Thurs 5/23: It’s long past time our kids got the #1 education they need for the 21st century. Call and help get these bills through.

Compilation of CA educational quality scores for 2018 from various sources: 38th,  32nd,     35th,     37th,    35th.  

Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it will certainly solve some.

The scores shown above are actually an improvement! (See video in the “Background” section). We were once #1, and then fell to the bottom. Still, many schools don’t have full-time nurses, counselors or library access and there’s remains huge inequalities between school districts. “…researchers aim to put a price tag on what it would cost to provide an adequate education in the state. … the state would need to add another $22.1 billion “for all students to have had the opportunity to meet the goals set by the State Board of Education” and bring spending up to about $16,800 per student, which is still less than what states in the Northeast spend, the report says. Addressing the needs of low-income students and English learners would take roughly $3,000 to $4,000 more.

Yesterday, May 22nd, was California Educators Day. A bunch of our hard-working teachers thought it important enough to make their way to Sacramento to talk to their legislators. Let’s help push their message over the line and re-fund our school system!teachers

Action – Make these calls!

(State Senators) Minimal script.: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m urging State Senator  [___]  to support SB 37,  SB-468, SB 756  AB 39,  AB 1505, and AB 1507.  This package of bills is essential making CA’s school system something to be proud of again.

(Assemblymembers) Minimal script.: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m urging Assemblymember [___]  to support  AB 1506

Contact:
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (SD-19):SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 email
State Assemblymember Monique Limón (CA-37): SAC (916) 310-2037  email
Not your people?findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.

Background on bills and resources

This movie explains how CA went from having what was rated the best educational system in the U.S. to scoring at the bottom, just above Guam. Starting at 7:48, the movie gives a good primer the educational inequities caused by wealthy districts outspending poor districts by 4-to-one, and the effects of Prop. 13 throughout the entire system, especially on schools without wealthier parental infusions of cash.

Followup : Report: California schools have improved, but major funding challenges remain.

“YES” on AB 39. CA is #41th in funding and #49th in class size…we need to do better for our future citizens.|

AB 39 aims at creating funding targets that help CA schools deal with all the costs associated with their students. Per the bill’s sponsor Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi – “…I introduced AB 39 to establish K-12 school funding targets so California will be in the top ten in the country in per pupil spending. This would ensure that all school districts have full and fair funding to cover increasing fixed costs and provide a better education for all California public school students, regardless of where you live.” Tell your senator that this bill is a priority. This bill is good for kids, it’s good for teachers, and it’s good for companies who want to bring employees and their families into our state.

Update: This bill just passed the Assembly and is now heading into the State Senate!

“YES” on SB-468. It’s time to justify all those corporate tax “incentives” that bleed money from education.

SB-468 – Taxation: tax expenditures: California Tax Expenditure Review Board. The Pew Charitable Trusts found that “California is trailing other states because it has not adopted a plan for regular evaluation of tax incentives.” Our own State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson agrees. She’s noted that there are almost 80 CA tax incentives that are decades old that will cost us $506.4 billion in tax losses by 2022. These incentives never been evaluated as to whether they are achieving their original public policy goals or are just giant tax loopholes for corporations. Her bill requires that 9 tax incentives, each costing us more than $1 billion a year in tax revenue without any review mechanism, go through an accounting process by the Legislative Analyst’s Office to prove that they’re worth the $7.3 billion we’re losing in 2018-19. This loss is costing our schools $2.92 BILLION. Fact sheet  here!

Update: This bill has had it’s third reading in the Senate.

“YES” on SB 37 –  It’s time to make that huge corporate tax windfall actually do something for the poor and middle class.

SB 37 – Corporate Fair Share for California & Californians will increase the tax rate on large corporations to provide billions of dollars in new revenue for childcare, schools, and higher ed. Corporation used to provide 15% of CA’s general fund revenue. Now it’s just 9%. For the top 0.2% of companies that do business in CA, this bill will capture a share of Trump’s massive 2017 40% federal tax cut, by raising corporate income taxes from 8.84% to 10.84%. “Corporate profits are at an all time high, yet the portion of tax revenue California receives from corporations is at close to its lowest point in 40 yearsSB 37 just asks corporations to pay their share, so we can cut income inequality and help fund our kids, our teachers, and our schools.” – State Sen. Nancy Skinner.

Update: This bill is still in the Senate.

“YES” on this Charter school package – Ventura County residents! – Join our Indivisible CA coalition in calling for these great controls on charter schools!

On top of complex real estate deals, charter school operators often “save” money by cutting teacher pay, hiring inexperienced school staff and avoiding children with disabilities. These “savings” are added to executive salaries rather than invested in serving all children and providing solid middle class jobs for teachers and staff.  We need great schools for all children—not just for some. Schools owned by us, not private companies. Let’s make sure every dollar we spend on education is spent on education, not skimmed off by real estate investors or to pay high-priced management fees.”  (Capital and Main)

AB 1505 – Charter schools petitions. This bill allows districts to deny a charter petition if the new charter school would have a negative fiscal, academic, or facilities impact on the district. It also eliminates charter operators’ ability to appeal to the county and then the State Board of Education if a district says no. These two reforms recognize the adverse impact charters have in heavily targeted cities and also return local control to our school districts.

In addition. it tightens up standards & oversight:  Evaluation rubrics & performance criteria will be applied equally to all schools.  The charter school petition needs to describe the means by which will achieve a balance of special education students & English learner students that is reflective of the general population of the school district.  Requires that their teachers hold the Commission on Teaching Credentialing certificate.  For the charter to be renewed the school has to meet certain academic criteria, such as attaining its Academic Performance Index.

Update: The bill has passed out of the Assembly and is now in to the Senate.

AB 1506 – Charter schools: statewide total: authorization restrictions. This bill would impose a cap at the number of charters operating statewide—1,323 right now—and a new charter could only open if one closes. The bill also establishes a cap in each individual district.

A school district that has enough seats for all of its students is ineligible for new construction funding.  Charter schools are not subject to this constraint. According to a 2017 study by In the Public Interest – a total of 447 California charter schools have opened in places where there already were seats available for every student. At least 30% of charter schools were opened in places that had no need for additional seats (and failed to provide a superior education) at a net cost to taxpayers of nearly $400 million. Charter schools make it difficult for a school district to consolidate schools in the face of falling enrollment. If a school closes, a charter school is free to open a school in the same location.  Over 400 charter schools have closed since 1992. .In 2017-18 44 California charter schools closed.  When charter schools close the school districts must accommodate their students. The volatility of charter schools forces school districts to maintain a modest cushion of surplus capacity.  Establishing a cap will give school districts financial stability.

Update: This bill has had it’s third reading in the Assembly.

AB 1507 – Charter schools: location: resource center. This bill would end the ability of a district to authorize a charter school and then place it in another district.

There have been a number of high-profile cases in which school districts have authorized charter schools outside of the district in order to generate revenue through “oversight” fees. Over 10% of the State’s charter schools have at least one school outside of the authorizing district’s boundaries.

Update: The bill has passed out of the Assembly and is now in to the Senate..

SB 756 – Charter schools: moratorium. This bill would establish a 5-year moratorium on all new charters statewide unless the reforms in the three bills above are enacted before 2020. The bill has passed out of the Senate Education Committee.

Update: This bill is still in to the Senate.

 

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