months ago projected the 2022-23 budget at $130 billion. The newest proposal is a budget at $200 billion. But the windfall in state revenue will not necessarily translate into a windfall at the local level.
Source: Vacaville school board to hear details of governor’s proposed budget
By Associated Press
California is making it easier for school districts to hire teachers and other employees amid staffing shortages brought on by the latest surge in coronavirus cases, the governor said Tuesday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he has signed an executive order to allow schools more flexibility in staffing decisions like giving additional hours to substitute teachers and rehiring recent retirees for short stints. The order expires at the end of March.
“These are short-term challenges that require short-term and targeted solutions,” said Newsom, a Democrat.
The California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan, research and analysis nonprofit committed to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians, released the following statement from Executive Director Chris Hoene following the release of Governor Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 state budget:
“Urgent funding and support for the ongoing public health and economic needs of Californians as proposed by Governor Newsom are critical as each day shows us that COVID-19 and its consequences are far from over for children, families, workers, and adults of all ages. It’s fiscally prudent and essential for the governor and Legislature to use the state’s strong fiscal conditions to ensure every Californian — not just corporations and the wealthy — can be healthy and thrive.
Source: Statement on Governor Newsom’s Proposed 2022-23 Budget – California Budget & Policy Center
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 2022–23:
“This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for our students, families, and educators. We must now meet those challenges and continue to transform California schools. The Governor’s proposed budget will almost triple the amount of per-pupil investment from a decade ago and will allow the state to address historic inequities, learning loss, and the social-emotional needs of our students. I want to thank the Governor for the attention and focus on our students and schools in a time when we need all the resources possible to help students heal, recover, and thrive.
“As with last year, California continues to need increased investments in mental health to address the severe trauma our students have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know will have a lasting impact on their ability to learn and succeed through the rest of their lives. The Governor’s budget proposal aligns with and reflects many of the CDE’s priorities and my priorities.
Source: SPI Responds to Governor’s Proposed 2022 Budget – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
By Joe Hong, CalMatters
As they await the release of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 state budget, school district officials across California are worried about losing millions of dollars all at once, resulting in staffing cuts in a time when students need more attention than ever.
After two years of not being penalized for declining enrollment during the pandemic, school districts are bracing for a sudden drop in revenues next year as their funding gets recalibrated to match current enrollment, which plummeted since Covid-19 first closed California’s schools.
“I’ve never ever seen a drop in enrollment come all at once like this,” said Andy Johnsen, superintendent at the San Marcos School District in north San Diego County. “The pandemic changed everything.”
Source: State’s schools risk ‘colossal’ loss of dollars as enrollment drops
By Matt O’Donnell
The Vallejo City Unified School District, in an email sent to students and their families across the district Wednesday, says it will comply with a state mandate that students and staff must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend school in person.
The district will host two upcoming vaccination clinics for students and staff: Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Vallejo High School and Thursday, Oct. 14 at the same time at Hogan Middle School.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that students and staff would need to be vaccinated to attend school in person.
Source: Vallejo City Unified School District plans to follow vaccine mandate for students, staff – Times-Herald
By Emily Deruy
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that students will soon need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend school in person in California. Here’s what you need to know about the new vaccine mandate.
Q: What is the new requirement?
A: Children must be vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend schools in person, starting the school term after the vaccines have full approval from the FDA for two different groups. The requirement will be phased in by grade span, first grades 7-12 and then K-6. School staff will also need to be vaccinated by the time the requirement applies to the first cohort.
Source: What California’s new student vaccine mandate means for your child – Times-Herald
California will soon require all public school students age 12 to 17 years old to get the COVID-19 vaccine once the shot is fully authorized by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announced the new emergency order on Friday while visiting a middle school in San Francisco.
The COVID-19 vaccine will now join a list of 10 other vaccinations required for children to attend school in the state.
The governor said the state will issue the mandate in the next school term following the FDA’s authorization, the earlier being January 1, 2022 and the latest being July 1, 2022.
At that same time, staff members at all California schools will also need to be fully vaccinated. The state issued a mandate in August for teachers and school staff members, but now it has eliminated the option to submit to regular COVID-19 testing in place of getting the vaccine.
Source: California to require public school students age 12-17 to get COVID vaccine – ABC7 Los Angeles
By John Fensterwald, EdSource
One of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s and the Legislature’s most ambitious and expensive education programs — the extension of the school day and of the school year for elementary school students — won’t happen this year, at least in most districts.
And that’s now OK with the Legislature and the Newsom administration, which had funded it to start right away.
School districts and charter schools say they are struggling to find enough teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers and Covid contact tracers to fill existing and new pandemic-related jobs, so adding before- and after-school positions is unfeasible, they say.
Source: California staffing shortage delays ambitious program to extend school day and year – The Vacaville Reporter
By John Woolfolk
California will be the first state in the country to require public school teachers and staff to either be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday as many of the state’s 6.1 million students return to classrooms for the fall term amid a sharp rise in infections.
“We think this right thing to do and a sustainable way to keep schools open,” Newsom said at a news conference at Carl B. Munck Elementary School in Oakland.
The new policy for school staff will take effect Aug. 12, and schools must be in full compliance by Oct. 15. Free testing is available to schools through the state’s K-12 school testing program.
Source: California Gov. Gavin Newsom extends statewide vaccine or test order to teachers – The Vacaville Reporter
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
By Matt Miller
Thanks to legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, some students who did not qualify for graduation in June may now be able to do so just one month later.
Newsom inked Assembly Bill 104, which relieves some students’ requirements, retention and grades because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation was listed as urgent and immediately applies to all school districts, retroactive to the 2020-21 school year and applied to the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
“For many, distance learning has not been ideal across the state,” said Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Superintendent Kris Corey. “We don’t want to penalize and hurt students for things that may have been out of their control. This was not a normal situation. Students should not be punished for a pandemic.”
Source: New state bill helps students with grade relief during pandemic
By John Woolfolk
Lawmakers are expected Thursday to approve a $6.6 billion bill aimed at enticing more public schools to reopen this spring, but it doesn’t appear to be driving districts around the state to bring kids back earlier than they had already planned.
While the bill offers financial incentives to reopen by the end of March, with decreasing amounts offered until May 15, several districts say their reopening timelines instead depend on two factors: teacher vaccinations and falling local infection rates. Both of those were underway before Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced their compromise legislation Monday, and many districts had already hammered out agreements with teachers’ unions that would be difficult to change.
Source: COVID: Teacher vaccination a main driver in reopening schools – Times-Herald
By Taryn Luna and John Myers, LA Times
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders announced an agreement Monday to give school districts $2 billion to open schools for students in transitional kindergarten through second grade by April 1, focusing on California’s youngest children after almost a year of distance learning.
The negotiations wrapped up over the weekend, according to sources close to both the governor and the Legislature who confirmed its basic components.
The plan, detailed in Assembly Bill 86, provides financial incentives to school districts that offer in-person instruction in counties with fewer than 25 new daily confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, a threshold almost all California counties currently meet as the winter’s rapid spread of the virus had slowed.
Source: Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools