Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The LAO Report on the Revise

The LAO - the Legislative Analyst Office - is this really cool fact gathering and analyzing group that is non-partisan.  That means their job is to find out the facts about something and not care if it makes Democrats or Republicans or Independents or you or me happy.

They are the Joe Friday of California.

And here is their report on the Gov. Brown's May Revise.

Hit the "read more" link to see it.

My comments are in italics.

The LAO - Legislative Analyst Office - Report on Gov. Brown's May Revise:

Rescinds January Proposal to Provide California Community Colleges (CCC) With $300 Million in 2013-14 for Adult Education

(That means in his first budget proposal, Gov. Brown made a proposal - 300 million dollars for Adult Ed.  Now he's taking it back.  We need him to put that money back on the table - because without it, on-the-edge Adult Schools like Riverside and Oakland can't make it till the promised Designated Funding arrives two years from now.)

Retains January Proposal to Fold Adult Education Categorical Funds Into K-12 Funding Formula
School districts could fund adult education using various sources, including state general-purpose funds, federal funds, and fee revenue. 

Provides $30 Million in Planning Grants for Adult Education Partnership Program
Funding would be provided to the CCC Chancellor’s Office.
The CCC Chancellor’s Office and California Department of Education (CDE) would jointly award grants to CCC districts and school districts (through their adult schools) to form regional consortia.
Other providers (such as county libraries and community- based organizations) could be a part of a regional consortium.

Members of each consortium would have two years to use the planning monies to document existing services, identify unmet need, and develop integrated program plans.

Proposes to Provide $500 Million for Adult Education Partnership Program in 2015-16

Each consortium would submit an application for funding to CDE and the CCC Chancellor’s
Office, which would jointly review the plans.

Two-thirds of the $500 million would be reserved for community colleges and school districts that maintain their current level of state spending on adult education in 2013-14 and subsequent years.

(To get the money, Adult Schools have to be open and have the same budget they have now.  On-the-edge Adult Schools like Oakland and Riverside might not make it.)

All consortia would be funded at the same per-student rate— the CCC enhanced noncredit rate.

Funds would be restricted to supporting adult education’s core instructional areas (including English as a second language, high school diploma programs, and vocational education).

(No money for Parent Ed or Older Adults or Family Literacy.)

Community college districts would serve as each consortium’s fiscal agent. 
(That means the CC districts would be the "banker" for the money.  The consortia have to apply to CDE - California Dept of Ed - and the CCC - Community College Chancellor's Office - for money.  But the CCs get to be in charge of the money.  Both K12 Adult Schools and CCs would offer Adult Ed.  But CCs would get to be the banker.  As anyone who has ever played with Monopoly with their sister or brother knows, that could be a problem.)

Maintains January Proposal to Shift School Districts’ Apprenticeship Categorical Funds to CCC Budget

The May Revision, however, allows school districts to use shifted apprenticeship funds for their own existing programs.

The May Revision also removes the current CCC apprenticeship program from categorical fl exibility (that is, reestablishes it as a restricted categorical program).

New Proposal Has Many Notable Strengths

Creates a strong incentive for CCC, adult schools, and other local providers to coordinate services and better meet the needs of adult learners.

Creates an incentive for existing providers to maintain their current level of spending on adult education.

 Allows for new providers to join consortia.

 Provides planning time and resources for transitioning to new delivery model. 

May Revision Also Leaves Some Important Issues Unaddressed
(It ignores some needs and problems.  We all know how well that works.  Not.)

Does not provide details on

(1) how planning-grant funds would be divided among consortia and
(2) the methodology for determining the amount of Partnership Program funds each region would be eligible to receive.

Retains two different funding rates (credit and noncredit) for CCC’s base adult education program.

Does not address other issues such as inconsistent fee policies and gaps in data systems at CCC and adult schools. 

Benefit of Shifting Apprenticeship Funds to CCC Is Unclear and Runs Counter to Overall Adult Education Approach

LAO Recommendations

Approve Planning Grants, With a Few Modifications 

 Clarify how grant funds would be allocated among consortia.
Award a small portion of grant funds for CCC Academic Senate and adult-school faculty to develop a common course numbering system.

 Consider staffing needs associated with the development and review of joint plans.
Allow interested school districts to serve as fiscal agents for regional consortia.

(K12 Adult Schools could be "bankers," also.  More fairness.  More equity.  More trust.  More partnership.  Better results for people of California.)

Use Next Two Years to Tackle Implementation Details 

Determine methodology for allocating future funds to consortia based on a combination of program need and performance.

Provide clear and consistent delineation for CCC between adult education and collegiate instruction.

Resolve conflicting state-level policies such as student assessment and fee policies at adult schools and CCC.

Create comprehensive and linked data system. 

Reject Proposal to Consolidate Apprenticeship Within CCC 

Maintain the status quo for 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Beginning in 2015-16, fold apprenticeship funds into Adult Education Partnership Program.

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