Monthly Archives: June 2019

Together, we can achieve Full and Fair Funding — if we keep the pressure on

26 Jun
Last month, I had the great pleasure of addressing thousands of education advocates from across California, including board members, teachers, superintendents, parents and classified staff, at the Day of Action Rally for Education on May 22 at the State Capitol. It was an exciting day that began with a personal meeting with Gov. Gavin Newsom and CSBA representatives including myself, President-elect Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Vice President Tamara Otero, CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy and Assistant Executive Director of Governmental...

California schools facilities needs make case for proposed bond measure

25 Jun
public school building
In a June 17 EdSource webinar, Building for the future: Funding school renovation & construction, a panel of school facilities experts discussed a proposed school bond measure making its way through the Legislature. Assembly Bill 48 (O’Donnell-D, Long Beach), the Kindergarten-Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Acts of 2020 and 2022, would place a $13 billion school facilities bond on the March 2020 ballot and an additional bond of as-yet-undefined value on the November 2022 ballot. Panelists included CSBA Legislative...

CalPERS releases updated 2019–20 contribution rate and projections

20 Jun
With Gov. Gavin Newsom soon to act on 2019–20 state budget legislation that includes an investment of $904 million in non-Proposition 98 money to reduce the system’s long-term liabilities, CalPERS today has released its new projected employer contribution rate for 2019–20 and projections through 2025–26. The 2019–20 employer contribution rate (as a percentage of payroll) will reduce from 20.733 percent to 19.721 percent, a reduction of 1.01 percentage points. The projected reduction in the contribution rate for 2020–21 is 0.9...

Leaders dive deep into equitably expanding computer science offerings

19 Jun
Faced with stark data showing 61 percent of California’s high schools don’t offer any computer science courses, district and county office administrators attended a June 18 workshop aimed to help them equitably implement such classes. Ensuring access and inclusion for all students and teachers was key to the 2019 Summer of CS program hosted at the Sacramento County Office of Education, which also included a policy luncheon featuring an array of speakers representing industry, the Legislature and students. This annual...

Legislative Update: Pathways to College Act, facilities bond advance (Updated 2:45 p.m.)

19 Jun
The Senate Education Committee this morning heard and passed with a 6-1 vote Assembly Bill 751 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), the CSBA co-sponsored bill which would allow local education agencies to administer an alternate assessment (i.e. SAT or ACT) in place of the Smarter Balanced test during the school day. Two other CSBA co-sponsored bills were passed by the Senate Education Committee last week: AB 428 (Medina, O’Donnell et al), which, among other things, would equalize base special education funding rates (pursuant...

National graduation report shows progress, but equity remains a challenge

18 Jun
The GradNation campaign, launched in 2010, aims to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate in the U.S. by 2020. The recently released 2019 GradNation report, using data from 2017, cites an all-time high of 84.6 percent for the Adjusted Graduation Cohort Rate — up from 79 percent in 2011 and a slight increase from 84.1 percent in 2016. While the 2020 goal may not be reached, significant progress has been made. Equity continues to be a challenge, but, encouragingly, student...

A Conversation With: Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis

17 Jun
(Editor’s Note: This interview first appeared in the spring 2019 issue of California Schools magazine) Sworn in Jan. 7, 2019, as the first woman elected Lieutenant Governor in California history, Eleni Kounalakis will look to play a key role in helping the state better connect its early, K-12 and higher education systems. As Lieutenant Governor, Kounalakis sits on the California State University Board of Trustees and University of California Board of Regents. She recently finished a statewide “listening tour” of...

Law requires testing of school water systems by July 1

13 Jun
Ahead of a July 1 deadline, an increasing number of California schools — but not all — have completed mandatory testing for lead in school water supplies. “About 6,500 public schools have been tested, another 1,500 independently completed sampling prior to the enactment of the bill,” said Beti Girma, a Lead Sampling in California Schools Program manager for the State Water Resources Control Board. “We expect around 1,000 schools to sample within the coming months.” Under Assembly Bill 746 (Fletcher-Gonzalez,...

California on track for middling status in annual Quality Counts report card

12 Jun
students taking test
Education Week has released the second installment of its yearly “Quality Counts 2019: Grading the states” report cards. The project’s aim is to show which states do the best job in preparing students for successful futures in college and career. The measurements are based on a range of family, school and socioeconomic indicators; financial indicators; and achievement indicators. The project is released in three parts: The first installment is based on Education Week’s “Chance-for-Success Index,” which surveys a range of...

Budget Conference Committee approves 2019–20 budget with an increase in Proposition 98 funding and investments in PERS/STRS

11 Jun
On Sunday, the Legislative Budget Conference Committee agreed upon its 2019–20 state budget, with $81.07 billion in Proposition 98 spending, matching the Governor’s May Revision proposal with an amount exceeding the minimum guarantee. Overall, the committee’s recommended budget is strong for public education with investments in special education and in CalPERS and CalSTRS to pay down pension liabilities. While the exact impact on employer contribution rates to PERS and STRS is not yet known, the proposed investments could lower the...