CALSSD May Revision Budget Recommendations

May 25, 2022

The Hon. Toni Atkins
Senate President pro Tempore
1021 O Street, Suite 8518
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Anthony Rendon
Speaker of the Assembly
1021 O Street, Suite 8330
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Nancy Skinner, Chair
Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee
1020 N Street, Room 502
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair
Assembly Budget Committee
1021 O Street, Suite 8230
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable John Laird, Chair
Senate Budget Subcommittee No.1 on Education
1021 O Street, Suite 8720
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Kevin McCarty, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance
1021 O Street, Suite 4250
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: CALSSD May Revision Budget Recommendations

Dear Senate President pro Tempore Atkins, Speaker Rendon, Senator Skinner, Assemblymember Ting, Senator Laird and Assemblymember McCarty:

The California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) appreciates your leadership in crafting a budget that uses the state’s historic revenues to provide significant increase to on-going LCFF funding in recognition of the challenge of sustaining the programs and services our students and to providing one-time discretionary funds to meet local priorities. Balancing ongoing and one-time funding is critical given the indicators of the onset of a recession within the next two years. We write now to share CALSSD recommendations on priority funding and policy proposals.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Higher LCFF Base Grant and ADA Calculations
We deeply appreciate the recognition in the May Revision and in the priorities already identified by the Assembly and Senate to invest significant ongoing funding into LCFF, the major source of funding for most districts. We support the May Revision COLA of 6.56% and additional investment in the formula of a significant increase to the Base Grant. This funding addresses rising costs for responsibilities and operational costs that are not supported by supplemental, concentration for special funds.

Districts experienced steep increases in absences early in calendar year 2022 due to COVID-19 variants. This dramatically impacts not only the current year ADA but the three-year average ADA calculation and funding levels in subsequent years. We support the May Revision proposal to allow all classroom-based local educational agencies (LEAs) to be funded in 2021-22 at the greater of their current year ADA or current year enrollment adjusted for pre-COVID-19 absence rates. We support the Governor’s Budget proposal to change the calculation of ADA to allow districts to be funded at a three-year average or current or prior year ADA.

Discretionary Block Grant to LEAs Allocated on a Per Pupil ADA Basis
We support the May Revision proposal for a significant discretionary block grant to LEAs to be allocated on a per pupil or ADA basis. This allocation recognizes local context and allows districts to address continued need for student mental health and wellness as well as for operational costs that continue rise including energy, utilities, technology, equipment. Given the number of funds allocated based on student demographics, e.g., Extended Learning Opportunities Program, LCFF, Community Schools Grants, Literacy Grants, we urge the Legislature to adopt the per ADA basis for the allocation method of the block grant.

Pension Relief for Local Educational Agencies
Employer pension rates are set by the state and are scheduled to increase in 2022-23. Without a contribution from the general fund to maintain employer contribution rates flat, LEAs and community colleges face rate increases in CalSTRS of approximately 2.18% and 2.16% for CalPERS; a single-year pension cost increase of $1.2 billion starting July 1, 2022. CALSSD supports an investment from the state surplus to address this immediate rise and employers’ long-term unfunded liability. This investment will provide sh relief to LEAs and result in more funds for classroom support to students.

Special Education Funding
The May Revision provides the 6.56% COLA to special education and maintains the January Budget proposal to increase the special education AB 602 grant to $820 per pupil. We support this proposal because more and more children are being identified for special education services; thus, program costs are increasing even as overall enrollment numbers and ADA are declining. Because special education funding is based on a district’s ADA, this increase is especially important.

Facilities Funding for Transitional Kindergarten Expansion
CALSSD urges the Legislature to provide an allocation of funds to support educationally appropriate facilities for universal transitional kindergarten (TK). As schools expand this grade level, the challenges of accommodating more and younger 4-year-olds on school campuses will require facilities modifications to meet Title 5 standards for restrooms, windows, sinks, furniture, parent drop-off and bus loading areas, and playgrounds.

Home to School Transportation Funding
CALSSD is a long-time champion of reforming the Home to School Transportation formula; our districts recognize the critical importance of ensuring students have the means to get to and from school. We support the approach of AB 2933 (O’Donnell) and urge the Legislature to provide additional ongoing funding without a state mandate.

