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Push underway to increase California school funding by billions

Posted on May 22, 2018 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

"Brown defined full funding as the point at which every district would be restored to the pre-recession funding level of 2007-08, plus inflation."

2007-08 levels restored by 2018-19....it's truly a sad state of affairs for public education funding.  If only this message was commonly understood in California

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By the time he leaves office early next year, Gov. Jerry Brown will have achieved his goal of “full funding” for his signature school financing law, the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula.

 

But rather than hang a banner and declare victory, legislators and education advocates who support Brown’s funding formula are ready to set the next target: an aspirational goal of committing more than $35 billion in new K-12 dollars to the funding formula — enough to raise California’s current per-student spending of $11,149 by about $6,500. That would potentially place California among the top 10 states in the nation.

 

Assembly Bill 2808, authored by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, avoids a hard choice: It does not include a funding source to accelerate education spending. Since future governors and Legislatures will ultimately decide the size of their state budgets, the bill cannot dictate how soon the state will reach the $35 billion target. It’s a recommendation: Give K-12 schools significantly more money and direct the bulk of it to the funding formula, which covers more than 80 percent of running a school district, from teacher salaries to roof repairs and pension costs.

 

The point of AB 2808 is to shift the conversation from the previous definition of a fully funded formula to the aspiration of “fair and full funding for all schools, regardless of where you live,” Muratsuchi said. The bill received unanimous approval in the Assembly Education Committee and is now awaiting action by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It has the support of groups representing teachers, school boards, parents and school district administrators.

 

The Legislature passed the funding formula in 2013, when the state was emerging from the Great Recession with about a 15 percent cut in K-12 funding. Brown set an 8-year goal of shifting to the new financing system in which districts would receive the same base funding per student, with additional money, called concentration and supplemental grants, tied to the numbers of low-income students, English learners and foster and migrant children they enroll.

 

Brown defined full funding as the point at which every district would be restored to the pre-recession funding level of 2007-08, plus inflation. The California Department of Finance predicted it would take eight years, until 2020-21, to reach that point. But, due to surging revenue, particularly in the first years of the formula, Brown is budgeting to reach full funding in 2018-19, two years early. Districts with large proportions of students targeted under the formula already receive more than the full-funding minimum. Some are receiving $2,000 or more per student than districts with low percentages of “high-needs” students.

 

Support for AB 2808 reflects a consensus that the formula’s base funding, which is supposed to cover basic costs of doing business, isn’t enough. A year after they passed the funding formula, the Legislature passed a 30-year plan to cover a massive unfunded pension liability for public employees, including teachers and hourly school employees. That expense, plus rising costs of special education that legislators didn’t foresee in 2013, have consumed a large portion of school districts’ base costs.

 

The result has been, for many districts, deficit spending and encroaching on supplemental and concentration money that is supposed to be spent on extra programs and services for high-needs students.

 

“The base is anemic in terms of adequate school funding. Districts will find a rationale to keep doors open, and that is not good for poor children” who could get short-changed money intended for them, said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting company based in Sacramento.

 

The funding law is silent as to what happens once the 2013 full-funding target is reached. Change the formula? Continue to freeze funding at the current level, plus inflation? Return to the old way, before the funding formula, and fund specific “categorical” programs that dictate how districts should use the money, whether for computer coding classes, mental health counselors, technology or whatever legislators decide is important?

 

Muratsuchi’s bill sends the message to stay the course, let school boards continue to determine their own spending decisions under local control and don’t change the funding formula itself — just increase the amount.

 

A top-10 funding state, in theory

Drafters of the bill set a target of raising base funding by $35 billion — 60 percent — which they calculated is needed to raise the base to the national average in per-student spending. That comes with caveats, however.

 

There are several methods to rank states’ student spending, as an EdSource explainer and an analysis of AB 2808 by Rick Pratt, chief consultant for the Assembly Education Committee, noted. Drafters of the bill chose Education Week’s index, which factors in regional costs of living. By that measure, California’s adjusted total per-student spending of $8,694 was $3,462 below the national average of $12,152; California ranked 45th among states and Washington, D.C.

State comparisons are several years old. The most recent EdWeek comparison, done in January 2017, was for the 2014-15 school year. Other states will probably increase their spending, too, raising the national average by the time California spends $35 billion more.

There is no target date for reaching the national average, and this Legislature couldn’t dictate what future governors and lawmakers will do anyway. Minimum K-12 and community college funding is determined by Proposition 98, a formula that factors in the annual growth in state revenue and per-capita income. School funding has increased an average of about 3 percent per year over the past 30 years, according to the Assembly Appropriations Committee analysis of the bill. Without new taxes, such as an initiative to raise taxes on commercial property — headed for the 2020 ballot — or reshuffling of state priorities, it could take more than a decade for the base funding under the funding formula to reach EdWeek’s 2014-15 national average.

