Thursday, January 10, 2013

Good & Complicated Budget Update

Today, Thursday, January 10, 2012, Gov. Brown released the budget for 2013-14.

It is a template because it needs to be approved by the Legislature and before it is approved and there will be certainly be tweaks (and probably a few squawks, as well).

The end result never looks exactly like the beginning.

Which is why we need to stay involved.

But to the news:

First, things are looking up for public education, in general.  It's a priority and funding is increasing.

Yay, public education!

As far as Adult Education is concerned, there is both good and more complicated news.

The good news:  Gov. Brown clearly recognizes the value of education

The complicated news:  He seems to want it tied only to Community Colleges, as it in San Francisco, through City College, and not tied to K-12 districts, as it is in most of the state and as it is at our school, the San Mateo Adult School, where it is tied to the San Mateo Union High School district.

Note:  the cheapest delivery system for Adult Education is the tied-to-K-12 model.

In any case, here are more bits to read and ponder:

1.  An overview on the new budget, from the Los Angeles Times.

2.  Reactions to the education portion of the budget, from the Santa Clarita Valley News. 

Note Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's quote: 

“I look forward to working with our community college partners regarding the future of adult education. I am concerned that severing the longstanding ties these programs have with K-12 districts could diminish access to classes that play a vital role in helping Californians receive the basic education they need to become productive citizens."

3. From Dawn Koepke, lobbyist who works on behalf of Adult Education:

Adult Education and Apprenticeship Realignment
Currently, K12 school districts and community colleges are authorized to provide adult
education instruction. However, there is no statewide requirement or mechanism to
coordinate the efforts of these two systems. As a result, the state has an inefficient
and redundant system that is not always structured in the best interest of adult learners.
Further, funding for the K12 adult education program is currently flexible, available for any
educational purpose, and many districts are eliminating their programs and redirecting this
funding to support their core instructional programs.
To create a more accountable and centralized adult education learning structure,
the Budget proposes $315.7 million Proposition 98 General Fund to fund a comparable
K12 adult education service delivery system. It proposes an increase of $300 million
to support the program within the community colleges. It also shifts $15.7 million for
the Apprenticeship Program. The proposal eliminates the current bifurcated system and
places the community colleges in a position to improve coordination at the regional and
statewide levels. Community colleges are better positioned than K12 schools to address
the needs of adult learners because that is their core function. Funding will be allocated
from a new adult education block grant based on the number of students served, and the
colleges will be encouraged to leverage the capacity and expertise currently available at
the K12 district adult schools. Additional detail on this proposal is discussed in the Higher
Education Chapter.
What's our take-away?
The fabulous news is that the people of California, including Gov. Brown, recognize that Adult Education Matters!
The challenge:  how is Adult Education best delivered to the people of California?
Obviously, we at the San Mateo Adult School think we do a darn good job of delivering it through the tied-to-K-12-adult-school model.
How everything works out come July when the Legislature must yay or nay...  we will see.
Stay tuned.
Stay informed.
Stay involved.
As Ms. Koepke notes... there is more to come!


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