Thank you for the opportunity to share the recommendations. If we can be of further assistance, please contact me via e-mail at andrea@ballfrostgroup.com or phone at (916) 616-3116.

Sincerely,


Andrea Ball, Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts

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CALSSD Supports AB 1614 (Muratsuchi)

January 24, 2022

​The Honorable Al Muratsuchi
California State Assembly
1021 O Street, Suite 5610
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: AB 1614 (Muratsuchi) As Introduced January 5, 2022
Position: SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Muratsuchi:

The California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) has reviewed your AB 1614 (Muratsuchi) and taken a position of support. Thank you for authoring this important measure. AB 1614 would increase the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) by $4.2 billion over the statutory cost-of-living adjustment in 2022-23 and provide that the Legislature will strive to reach the top ten states in the country in K-12 per-pupil funding.

CALSSD supports AB 1614 because LCFF did not establish the base grant at a level that allows school districts to meet their costs and expenses for a high-quality core program for all students. LCFF centers decision-making on how funds are utilized to educate students at the local level based on student needs and with strong community input. Based on principles of equity and local control, the formula includes additional resources for students with the greatest needs. However, the LCFF has not kept pace with the massive growth in fixed costs for programs, services, and personnel that are funded from the base grant.

Districts face rising costs in employer pension contributions and health care premiums, utilities, transportation, technology, and special education services in addition to COVID-19 related expenses. Growth in these costs outpaces the LCFF base grant, including cost-of-living adjustments. The impact of these increases has been of even greater magnitude during the pandemic.

Suburban schools serve a diverse population of 2.6 million students in more than 260 school districts in California; this is about equal to the number of students in California’s urban schools. In one-quarter of suburban districts, 75% of all students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and in 15% of suburban districts the rates of student homelessness are more than double the statewide rate, indicating financial hardship which may negatively impact student learning. In about 10% of suburban districts, more than one-third of students are English Learners who may need extensive instructional resources. Across these districts, an increase to the LCFF base grant remains a clear budget priority.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact me at (916) 447-8420 or via e-mail at andrea@ballfrostgroup.com.

Sincerely,


Andrea Ball
Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts

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Response to Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2022

CA Suburban School Districts Association Responds to Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget

Sacramento – The California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) today issued the following statement in response to the proposed budget for 2022-23 which was introduced by Governor Newsom today. The statement is attributed to Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto City Schools, which is the lead district for CALSSD:

“Given the extraordinary challenges that schools, students, parents and families continue to face while the COVID-19 pandemic endures, we applaud the Governor’s proposal to amend the LCFF calculation so that schools can provide continuity of important educational services while also navigating extreme and unanticipated declines in enrollment and attendance. As this proposal is considered by legislative leaders, we are glad to provide perspectives on how it would impact suburban school districts and our efforts to serve all students during the ongoing public health emergency.

“We are also encouraged that the Governor proposes to continue investing in early childhood education and the full implementation of Transitional Education (TK). Making TK universally available will give all learners a beneficial learning foundation that will support their future success in all subject areas and serve as a springboard for their education journey. The proposed additional investment to reduce student-to-adult staffing ratios will also further support the quality of our TK programs.

“The need for special education services and other programs critical to support all students has grown in many districts across the state. We look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposals for addressing the costs of these integral services when more detail is available.

“Similarly, the proposal to increase funding for the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program is welcomed to support all students, particularly those who experienced interruptions in their learning during the pandemic. Since the state and nationwide staffing shortage has presented challenges for some districts in their efforts to implement this program, we will look carefully at the details and provide feedback on this proposal once the trailer bill is released.”

Suburban schools serve a diverse student population of 2.6 million students in California. CALSSD is a statewide coalition of districts that advocates for policies and funding to improve education for students in suburban schools.

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CALSSD Announce Budget and Policy Priorities for 2022 Legislative Session

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2021

Contact: Hilary McLean
Hilary@ALZAmedia.com

California Association of Suburban School Districts Announce Budget and Policy Priorities for 2022 Legislative Session

SacramentoThe California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) announced their budget and policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session in a letter sent to Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon. CALSSD urges the Governor and the legislature to take steps to accelerate student learning, support efforts to meet the array of challenges that students continue to face from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure fiscal stability of suburban school districts.

