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In This Moment (5/15): Policy Updates in a Changing World

May 15, 2020

On May 14 the Governor released the May Revise to the state budget. As anticipated, it provides a sobering assessment of the types of cuts that will likely be reflected in the final budget. The May Revise paints a very different picture than the Governor’s pre-COVID January budget and we know there will be considerable advocacy from various corners of the educational community between now and when the final budget is adopted.

Here we’ve captured a number of key takeaways from the May Revise, along with some important updates from the May 2020 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting, including new insights about Federal Waivers, the California School Dashboard in general and the College and Career Indicator (CCI) in particular.

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Governor’s May Revision Proposes Cuts and Pushes Federal Assistance

Proposition 98 and K-12 Funding and Walking Back January Budget

The Prop 98 Guarantee is estimated to fall $19 billion compared to the January budget proposal. The K-12 shortfall is $15.1 billion over the three-year budget period (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21). Unsurprisingly, the May Revision proposes significant cuts to nearly all K-12 programs and community colleges also funded under the Guarantee, unless additional Federal relief is passed. The Governor proposes:

  • a 10% cut to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), about $6.5 billion,
  • no adjustment for cost-of-living adjustment (COLA),
  • deferrals, and
  • the elimination of all new programs and expansion of existing programs proposed in January, with the exception of funding for special education.

The legislature must approve these proposed cuts.

The May Revision further proposes to use all of the funds in the Public School System Stabilization Account, estimated to be $524 million in 2019-20. This proposal certainly helps but does not come close to filling the gap. 90% of the $1.6 billion in already approved federal emergency relief funds will be allocated to local educational agencies (LEAs) based on their proportion of Title I-A funding, and the remaining 10% is proposed to be allocated as follows:

  • $100 million for county offices of education for developing networks of community schools and coordinating health, mental health and social service supports for high-needs students.
  • $63.2 million for training and professional development for educators and other school personnel related to mitigating opportunity gaps and providing equity in learning opportunities, addressing health and mental health barriers, etc.

Higher Education

In the May Revise, the Administration attempts to keep its pre-COVID-19 commitment to supporting equity and access at the UC, CSU, and CCCs by maintaining investments in two years of free community college and providing continued access to major financial aid programs, including the California College Promise fee waiver, Cal Grant awards, the Students with Dependent Children Cal Grant supplement, and the Middle Class Scholarship. However, the May Revise also repeals programmatic expansion from the budget proposed in January and proposes a 10% cut to UC and CSU.

Career Technical Education

The May Revise proposes a $77.4 million reduction to the CTE Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Program and $2.1 million reduction in the Agricultural CTE Incentive Grant, both administered by the California Department of Education. CTEIG is an important funding source for many in the Linked Learning community, and we’ll continue to track it closely and update you on any new development.

What’s next for the state budget process?

The legislature will begin budget hearings on the May Revision beginning Monday. We fully expect the state budget to be adopted by June 15, even under the shortened timeline. It is important to remember that the Governor and legislature are currently operating with limited information. As you may recall from our April 9 blog post, both state and federal income tax filing dates were pushed from April 15 to July 15. We expect the state budget to be revisited yet again in August, with additional adjustments made once revenues become available.

State Board of Education Meets Remotely

The May 2020 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting was reflective of the new COVID-19 world. During the one-day meeting, all members participated remotely, witnesses phoned in, and the key items were largely in response to the pandemic, as is becoming the norm in California and around the nation and world.

Some highlights include:

  • Federal Waivers. The Board ratified recent waivers from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) around state assessments and federal funding flexibility.
  • California School Dashboard. The Board discussed data collection for 2019-20/2020-21 and potential changes to the Dashboard, including the College/Career Indicator (CCI).

2019-20 Data Collection

LEAs must report student-level data in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) between May 11 and August 28, 2020, on data elements such as:

  • Student Discipline (Suspensions and Expulsions)
  • Student Absence Summary (Chronic Absenteeism)
  • Four-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate
  • One-year Graduation Counts

2021 Dashboard

For the 2021 Dashboard, Status will be based on data from the 2020-21 school year. However, since no data will be reported for the 2019-20 school year, the data from the 2019 Dashboard will be used to determine Change and performance levels.

College/Career Indicator (CCI)

In 2018-19, the following career measures were collected for possible inclusion in the CCI:

  • Completion of a Pre-Apprenticeship (For both Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) and non-DASS schools)
  • Completion of a state or federal job program (DASS schools only)
  • Workforce Readiness Certificate (DASS schools only)
  • Completion of the Food Handler Certification Program (DASS schools only)

CDE, along with the Alternative Schools Taskforce and the CCI Subcommittee, reviewed these measures to determine their appropriateness for the CCI model. They decided that more simulations on Pre-Apprenticeships and state and federal job programs are needed. Based on concerns over insufficient rigor and consistency, the stakeholder groups recommended that completion of the Workforce Readiness Certificate or the Food Handler Certificate should not be included in the CCI.

Also in 2018-19, two career measures available for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) were collected in the California Special Education Management Information System (CASEMIS):

  • Completion of Workability courses and work-based learning
  • Completion of Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) work-based learning

Given that the collection of service hours presented several challenges, and the Workability and DOR programs do not encompass the full range of work-based learning experiences provided by districts, CDE recommended that districts should be given flexibility to report all work-based learning opportunities they provide. Beginning in 2019-20, the data definition of the measures for students with IEPs were revised to be more inclusive and will be collected in CALPADs:

  • Transition Work-Based Learning Experiences
  • Transition Classroom-Based Learning Experiences

Based on this work, CDE will bring the following new career measures for the CCI to the Board for consideration at the September 2020 SBE meeting:

  • Pre-Apprenticeship Program Completion
  • State or Federal Job Program Completion
  • Transition Program: Classroom-based learning experiences
  • Transition Program: Work-based learning experiences

Additionally, beginning with the 2020-21 school year, CDE will start collecting the following new measures in CALPADS:

  • Student Internships
  • Student-Led Enterprise
  • Virtual/Simulated Work-based learning