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Clock Keeps Ticking in Sacramento as Legislature’s June 15 Budget Deadline Nears

June 6, 2013

The clock is ticking in Sacramento, where legislators face a June 15 deadline for passing a new state budget. And while there are some legislative committees holding hearings about Governor Brown’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 education – as well as alternative versions of the Governor’s proposal that have been advanced by Democrats in the California Assembly and the California Senate – the more substantial discussions are going on behind closed doors.

The major players in the budget drama admit as much. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters that negotiations over the state budget would take place "a lot in private, and a little bit in public." And Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento, the Democratic leader in the California Senate, was equally cagey in his public statements. "I think we're close," Steinberg said. "I'm confident we'll be able to find common ground with the governor."

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), co-chair of the joint Senate/Assembly budget committee, said he expects his house and the Senate can agree on a spending plan quickly to meet the legislature's June 15 deadline. "I see no reason why we can't hit that comfortably," Blumenfield said. "The scale is so different from what we're so used to (during recent years that had huge state budget shortfalls) and the priorities the Senate has, they're not objectionable."

Some observers in the Capital expect that legislators and the Governor may work out the major framework of a deal by June 15, with some details left to be sketched out in trailer bills that will follow after the mid-month deadline.

In the meantime, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) weighed in with a position paper on the Governor’s proposed budget. In carefully phrased language, the position paper states:

ACSA supports the general concept and structure designed and proposed by the governor. ACSA believes that districts should be provided resources without the constraint of state intervention or determination. Instead districts should be provided adequate resources to educate students and held accountable for academic achievement. ACSA supports a new funding formula that addresses unique student needs and leaves no district with decreased levels of funding. This includes the flexible use of resources and discretion in meeting state and federal accountability requirements. ACSA is supportive of moving to a weighted/local control based funding mechanism articulated as LCFF by the governor.

The ACSA position paper also contains bullet points:

  1. Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) and Student Growth are the first priority for new dollars.
  2. Restoration and Targeted Funding are equally important
  3. ACSA believes it is important to exclude Career and Technical Education (CTE), Adult Education and Home-to-School Transportation from any education finance reform.
  4. No districts should lose resources in 2013-14 as a result of implementing a new funding formula.
  5. Supports one-time funds to be used at school district discretion to support implementation of Common Core academic standards
  6. Transition time is needed

On the topic of accountability, ACSA “supports multiple measures of accountability that demonstrate student achievement including but not limited to the API, graduation rates, college and career readiness opportunities and strong support systems for English learners, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.” In addition, “ACSA does not support a single metric model in which the state creates rigid state benchmarks reminiscent of NCLB in which a “pass or fail” model that includes punitive sanctions.”

Source:  EdBrief staff, ACSA.