“Addressing the impact of the pandemic on student learning and well-being will take sustained effort and support for educators and the programs and services needed to meet the needs of the close to 6 million children and youth in California’s public schools,” the letter noted.

CALSSD’s policy and budget recommendations to address important student needs in the upcoming legislative session are:

  • Adhere to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Provide A Base Funding Increase.
  • Establish Adjustments and Graduated Decrease of ADA Funding.
  • Use State Revenue Surplus to Address the Jump in Employer Pension Rates.
  • Increase Special Education Funding.
  • Sustain Funding to Address Student Well-Being and Mental Health.
  • Fund Implementation of Expanded Transitional Kindergarten
  • Improve Funding for Home to School Transportation.

Suburban schools serve a diverse population of 2.6 million students in more than 260 school districts in California; approximately equal to the number of students in California’s urban schools. Fifty-two percent of suburban students are Latinx, 24% are White, 10% are Asian American, 5% are Black or African American, 4% are multi-racial and 3% are Pacific islander or Filipino. In one-quarter of suburban districts, 75% of all students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and in 15% of suburban districts the rates of student homelessness are more than double the statewide rate.. In about 10% of suburban districts, more than one-third of students are English Learners who may need extensive instructional resources. (Beyond the White Picket Fence: Suburban Schools in California. California Education Lab, UC Davis School of Education, March 2021)

The California Association of School Districts (CALSSD) is a statewide coalition of districts that advocates for policies and funding to improve education for students in suburban schools. Member districts include:

Carlsbad Unified School District * Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District * El Dorado Union High School District * Elk Grove Unified School District * Folsom Cordova Unified School District * Fremont Union High School District * Glendale Unified School District * Irvine Unified School District * Laguna Beach Unified School District  * Las Virgenes Unified School District * Madera Unified School District * Modesto City Schools * Morgan Hill Unified School District  * Oceanside Unified School District * Ontario-Montclair School District * Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District  * Poway Unified School District * Rocklin Unified School District * Roseville City School District * Roseville Joint Union High School District * Rowland Unified School District * San Juan Unified School District * San Ramon Valley Unified School District * Santa Barbara Unified School District  * Santa Clara Unified School District * Tustin Unified School District * Vista Unified School District

Modesto City Schools, serves as the Lead District for CALSSD

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School Opening and Budget Trailer Clean Up on Independent Study

August 30, 2021

​The Hon. Gavin Newsom
Governor, State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Toni Atkins
Senate President pro Tempore
State California, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Anthony Rendon
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Nancy Skinner
Chair, Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee
State Capitol, Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Phil Ting
Chair Assembly Budget Committee
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: School Opening and Budget Trailer Clean Up on Independent Study

Dear Governor Newsom, Senate pro Tem Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, Senator Skinner and Assemblymember Ting:

We write on behalf of the California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD). As the new school year begins, in-person school has been the choice for the majority of our students and families. Teachers, staff, principals and district leaders are heartened by the return to full-time in person instruction, with independent study programs available for those who choose. Our schools and communities are encouraging all those eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination and are participating in events to promote opportunities. Schools are enforcing state health orders including mask wearing and school facilities have been enhanced to provide additional layers of safety mitigation including ventilation systems, equipment, and custodial services. We thank the Legislature and the Administration for supporting students, parents and educators throughout the pandemic and for providing state policies and fiscal resources to help schools address the impact of the pandemic.

