Sunday, December 14, 2014

Set Your Clocks to January 9

January 9th, 2015. 

A Friday.

That's when Governor Brown is expected to release his Budget Proposal.

The one that will say whether things will get easier or harder for K12 Adult Schools.

Here's the full scoop from CCAE on what that might mean for Adult Schools and what need to do in the time leading up to his announcement.

By the way, membership to CCAE is on half-price special for new members right now.  Your membership makes their advocacy possible.

In just a few short weeks, K12 adult education will have a much clearer understanding of the future and, by my estimation, it’s looking much brighter on the horizon—a new day is upon us. In the past two months we’ve been working vigorously to affect the January proposal before our window of opportunity closed. It appears that window is now closed as I’ve been notified that the Governor is in the Department of Finance making the final call on each of the various budget items as I prepare this update for you. While the window seems to be closed now, we’re keeping the curtains open. While nothing is certain until we see the Governor’s budget proposal on Friday, January 9th, we are feeling quite good about our prospects for the budget proposal and in it, our fate.

Hit the "read more" link to learn more.

In preparation for the January budget release and in an effort to educate the Legislature on the importance of K12 adult education, we’ve also been working with our PR consultant in Sacramento on rounding up media interest and working a variety of other angles in the post-election realm.  Did you read the SacBee OpEd by Hacienda La Puente’s Alice Yoshioka? We’ve also seen some great work by Karen Arthur of Oxnard Adult School and Kristen Pursley of West Contra Costa Adult Education in EdSource. Further, we have more in the works for the coming weeks all in the interest in continuing to build the pressure for a workable budget proposal and setting the stage for the budget process to play out in the Legislature.
So…with the window closed for further negotiation with Finance, what are our next steps? 
Now we begin to focus our advocacy on the Legislature. We need to quickly shift our focus on preparing the Legislature for the budget discussion that will play out over the next six months.  What makes this potentially more complicated is that there are over 35 new members between the two houses with little or no experience with K12 adult education. We must work quickly to bring them up to speed on who we are in their district, the value of K12 adult education to their constituency, the history of funding, share your current efforts around AB 86 planning and provide and explain from your K12 perspective your actual AB 86 regional plan. I would draw particular focus to a couple of key new Assembly members with prime chairmanships – Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) who was tapped to chair the Assembly Education Committee and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) who was tapped to chair the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 for Education Finance by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) last week. I’m feeling quite comfortable with these new chairs, but regardless those of you in their districts need to move quickly to develop relationships with these critically important members. Unfortunately, as of this update the Senate has yet to announce committee chairs and we continue to wait for committee membership in both houses.  Once we have a better sense of committee makeup, we’ll be pushing you all to add to the list of members to focus on. Stay tuned on that point, but in the meantime keep in mind….they need to learn stand on their own feet on the issue before they can run with our “asks.”  As such, start with the basics first and foremost.  Once you’ve managed to get them acquainted with K12 adult education in their district, share with them the importance of 2015’s budget process and what their district stands to lose absent getting this year’s budget right. You can share with them our work with the Department of Finance and that our priorities for the January budget proposal are focused on a couple of key issues:
• A Dedicated, Stable Funding Structure for K-12 Adult Schools
• Transition Year—Maintain Current K-12 Capacity
• Utilizing Existing State Fiscal Infrastructures to Apportion Funding
• AB 86 Plans Inform & Drive Funding
Further, in order to get to the core of these key issues, we’ve put forth two critical “asks” for the FY 15-16 budget proposal as follows:
1. Maintain & Stabilize K-12 Capacity with a Transition Year

                    - Maintenance of Capacity Funding for K12 Out of FY 15-16 Allocation
- Helps avoid March 15th layoff notices, provides stability and avoids closures of adult schools because it helps provide greater certainty for school districts in planning their budgets for the FY 15-16 school year

2. Perkins Model Distribution of Funding—CDE Allocation to K12 Districts through Interagency Agreement w/ CCCO

                    - Ensures K12 adult education remains tied and accessible to the community you serve
- Maintains the autonomy of School Boards of Education
- Why reinvent the wheel – the structure already exists without adding to the bureaucracy
- Doesn’t compromise local decision making through the regional consortia
If you haven’t already, please move quickly to conduct meet-and-greets with your members – new or incumbent – while they are in the district.  The next few weeks are the perfect time to conduct these meetings—especially with the new members who are eager to get rolling ahead of January 5th when the session resumes in Sacramento.  In order to assist you with identifying your elected representatives, please see  Additionally, we have provided the attached rosters to assist you with scheduling meetings.   
Finally, we have condensed the key issues and “asks” for your meetings to help ensure we are all speaking the same language and proposing the same concepts. We hope you find the one-pager helpful!
While nothing is certain until we see the actual budget language, we are feeling quite positive about January’s budget release and feel like a new day is upon us. We know the details will be important and some of them may not be exactly what we would propose; however, we’ve made considerable headway on some of the more critical overarching issues that we believe will be positively reflected in the proposal.  Time will tell—just a few short weeks—but keep those curtains open to let in the sunshine.  A new day is upon us…
Strength in numbers!
AB86: Adult Schools' Current Capacity Needs to Be a Priority for 2015–2016 
The AB86 Regional Consortia planning is at a critical stage of development as the December 31st deliverables are being finalized now. Although it's still uncertain what the adult education funding formula and method of distribution for next year will be, it's clear that the K-12 adult schools are depending on the AB86 funding that has been promised by the Governor and the Legislature.  The maintenance of current capacity for adult education needs to be included in the regional plans.  Maintenance of Capacity can be defined as the dollar amounts for "maintenance of effort" at a minimum. 
There are several places in the regional plan template  (table 1.1, table 4.1) where consortia are asked to report on the funding required to deliver current levels of service and to project the costs for the future.   While funding for next year will be unclear until the state's budget is passed in June, CCAE and CAEAA strongly encourage adult school advocates to make sure that regional consortium plans include the following:
  • Adult schools' continue operation depends on the AB86 funds.  This should be made explicit in the plans.
  • Adult schools' support needs to be prioritized in the plans to maintain current capacity.
  • Tables, charts, or narratives should make clear what current funds are already  in place to support adult education (WIA funds, non-credit or credit basic skills funds already available in the community colleges), and what additional funds will be needed to maintain current capacity, as well as to address gaps and expand services.

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