Friday, June 14, 2013

News from CCAE

CCAE Special Edition
Legislative Update
As of this morning, the budget trailer bills are in print.  We're told that this is it - budget staff is unwilling to make any changes, especially with the budget vote being taken up tomorrow.  As previously discussed, the Administration has refused to accept the Assembly's plan to maintain adult education as a standalone "categorical" program.  Further, I've been clear that the ultimate decision about what moves forward resides with the Governor - the Legislature's approach up to this point wasn't sufficient to address the Administration's interest in reform and better coordination going forward.

As a compromise, the Legislature took action in this budget cycle, as a result of our heavy advocacy and their support for K-12 based adult education, to stem the bleeding in the short term.  More specifically, they have included in the budget trailer bill (SB 91, page 76 - see language as follows:

(7) For the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years only, of the funds a school district receives for purposes of regional occupational centers or programs, or adult education, the school district shall expend no less than the amount of funds the school district expended for purposes of regional occupational centers or programs, or adult education, respectively, in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

This approach places adult education and its funds as an add-on to the LCFF formula like class size reduction and CTE for the next two years.  This approach, in effect, stems the bleeding and prohibits further erosion of K-12 based adult education programs, requiring school districts to spend no less than the amount they spent on adult education in FY 12-13 for FY 13-14 and FY 14-15 (a mandate, not incentive as was the case under the May Revise).   The plan is silent on what happens to the funds for FY 15-16 and beyond - a fight for another day.   This was on top of approving $25 mil for coordination and planning around regional consortia for adult education under the main budget bill (AB 110, page 564 - see as follows:

41. The amount appropriated in Schedule (25) shall line 13 be allocated by the Office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges as two-year planning and implement grants to regional consortia of community college districts and school districts jointly selected by the Office of the Chancellor and the State Department of Education for the purpose of developing applications of the Adult Education Partnership Program as described in Article 3 of Part 50 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the funds appropriated in this provision are available for encumbrance until June 30, 2015.

Any funding, governance or program area changes will require subsequent legislation.

Ultimately, the Legislature couldn't agree with the Administration's new structure and the Administration wouldn't agree to leave as standalone categorical as proposed under the Assembly version, so the compromise was the mandated maintenance of effort (MOE) for 2 years, a means by which to see if the planning process comes up with anything we can get consensus around.  Bottom line - the Legislature continues to strongly support K-12 based adult education and given the other chess pieces, they believe this was the best way to provide for us in the short term and give the Governor his win on the LCFF front.

Important Take-Aways

·         The FY 13-14 stems the bleeding. There will be no further erosion of adult education programs due to the mandate that school districts continue current (FY 12-14) funding levels for at least the next two years.
·         The plan maintains the adult education pot of money specifically for adult education for the next two years.
·         CDE will be an equal party in the dissemination of funds and overall regional consortia coordination effort.

While certainly not perfect, we have achieved an important victory in this budget cycle - stemming the bleeding, which was our primary goal in this budget cycle.   Certainly we were working to secure longer-term stability and funding; with the other components of education finance reform and an emboldened Administration who is becoming accustomed to getting its way, however, we must celebrate this victory even if it is a limited term.

As we look ahead, we must not become complacent; rather, we must continue to build upon our momentum and take the regional consortia effort by storm.  With only two years of maintained, dedicated funding for adult education secured pending the outcome of the regional consortia effort, we will inevitably be back at the negotiating table in a year and a half - whether to obtain funding for the status quo of K-12 based adult education in parallel to the CCC or for a regional effort.  This necessitates us continuing to build momentum, fostering your relationships with your elected officials and demonstrating to the Administration that we are committed and adamant that it be a workable system that includes K-12 adult education.

What the outcome will be in two years when we are back at the budget table will be entirely dependent on your engagement at the local level within these regional consortia - let's take them by storm and be the ones dictating our future!

Dawn Koepke
CCAE Advocate and Legislative Liaison

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