Despite these measures and the commitment to in-person instruction, the spread of the Delta variant and the increasing numbers of students requiring quarantine and contact tracing are proving challenging to our schools. We urge the legislature to address these five critical issues outlined below before the legislative recess begins:

  • Authorize students to participate in short term independent study for more than 15 days a year when the reason for placement is due to quarantine. The current 15 day per year maximum on individual students for short term independent study is bumping up against the rise in positive COVID-19 cases and student quarantine requirements. We believe that individual students may require quarantine multiple times in the year. In addition, for some students identified through contract tracing, they may have to quarantine for 20 days at a time.
  • Clarify that LEAs will not lose ADA funding for students who have to quarantine. We were glad to hear last week on the Safe Opening of Schools webinar convened by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, that there would be clean-up language on this issue. There will likely be quarantines happening throughout the school year and it does not seem that J-13A waivers are designed for these types of occurrences.
  • Authorize local use of instruction via a virtual platform, e.g., zoom, in instances where full classes or schools must quarantine and ensure that local educational agencies will receive ADA in these situations. When AB 130 was drafted and enacted, the COVID-19 context was different, and we did not anticipate the large numbers of students who would be required to quarantine. In instances where large numbers of students from the same school must quarantine, educational continuity, operational logistics, and parent choice make this limited-term distance learning a reasonable solution.
  • Provide flexibility to allow any qualified credentialed teacher to teach independent study courses, even if they are not a part of the IS team, for short periods of time for those students who are in quarantine. The existing teacher shortage has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Now, with ever increasing numbers of students participating in independent study, the challenges are at a critical point.
  • Amend definition of parent-pupil-educator conference in EC 51745.5 (c) so that not all parties who signed the pupil’s written agreement must be present. There are numerous individuals who sign these agreements (see Ed Code 51747 (g)(9)(A). For example, clinicians who provide behavioral health services, speech, and language therapists, Title I tutors. In many instances, conferences are called to address specific issues, that might pertain to one class. The requirement to have all the staff who signed the agreement present at every conference will result in scheduling delays in order to accommodate so many different individuals’ calendars. We recommend requiring the presence of staff who provide services directly related to the meeting purpose.

These actions will make an important difference for schools to ensure they can accommodate student needs in light of the continued pandemic and provide high quality teaching and learning.

Thank you again for your commitment to California’s students and to the health and safety of all Californians. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at andrea@ballfrostgroup.com and jeff@ballfrostgroup.com.

Sincerely,


Andrea Ball
Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts


Jeffrey Frost
Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts


Copy:
Hon. Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Members, Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee
Members, Assembly Budget Committee

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CALSSD Statement on Final Budget Agreement for Fiscal Year 2021-2022

For Immediate Release
July 6, 2021

CALSSD Statement on Final Budget Agreement for Fiscal Year 2021-2022

The California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) congratulated the Governor and Legislature for reaching agreement on the 2021-22 Budget, and recognized elements of the budget that support suburban school districts’ work to meet the educational needs of all students. CALSSD also appreciates the compromise language in AB/SB 130 on independent study that provides an option for independent study in instances in which parents or guardians determine that in-person instruction would put a student’s health at risk.

The following statement is attributed to Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto City Schools, the lead district for CALSSD.

“We are encouraged that a number of CALSSD recommendations are included in the final package. The resolution of budget negotiations and the pay off of all deferrals gives districts fiscal certainty and allows us to begin  implementing plans for instruction and student support in advance of the upcoming fall semester.

“Following 15  months of stress and challenges to teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we appreciate the increase in education funding aimed at supporting our students’ academic, social and emotional recovery through a lens of equity and inclusion. We look forward to using the new resources allocated in this budget agreement, such as the increase to the LCFF base grant and the compound cost-of-living adjustment, to address challenges and inequities stemming from COVID-19 by expanding mental health services, and accelerating academic, social, and emotional learning.

“We also applaud the much-needed increase in funding for special education services and the expanded learning grants to all districts. We look forward to exploring the robust implementation of the groundbreaking expansion of Transitional Kindergarten. The investment in laying the foundation of early learning for all students will pay dividends in student success for a generation.

“Lastly, as was noted in a recent report from the California Education Lab, while the vast majority of suburban school districts serve a significant number of students who are eligible for free or reduced price meals, are in foster care, or are English learners, there is significant variation among and within districts. The increase in LCFF base funding in this budget is a positive step. However, because some suburban school districts serve a higher number of disadvantaged students than others, we acknowledge that the formula for expanding LCFF concentration funding included in the final budget agreement was disappointing to some districts. CALSSD will continue to advocate for the state to increase LCFF funding so that every district has the resources to fully meet the academic, social, and emotional learning  needs of all students.”

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