CA Education Policy News Update

Jun 3rd, 2011

CA Education Policy News Update

By: Mona Vakilifathi | 12:06 PM

There have been few reports of the progress of the latest budget plan. In regards to education, state Democrats in both the Assembly and the Senate continue to disagree with Brown’s May budget revise.  As mentioned in the last PACE “CA Education Policy News Update” blog post, an Assembly committee rejected Brown’s May revise for K-12 education, insisting that the additional funds from the unexpected tax revenue should be spent on restoring K-12 education cuts made earlier this year. This week the SI&A Cabinet Report and Capitol Weekly report that the Senate Education Subcommittee also disagreed with Brown’s May revise proposal to eliminate the funding of K-12 mandates and the CalPADS data system. The Senate subcommittee stated that while the elimination of the K-12 mandates would allow for greater local control for education finance and services, further review of these mandates are necessary before changes can be implemented. The Sacramento Bee reports Brown’s intentions to veto such reductions to continue his goal of reducing the state’s long-term deficit.
 
In addition, The Press-Enterprise reports that Brown continues to negotiate with state Republicans in businesses to allow for a special election for the tax extensions. The L.A. Times, The Sacramento Bee, the Contra Costa Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the The SLO Tribune, and The O.C. Register report that State Controller John Chiang will not pay state legislators their salary or expenses if a state budget is not passed by its constitutional deadline on June 15th. These articles report that Chiang is acting in compliance with Proposition 25, a law passed by voters in 2010 that would force state legislators to forfeit pay until the state budget passes. Some opposing members of the legislature claim that the salary cuts are not legal because a budget plan was approved in March, despite the existing state deficit. The Sacramento Bee and the L.A. Times provide insight regarding the effects of Proposition 25 on the passage of this year’s state budget.
 
New PPIC statewide survey: As reported by The Sacramento Bee, the L.A. Times, California Watch, the Contra Costa Times, HealthyCal.org, the San Francisco Chronicle, and KQED, the latest statewide survey of California’s likely voters from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports that 62% of likely voters are supportive of the structure of Brown’s revised budget proposal, where another 62% of likely voters supported Brown’s special election. However, the same likely voters are not supportive of an increase of any particular type of tax and would not support Brown’s tax extensions at the polls, which puts into question how voters prefer to address the existing state deficit.
 
State policymakers providing counties with a greater ability to tax: On Wednesday, as reported by the L.A. Times and The Sacramento Bee, legislation was passed to allow counties to increase vehicle taxes through voter approval to better fund local government services.
 
Education-Specific Updates
 
Notable education finance reform bill passes in the Assembly: This week, as reported by the Thoughts on Public Education blog and California Watch, the state Assembly voted 74-2 in favor of AB 18, a bill that would largely change the state’s education funding procedures. The California Watch article also links to a handout from the Association of California School Administrators that provides more information on AB 18. The bill currently awaits approval from the state Senate. (For the status of other education-related bills, the SI&A Cabinet Report provides two articles here and here.)
 
California’s school enrollment increases in recent years: The Sacramento Bee reports that student enrollment has increased during the past five years, citing a database from the California Department of Education.
 
Commission on Teacher Credentialing officials step down: As an update to last week’s PACE blog post, The Sacramento Bee reported in two articles here and here  the resignation of the officials of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). These officials were urged to resign due to the CTC’s mismanagement of teacher misconduct cases as well as other management-related issues.
 
California Citizens Redistricting Commission Intends to Release First Draft of California’s District Lines on June 10th
 
For the past several weeks, several blogs and newspapers have been reporting the findings of the latest U.S. Census, especially the results for California. Writers of blogs and newspapers have been speculating how California’s changing demographics will impact the composition of California’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC), a new commission established by the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008 that is composed of selected Californians to draw the district boundaries, is expected to release the draft of their proposal next week on June 10th. (Initially, the CCRC only had the authority to draw the lines for the Senate, Assembly, and the Board of Equalization districts. In 2010, Proposition 20 was passed to authorize the CCRC to draw the district lines for Congressional districts as well).  In past years, the district lines were formerly drawn by legislators (and sometimes by the courts if the district lines were found unconstitutional), but this will be the first time this newly-formed commission will propose the district lines. (For more information regarding the redistricting of California, RedistrictingCA serves as a helpful resource, specifically its ”What is Redistricting?” section.) Ultimately, the drawing of district lines will determine the composition of Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalizations districts, which will impact the characteristics of politicians elected to represent each of these newly-drawn areas during the next ten years.
 
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