But base spending for the funding formula makes up only 71 percent of total K-12 state funding. The rest includes supplemental and concentration grants under the formula, about 19 percent of the total. Supplemental and concentration grants are calculated as a percentage of base funding. So raising the base by 60 percent would require raising supplemental and concentration funding by the same proportion. Other programs, including the state contribution to special education, make up the final 10 percent.

Next year, under Brown’s budget for full funding, the base grant would average $8,300 per student, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

 

With a 60 percent increase, as called for in the bill, that amount would rise to $13,300 per student.

 

Raising the total funding formula, including supplemental and concentration grants, by 60 percent would increase spending to $15,900 per student.

 

Even if spending for the remaining K-12 programs not included in the funding formula, like the state contribution to special education, were frozen at current levels — a very unlikely scenario — total per-student spending would rise to a minimum $17,600 per student, according to the LAO. California would then be among the top 10 states in per-student spending, according to Pratt’s analysis.

 

Supporters aren’t citing these daunting numbers. Instead, they’re making the overall point that “full funding” under the current law is still inadequate funding.

 

“The educators who work with students day in and day out fully support AB 2808, a long-term funding mechanism to bring increased educational funding in California to a level our students need and deserve,” Claudia Briggs, a spokeswoman for the California Teachers Association, wrote in an email. Along with the CTA and the state PTA, associations representing school administrators, business officers and school boards also back the bill,

 

Based on conversations with the Department of Finance, Muratsuchi said he is “optimistic” that Brown would sign the bill. Doing so would ensure that Brown’s landmark law remains the top funding priority after he retires, he said.

John Fensterwald

EdSource

Charter schools are booming in California. Here's where they are growing fastest

Posted on April 24, 2018 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

 Be sure to check out these latest statisics on charter school growth in California.  


http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article208863954.html


Exclusive analysis: New USC survey shows public support for charter schools has jumped 10 points in last year

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Paul Peterson and Albert Cheng | March 27, 2018


For Democrats and Republicans alike, charter schools have long provided a happy compromise between vouchers for religious schools and no school choice at all. Charters give families an alternative schooling option but remain publicly funded, secular institutions authorized by government agencies. They have been warmly endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.


Unfortunately, the aura of bipartisanship surrounding the charter movement suffered heavy collateral damage during and after the intense battle over Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as Trump’s secretary of education. The NAACP and other civil rights groups called for a moratorium on the formation of new charter schools, despite the fact that black and Hispanic children are more likely to attend and benefit from charter schools than are white children.


As these highly publicized events unfolded, the share of the public who answered yes when asked whether they support “the formation of charter schools” fell from 65 percent in 2016 to an all-time low of 52 percent in the spring of 2017, according to annual polls conducted by Education Next and administered by the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance. This 13-point free fall was especially dramatic because charters had previously garnered high, steady levels of support.


But in January, the poll results reversed course. A nationally representative online survey of 4,617 adults administered by the University of Southern California’s Understanding America Study and later analyzed by the Education Next team at Harvard posed the same question asked in 2017 — and found the share favoring charters had jumped by 10 percentage points, from 52 to 62 percent. That’s nearly the same level attained in 2016, before the postelection hullabaloo began. (The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.)


Still, it may be too soon for charter school advocates to celebrate, as the bitter struggles of the past year have polarized the public along partisan lines. Charter support in the January poll leaped by 14 percentage points among those who identified with the Republican Party but did not budge at all among Democrats. Instead, a growing partisan gap opened even further.


As late as 2010, members of the two parties did not differ significantly in their opinions about charters. But by 2015, a 20-point gap had opened up, and now it has grown to 30 percentage points: 75 percent of Republicans, but only 45 percent of Democrats, support the formation of charter schools. This method of school reform is at risk of becoming still another beanball hurled in an unending slugfest between the two parties.


Still, support for charters among the black and Hispanic communities helps to offset this partisanship. Despite the NAACP’s new anti-charter position, majorities of both groups favor the formation of charters at roughly the same level as whites do. By serving black and Hispanic families well, charters may still be able to sustain a broad-based coalition. Nurturing such coalitions to seek the common good would be a welcome respite from the tribalism of our times.

California schools: Painful cuts around the corner, despite windfall

Posted on January 20, 2018 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

By SHARON NOGUCHI | [email protected] 


Despite an unexpected $3 billion infusion in K-12 revenue for the coming year, schools throughout the state are honing their electronic blue pencils to slash budgets.


Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to boost school funding to $56.7 billion “is not likely to be enough to mitigate any of the other crises districts are facing,” said Mary Ann Dewan, interim superintendent of the Santa Clara County Office of Education.


