SACRAMENTO – Educators from all over California joined by Assembly Members Kevin McCarty and Al Muratsuchi, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and other education stakeholders urged the Legislature today to support legislation that increases public education funding by setting new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) targets and certifying the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee and the continuous appropriations of the LCFF, including a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This creates certainty for educators and students in future years.
“Currently, California ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending. That means that although we are the fifth-largest economy in the world, we rank in the bottom 10th in the nation in funding for our students. We firmly believe this Legislature can do better,” said CTA Vice President Theresa Montaño. “That’s why we’re here today. To ask lawmakers to support certifying the Prop. 98 guarantee and provide a continuous appropriation of the LCFF with a COLA as proposed by the governor. This proposal ensures that funds are provided to school districts on a predictable and timely basis. It essentially closes the books and this chapter of hard times for our public schools.”
School administrators, co-sponsors of AB 2808 by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi, believe increased funding is critical for our state to move forward.
“ACSA urges the Legislature and the governor to establish new LCFF targets in this legislative cycle. At a minimum, we believe the new total LCFF target should be a base grant that is the national average for every California school district. This signature education funding reform and its success will largely depend on timing and an appropriate level of funding provided to schools to implement academic resources, support services and enrichment programs for the 6.1 million students across the state,” said Edgar Zazueta, ACSA Senior Director of Policy and Governmental Relations. “ACSA is co-sponsoring AB 2808 which establishes a higher LCFF base grant funded by future growth within Proposition 98. The funding goal set within the LCFF should be adjusted to reflect current and future funding needs, and Muratsuchi’s AB 2808 provides an avenue to achieve those objectives.”
The event was part of a special CTA lobby day with more than 100 educators from around California meeting with lawmakers, on behalf of their students, urging support for these important measures. They focused on, among other issues, pressing legislators for the certification of the Proposition 98 education funding guarantee, increasing ongoing education appropriations, providing more resources for special needs students, and solutions to the teacher shortage.
“The costs of special education programs continue to grow, putting pressure on districts’ budgets, with almost flat funding from federal and state resources. We urge lawmakers to support Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell’s AB 3136 which increases categorical funding for special education students,” added Montaño.
AB 3136 (O’Donnell) creates a funding mechanism for special education preschool programs, equalizes special education to the 95th percentile, provides a supplemental grant for higher-cost special education students, and delinks special education funding to district average daily attendance (ADA) to stabilize things when enrollment in districts is down.
At a time when California is facing a critical teacher shortage, we need programs to attract and retain qualified educators, especially in hard-to-fill areas, education stakeholders agree.
“AB 2547 by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty helps address the teacher shortage by funding teacher residency programs to help attract and retain educators in hard-to-staff curricular areas like STEM and bilingual education,” said Montaño. “In order to provide all students with the quality education they need and deserve, we need to address this critical shortage and make it enticing for our young adults to want to enter the profession.”
Another bill educators discussed today is AB 2820 by Assembly Kevin McCarty. This bill establishes funding to help develop the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and funds a school climate survey engaging parents, students, and educators to improve local teaching and learning conditions.
“We believe it takes a community to foster a healthy and safe environment for our students, and this bill increases attention and encourages engagement and participation,” concluded Montaño.