California Association of Suburban School Districts Respond to Governor’s Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2023-24

For Immediate Release

California Association of Suburban School Districts Respond to Governor’s Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2023-24

In response to the release of Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget for 2023-34, the California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) has released the following statement. This statement can be attributed to Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto City Schools which is the lead district for CALSSD.

“Given the decline in state revenues, we appreciate the level of funding maintained in the proposed budget to support California students.

“The proposed COLA for LCFF and special education will help suburban school districts support critical educational programs for the diverse populations of the students we serve. Districts intend to use these vital resources to continue a variety of programs to accelerate learning, engage students, and help prepare them for opportunities and successful futures.

“The new targeted funding proposed through an LCFF equity multiplier will help suburban school districts provide important additional supports for students who have been historically underserved.

“As our districts work to expand transitional kindergarten and implement preschool programs, we are very pleased that Governor Newsom maintained his commitment to high quality early learning and continues to recognize the cost of expanding educational services to California’s young learners.

“Suburban school districts face staffing shortages in many areas; state investments, as well as a call to action to attract more people into the field, can serve as a leverage point for local efforts.

“We applaud the Governor’s plan to invest state funds in cybersecurity. Local educational agencies need this timely support as more districts face threats in this area.

“CALSSD and our member districts look forward to engaging with Governor Newsom and the Legislature on California’s education spending plan as the state’s revenue projections become clearer.”

The California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) is an organization that supports policies and funding efforts that will improve the quality of education for all students.

For more information, please contact Andrea Ball, President and CEO of the Ball/Frost Group, and legislative advocate for the California Association of Suburban School Districts, at or 916-616-3116.

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Suburban School Districts 2023-24 State Budget Recommendations

Governor Gavin Newsom
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, CA  95814

Re: Suburban School Districts 2023-24 State Budget Recommendations

As your administration finalizes proposals for the 2023-24 State Budget, the California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) thanks you for your leadership and the state investments in our public education system. Suburban district leaders are resolved to address the impacts of the pandemic and accelerate students’ academic and social emotional learning.

CALSSD advocates to improve the quality of education for our diverse student population by advancing policies that support the academic achievement and social-emotional learning of students and the fiscal solvency of school districts. Challenges continue for California’s students, educators, staff, families, and communities to address the impacts of the pandemic. Schools are central to accelerating student learning, supporting social emotional learning, and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. CALSSD advocacy in 2023 focuses on ensuring funding for TK-12 education, commitment to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the foundation of local control, and implementation of programs to close gaps in student achievement and opportunities.

Commitment to Local Decision-making and Flexibility to Advance Student Outcomes. California’s historic level of state revenues for the past several years and the infusion of federal COVID-19 relief dollars provided critical resources to schools through the pandemic. Suburban districts deeply valued this funding and are using it to address whole child supports, engage students, accelerate learning and to recruit and retain staff. A significant portion of these funding streams are one-time. Given the projections for lower state revenues, continued inflationary pressures and the growing likelihood of economic slowdown, suburban leaders understand the responsibility to consider sustainability and fiscal stability as they establish and continue vital programs and services. CALSSD 2023 priorities are developed with this in mind.

Local Control Funding Formula & COLA Are Critical Priorities. CALSSD supports adherence to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), ensuring state funds continue to be allocated via this equity-based formula and that the statutory Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is funded. Enactment of LCFF almost a decade ago eliminated the myriad of restrictive categorical programs and provided discretion to school districts to meet local context and promote student achievement, access, and engagement in collaboration with stakeholders and partners. The equity basis of LCFF and the Local Control Accountability Plan put the focus on addressing student progress. Funding the LCFF and statutory COLA are high priorities for CALSSD.

Address Staffing Challenges in Certificated and Classified Positions.  California schools continue to face unprecedented shortage of employees. Past limited flexibility for schools to hire STRS retirees has been instrumental in helping to alleviate classroom vacancies. These retirees served as substitute teachers, mentors and coaches for new teachers and administrators. Retirees also take on projects such as assisting in the implementation of the Extended Learning Opportunities Program and Universal PreK; projects that existing personnel do not have the bandwidth to take on. In some instances, retirees are also temporarily filled in for critical open administrative positions until qualified active STRS employees can be found. The benefits of this include having positions filled by individuals who are familiar with the districts and schools, allowing them to hit the ground running.  Lifting the earning limit for retirees will continue to allow school districts to meet the needs of their students, staff, and communities at a savings as they continue to try and fill a large number of open positions.

State funded pipeline programs, grants and loan forgiveness are valued, and it will take time to see the results as programs are established and expanded. These shortages necessitate multiple approaches, including removing barriers for those seeking to enter the education sector and flexibility to hire retirees, as was provided during the pandemic. The impact of rising minimum wage in non-education sectors also highlights challenges especially in recruiting and retaining for classified positions.

Special Education Funding Has Improved; Services and Costs Continue to Rise, Early Intervention and Training are Critical. The 2022-23 budget increase to the special education base grant, bringing the rate to a minimum of $820/ADA, is a significant improvement and CALSSD appreciates the action by the Newsom Administration and the Legislature. As schools focus on “first best instruction” and providing universal services, they are also faced with increasing numbers of students with special needs. A recent Education Week story[i] noted the impact of the pandemic and the increase of our youngest learners entering PreK and K with delays in language and fine-motor skills. For some students this may be due to missed schooling rather than a specific learning disability. Schools are working to identify and serve students with disabilities while also coping with broad school-readiness delays that complicate identification. Providing additional resources for student screening, early intervention services and teacher training is vital.