In San Jose, the Oak Grove School District still plans to close three or four elementary schools in the fall. The East Side Union High School District board resolved to eliminate 66 jobs over two years. And Oakland Unified isn’t reversing the $9 million in painful cuts for this school year — although state funds could soften $11.2 million in trims laid out for next year.


As they cut spending, school officials will face a tough sell to constituents wondering what happened to the new “extra” cash — especially when the combination of federal, state and local funds for K-12 are expected to total a record $95.6 billion in the next fiscal year, a 2.5 percent increase. That comes to $16,085 per pupil.


Of the $3 billion excess designated for schools, half is for cost-of-living increases and the other half simply completes a 2013 promise two years early — to restore schools’ pre-recession purchasing power. For a decade, schools have been struggling to catch up to where they were in 2007-’08.


Meanwhile, costs of benefits, salaries and operations have escalated. Under a deal to help keep the state retirement systems afloat, school districts must devote a greater chunk to pensions — 16.3 percent of teacher payroll next year and likely a similar percentage for support-staff pensions.


In recent years, many districts granted employees generous raises to make up for recession-era frugality. Some like Oak Grove are being squeezed by declining enrollment, forcing state revenue to plummet faster than the districts can reduce costs.


Brown’s proposal “only takes care of the problem for one year,” wrote Rose Ramos, chief business officer of the Mount Diablo Unified School District in Concord.


As they take up next school year’s budgets, districts like East Side Union could choose not to lay off as many employees, Superintendent Chris Funk said, but “all that does is kick the can down the road a year or two.”


If the budget that emerges in June follows Brown’s proposal, “It will help us just a little bit now,” said Jeff Bowman of the Cupertino Union School District, which faces cutting $5 million in 2018-’19, after trimming $2.6 million last spring. “We’re still behind.”


Cupertino doesn’t receive nearly as much state aid as other districts. Under Brown’s 2013 reform — dubbed the Local Control Funding Formula — schools that have a higher number of harder-to-educate students receive more funds. Ravenswood in East Palo Alto and Alum Rock in San Jose are among the top recipients in the state in aid per student. At the bottom are those in wealthy enclaves with few poor and English-learner students: San Ramon Valley Unified, Walnut Creek Elementary, Belmont-Redwood Shores, Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda in Contra Costa County.


Under Brown’s plan, San Ramon would receive an additional $8 million in ongoing funds and $9 million in one-time funds, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich.


While she welcomed the governor’s budget, she said it was too early for the district to provide any details of how the extra funds might be used.


School officials also will have to explain how the annual increases that schools enjoyed in recent years are about to disappear, now that Brown has achieved the goals of his Local Control Funding Formula.


That was his legacy, said Ron Bennett, CEO of School Services of California. “I think he wanted to make sure it was fully implemented before he left office.” Bennett’s firm offers fiscal advice to most of California’s 1,000 school districts.


But masked by the state’s $6.1 billion projected surplus and the fat boost in education funding in Brown’s last year in office, Bennett said, the governor failed to restore education spending to the premiere status it held in his youth.


“I’m disappointed that absolutely nothing has been done to move California back on par with higher-spending states,” Bennett said.


While high spending doesn’t guarantee high achievement, Bennett points out parallels between low spending and low achievement. California is about 45th among states in per-pupil education spending, he noted, and at a similar level in achievement on standardized tests.


Measured by ratios of students to teachers, administrators, librarians, counselors and psychologists, he said. “California is a high-tax state,” he said, “with a low commitment to public education.”


But pointing that out to the public is a hard sell, as is explaining that a school district is cash-poor because of its demographics. “Overall, it is very confusing for families,” Bowman said. “It’s confusing for the educators who live it every day.”


The impact of rising pension costs

Posted on January 19, 2018 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

CSBA put together an excellent handout on the impact of rising pension costs.  This is a great tool for board meetings or other forums with your stakeholders.  Be sure to bookmark this one!


http://files.clickdimensions.com/csbaorg-akcvg/files/final-impactofpensioncostsonschools110717.pdf?_cldee=bGF1cmVsQGNhbG1hdHRlcnMub3Jn&recipientid=contact-07a84c02a038e61180ef005056b02a09-ccbdd547799d48e6b19fc1176edcd79f&esid=3f7d7931-afc4-e711-810b-005056b02a09


California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) Eastern Section's Annual Conference 2.0!

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)

Registration is now open for the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) Eastern Section's Annual Conference 2.0!

This year's annual event will be held at the Riverside County Office of Education on Monday, September 25, 2017. This half-day professional development event offers a variety of break-out sessions, with an opportunity to meet and greet vendors, win exciting raffle prizes from sponsored vendors, and one lucky attendee will even win a complimentary 2018 Annual Conference registration from CASBO!

Attendance to this event qualifies for 3.5 hours of CASBO Continuing Education credit as well!

