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In This Moment (7/02): $202.1 Billion Budget Package

July 2, 2020

This week, we’re pleased to see that the state budget largely protects education from the proposed cuts in the May Revision. That said, there will likely be more work on the budget in the near term--with potential activity when the legislature returns from Summer recess on July 13.

Also, the California Department of Education is rolling out a series of ethnic studies webinars, the first of which is scheduled for July 7. We provide details on these webinars below, along with the social media channels you can use to learn more about these opportunities.

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Governor Signs $202.1 Billion Budget Package

The budget package signed by Governor Newsom this week is a compromise negotiated with the legislature that largely protects public education from massive cuts, but relies heavily on additional stimulus from Congress. While the Governor signed the budget and trailer bills as expected, he unexpectedly included a signing message for Senate Bill (SB) 98, specific to distance learning and Average Daily Attendance (ADA). The signing message clarified that in person instruction for students is preferred, and that any distance learning hybrid model must have a plan to ensure that no student falls through the cracks.

SB 98 specifies that 2020-21 ADA, for the purposes of making funding determinations, is fixed at the 2019-20 level for any county office of education, district, or charter school. This provision will serve as a “hold-harmless” for any local education agency (LEA) that experiences declining enrollment (and thus declining ADA) in 2020-21 either as a result of the pandemic or as a result of the more natural decline occurring for demographic or mobility reasons. LEAs that will see this growth in ADA, whether as a result of the pandemic or of natural increases in enrollment, will not receive any additional funding for serving new students.

The Governor felt the pushback on SB 98, stating in his signing message that, “it does not take into account schools that had planned expansions. By not funding those expansions, families enrolled in those schools may be displaced … I urge members of the Legislature to pursue targeted solutions to these potential disruptions, and will work with you in the coming weeks to enact them.” We expect clarification and potential fiscal relief on this area of the budget deal when the legislature returns from Summer recess on July 13, 2020.

Department of Education to Host Ethnic Studies Webinars

This week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a series of ethnic studies webinars led by the California Department of Education (CDE). The webinars are designed to help students, educators, and families better understand ethnic studies, Including how different groups have struggled and worked together. The webinars will also address timely issues and key concepts such as justice, race, and ethnicity--all of which are part of the current national dialogue and key to the revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum CDE plans to release shortly for public review.

The initial draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum released in the Fall of 2019 was heavily criticized; CDE received over 20,000 comments both for and against the draft which had been revised for some time. While efforts to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement in California have stalled this year and in years past, it will inevitably be back next year, likely with renewed interest.

The CDE’s webinars will include participation by known civil rights leaders and will be headlined by civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. Assemblymembers Shirley Weber, Jose Madina, and James Ramos as well as Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute Dr. Karen Korematsu, will focus on the four foundational groups of ethnic studies including, Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American Studies.

The first webinar will be held July 7, 2020, at 3 p.m. PT Additional details will be available soon on the CDE’s Facebook page (@CAEducation), Instagram page (@cadepted), and Twitter (@cadepted).