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California School Fiscal Services

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K-12 budget adopted by Conference Committee

Posted on June 12, 2015 at 5:00 AM
Take a few minutes to get caught up on the state budget adoption process.  We are getting there....

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Copyright 2015 California Association of School Business Officials

2015-16

K-12 budget adopted by Conference Committee

Proposal does not shift child care into Proposition 98

By Jeff Vaca and Enrique Ruacho, Governmental Relations

On Tuesday evening, the Budget Conference Committee completed its work while competing with a no-hitter by the San Francisco Giants and Game 3 of the NBA Finals for the attention of the State Capitol. Following a hearing that lasted close to six hours, the committee closed out the Proposition 98 budget (as well as the other sections of the state budget), and the legislative leadership will now begin the task of negotiating a final budget with the Brown Administration before the constitutional deadline of June 15.

That task will be made arduous by the fact that in adopting its budget, the Conference Committee relied on the higher level of state revenues estimated by the Legislative Analyst's Office, an action which the Administration has consistently opposed in recent years. This could place many of the new K-12 items not included in the May Revise (as well as augmentations) at risk.

The key headline coming out of Tuesday night's budget action was that child care was not shifted into the Proposition 98 guarantee. The budget plan adopted by the Senate included such an action, which was opposed by many in the education community, including CASBO, the Education Management Group, and several organizations within the Education Coalition. However, the committee did adopt a proposal that funds child care/early education at a level that is $392 million higher than that proposed by the governor. The proposal includes 27,000 additional preschool slots (5,000 full-day slots, 10,000 part-day slots, and 12,000 Alternative Payment slots) and increases the Standard Reimbursement Rate by 7.5%. Speaking on behalf of the Administration, Chief Deputy Director of Finance Keely Bosler testified that the Administration has "major concerns" with the proposal, which she said would result in ongoing costs to the state of $563 million beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The K-12 education plan approved by the committee also includes the following key components:

Local Control Funding Formula implementation. The conference committee budget allocates $6.586 billion to the LCFF. The May Revise proposed $6.2 billion for LCFF.

Mandates backlog. The conference committee budget provides $3.3 billion for payoff of the K-12 Mandates backlog, and includes budget trailer bill language that ensures local educational agencies do not have to remit funding back to the state to pay for disallowed costs identified by an audit of claimed reimbursable state-mandated program costs. The May Revise proposed $3.6 billion for this purpose.

Educator support proposals. The conference committee budget provides $500 million for educator effectiveness. $10 million is provided to the K-12 High Speed Network to provide professional development and training related to network management and infrastructure, and the remaining amount is to be used for the following:

Beginning teacher and administrator support and mentoring.

Professional development, coaching, and support services for teachers who have been identified as needing improvement or additional support.

Professional development for teachers and administrators that is aligned to the state academic content standards.

Promote educator quality and effectiveness, including but not limited to training on mentoring and coaching certificated staff and training certificated staff to support effective teaching and learning.

As a condition of receiving the funds, LEAs would be required to develop and adopt a plan for the expenditure of the funds. This proposal originated in the Senate budget plan, and has raised controversy because of its potential link to legislation that would (among other provisions) require that the standards and criteria for performance in teacher evaluations be collectively bargained.

Adult Education. The conference committee adopted the governor's $500 million proposal (ongoing funds) for the Adult Education Block Grant, with the following amendments:

Cap the amount of funding provided to school districts for adult education on the basis of the 2014-15 maintenance-of-effort certification at $375 million.

Specify that joint powers agencies may participate as adult education consortia members.

Reduce the role of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education in the program.

Allow older adult programs to be funded under the consortia. For the Administration, Ms. Bosler expressed concerns about this expansion.

The committee's plan also provides $25 million in one-time Proposition 98 funds to K-12 and Community Colleges to develop and collect outcomes data relating to the effectiveness of each adult education consortium in meeting the educational and workforce training needs of adults.

Career Technical Education. The committee adopted the governor's proposed Career Technical Incentive Grant program, and trailer bill language with the following amendments to ensure greater access to grant funding for small and rural school districts:

Provide competitive grants in three size related spans, based on ADA (small, medium and large).

Require higher weighting of applicants who do not have a CTE program, serve low income, English learner, and foster youth students, have a high dropout rate, or are located in areas with high unemployment rates.

Technology Infrastructure/High Speed Network. The conference committee compromise proposal provides $50 million in Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants, with a requirement that projects costing over $1,000 per test-taking student be contingent upon approval by the Department of Finance with a notification to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Home to School Transportation. The conference compromise provides $25 million to begin equalizing funding for home-to-school transportation services, plus a cost of living adjustment. The Senate budget had included $50 million for this purpose, but the matter was addressed in neither the May Revise or the Assembly's budget. Ms. Bosler expressed concern from the Administration regarding this item, which she said erode local control by funding an old categorical program.

The conference committee also took actions to adopt trailer bill language that would:

Require local educational agencies to report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for compilation on the Department of Education website, the following: 1) Funds calculated on the basis of the number and concentration of unduplicated pupils and 2) an estimate of the amount of LCFF funds expended on unduplicated pupil services in the prior year that is in additional to what is expended in the budget year.

CASBO opposed this proposed language in its position letter to the Budget Conference Committee, stating "the need for this language is unclear, and it is also unclear whether it would result in any meaningful level of increased transparency. Prior to adoption, this proposal should be examined by the appropriate policy committees, with opportunity for public comment and feedback."

Adopt trailer bill language to add homeless youth as a pupil subgroup for purposes of accountability.

CASBO has also expressed opposition to this proposal to the Administration.

As noted above, the Legislature now has until June 15 to send a budget to the governor for his consideration. If it does not, legislators will not be paid until such time that the budget has been sent. We will continue to report on any budget developments as they occur.

For a complete copy of the conference committee actions, please refer to http://sbud.senate.ca.gov/conferenceagendas and the following items: Prop 98 Package Language June 9, 2015 and K-12 Language June 9, 2015.


Categories: California State Budget (2015-16)

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