You may choose from any of the following great sessions upon registration:

Child Nutrition:

§ "Do you think you're SACSy?" (1 Hour Session)

Presenter: Jennifer Marrone, Business Manager, Food & Nutrition Services, San Diego USD

§ "Child Nutrition Procurement, Implementing Buy America Procedures" (1 Hour Session)

Presenter: Bob Quanstrom, Director, Nutrition Services, Val Verde USD

Finance:

§ "Night of the Living LCAP" (2 Hours Session)

Panelists: Thomas Cassida, Director of Business Advisory Services, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Veronica Calderon, GA Generalist II, Lewis Center for Educational Research

Jeffrey Hinshaw, Director of Fiscal Services, Alvord USD

Jesus Holguin, Fiscal Analyst II, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Human Resource:

§ "Telling Your Story with Generational Preferences in Mind" (2 Hours Session)

Presenter: Dr. Suzette Lovely, Former Superintendent, Carlsbad USD

Payroll:

§ "Keeping up with Wage & Hour Law" (2 Hours Session)

Presenter: Todd Robins, Partner, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Technology:

§ "E-Rate" (2 Hours Session)

Presenter: Paula Prieto, Administrator I, Information Technology Services, Riverside COE with CSM Consulting

This year, our keynote luncheon speaker Dr. Martinrex Kedziora, Ed.D, Superintendent of Schools, Moreno Valley Unified School District, will be talk on "Professional Development & Growth Opportunities".

Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch. Attached are the Annual Conference 2.0 event flyer, RCOE location map, and RCOE parking information.

Online registration is now open at https://www.casbo.org/event/eastern-section-annual-conference-20 and closes on Monday, September 18, 2017.

Governor signs 2017-18 budget allocating more money to schools

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

We have a budget.......


Ed Source

Teresa Harrington

June 28, 2017

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.

 

Higher education including the University of California and California State University systems will receive $14.5 billion in General Fund money, with new funding to expand access to public institutions for California students and the creation of “guided pathways” that will enable students to earn degrees or credentials, while keeping attendance costs low.

 

A Full-Time Student Success Program will receive a $25 million increase to expand grant awards to community college students. And a new California Community College Completion Grant Program will receive $25 million to provide grants of up to $2,000 for community college students in need of financial aid who enroll in 15 units or more per semester and meet other criteria, including the completion of an educational plan.

 

The Middle Class Scholarship and maximum Cal Grant award of $9,084 for students attending private, nonprofit and accredited colleges and universities will be maintained, after the governor initially proposed to phase out the middle class scholarship and reduce Cal Grant awards to students in private, nonprofit colleges and universities.

 

The budget also requires the University of California to implement cost structure reforms to ensure the system is sustainable into the future, in part based on a critical audit of the office of the president.

 

Teacher training funding includes $25 million to expand a Classified Employee Teacher Credential Program that will provide grants to support recruiting of non-certificated school employees to participate in teacher preparation leading to becoming certificated public school teachers; $5 million to create a Bilingual Teacher Recruitment and Professional Development Program that will provide competitive grants to support training for teachers and instructional assistants who want to provide bilingual instruction in multilingual classrooms; and $11.3 million earmarked for a California Educator Development Program that will provide one-time competitive grants to assist schools and districts in recruiting and providing ongoing training for educators and school leaders in high-need subjects and schools through the redirection of federal Title II funds, which were originally earmarked for preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers and principals.

 

The budget also increases child care provider reimbursement rate ceilings, due to the state minimum wage increase. In addition, it increases child care eligibility by establishing that a family determined to be eligible for state-subsidized child care and development programs remains eligible for 12 months, regardless of a change in need or income, unless income exceeds 85 percent of the state median income.

 

Finally, the budget includes a $7.9 million increase to provide access for an additional 2,959 children from low-income families to full-day state preschool starting March 1, 2018.

LCFF Implementation and Impact Conference

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Looking for an update on the state of LCFF implementation?  This meeting might be perfect for you then!

http://edpolicyinca.org/events/lcff-implementation-and-impact-conference#rsvp


Date:

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 1:00pm to 4:30pm

Venue:

California Secretary of State Office Building Auditorium

Address:

1500 11th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) is excited to invite you to The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Implementation and Impact Conference. 


Job Openings

Posted on May 26, 2017 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Per Bill McGuire:

Great Job, with new Superintendent Ben Drati (I know from by Clovis Unified Days). Pay is 163,600 and closes on June 5th. Let me know if you have any questions.

Pass this along to a person with a great future if you are not interested!



Gov. Brown's proposal delays $1 billion for schools until 2019

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Governor's decision to delay funding the one time discretionary funds has created quite a stir in education.  Be sure to read this interesting article about it.

 

https://edsource.org/2017/gov-browns-proposal-delays-giving-schools-1-billion-in-next-years-budget/582299?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email


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