Student Well-Being and Mental Health Require Ongoing Attention. The crisis in children and youth mental and behavioral health continues. CALSSD supports additional on-going resources to sustain programs on school campuses and establish collaborative relationships with community and local providers to connect families to services. Schools across the state need ongoing support to implement whole-child approaches and recruit and retain trained staff to support students. The inclusion of school systems in local health and behavioral health efforts has improved recently and requires ongoing attention by policymakers.

Rising Pension Costs Continue to Rise at State-Determined Levels. School districts continue to face rising contribution rates in STRS and PERS. These rates are set by the state and the steep increases mean local districts must spend more local dollars to cover these costs. Rates for CalSTRS and CalPERS increased from 16.9% to 19.1% and 22.9% to 25.4% respectively. While rates in future years are not yet confirmed, projections earlier this fiscal year showed 2023-24 for CalSTRS remaining at 19.1% and CalPERS increasing to 27.0%. Past investments by the state with non-Proposition 98 dollars allowed districts to retain more local dollars for direct student services.

Collecting Data on Free/Reduced Price Meals (F/RPM) and Unduplicated Pupil Counts for LCFF. Eligibility for free and reduced-price meals determines important funding for local educational agencies under LCFF and affects the amount of federal nutrition funding the state receives. The LCFF uses F/RPM to determine the Unduplicated Pupil Percentages of children from low-income families in each local educational agency. This information is an important criterion that forms the basis for LCFF supplemental and concentration grants. As California implements universal meals for students, families have less incentive to complete the F/RPM forms or the alternate income forms. Undercounts result in fewer resources to provide services and support to a vulnerable student group.

Home to School Transportation. The 2022-23 budget vastly improves the funding formula for Home to School Transportation. CALSSD appreciates the investment in this program. In light of the significant on-going increases to fuel and energy costs, CALSSD supports a COLA for this program in 2023-24. Challenges also remain for districts across the state in finding bus drivers. CALSSD supports state policies inside and outside the education sector that can assist recruitment, retention, training, and licensing for bus drivers.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact us at and or via phone at (916) 447-8420.

Thank you for your consideration and for your commitment to California’s students.


Andrea Ball, Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts

Jeff Frost
Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban
School Districts

CALSSD Responds to Final Budget Package for Fiscal Year 2022-23

For Immediate Release

CALSSD Responds to Final Budget Package for Fiscal Year 2022-23

Sacramento – Following approval of the final budget package for Fiscal Year 2022-23, the California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) issued the following statement which is attributed to Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto City Schools, the lead district for CALSSD.

“We commend the legislature and Governor for the budget package enacted today. This historic level of funding is vital to districts to continue efforts to address the impact of the pandemic, accelerate student learning, and support students’ social emotional growth and development. The increase to the LCFF Base Grant is a critically important investment because it will allow districts to sustain critical functions, programs, and staffing for the long term.

“Suburban district leaders also deeply appreciate the adjustments and funding flexibility to navigate declining enrollment and the drastic drop in attendance due to the COVID variants in the 2021-22 school year.

The block grants will provide crucial support to address the impacts of COVID-19 and provide much needed Music, Arts, Instructional Materials and professional learning. These programs and services are of immense value to student’s academic, social emotional learning and well-being.

“The new allocation methodology and increase in funding for home to school transportation is also extremely welcome. Establishing dedicated funding school transportation has been a long-standing priority for suburban school districts and will enable us to dedicate our LCFF funding directly into classroom needs.

“Finally, the historic direct investment for school construction and modernization, along with the grant program for TK, are important to all districts and will foster stability as districts plan for the future. We will continue to advocate for additional funds which are needed for school modernization and construction and for funds to meet the demand for TK facilities, as expansion of TK advances.”

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.

For more information, contact Andrea Ball at

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CALSSD May Revision Budget Recommendations

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 or phone at (916) 616-3116.


Andrea Ball, Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts

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Suburban School Districts React to Governor’s May Budget Revision

For Immediate Release

Suburban School Districts React to Governor’s May Budget Revision

Sacramento, CA – The following statement on behalf of California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD) can be attributed to Dr. Sara Noguchi, Superintendent of Modesto City Schools, which is the lead district for CalSSD.

“Nearly ten years after California began funding schools through the Local Control Funding Formula, increasing the LCFF base grant is needed to better address students’ learning needs. Districts will use this increase in a range of ways to support all students, and to provide extra support to those who need it. Suburban school districts serve a wide range of economically diverse student populations, but our districts universally will be better able to support all students as they prepare for college and career with an increase to this key budget building block. We appreciate that the Governor’s revised budget includes an increase for the LCFF base grant and look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to find the right balance for this important investment in our students.

“The one-time investment of $8 billion in a discretionary block grant is also appreciated and will help Districts navigate the transition from using COVID-relief funds for critical limited-term needs.”

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.

For more information, contact Andrea Ball at

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CALSSD Supports AB 1614 (Muratsuchi)

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 Ball
Legislative Advocate
California Association of Suburban School Districts

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