Thursday, May 21, 2015

CCAE: Good News - and - Call to Action

From CCAE's Legislative Analyst, Dawn Koepke, good news about the May Revise of the Budget -

     along with a call to action (highlighted):

May Revise - Stability,  Certainty,  Identity....Progress
Words cannot describe the significant progress we have made together over the last four budget cycles.  Really.  When I began working with CCAE and CAEAA we were facing utter elimination and transfer to the community college system.  And here we are...just three budget proposals and May Revises later....stability, certainty, preserved identity....access for our students.  I'm so pleased with what we've accomplished together these past few years. 
When we started off 2015 we were provided a good starting point in the Governor's FY 15-16 plan.  That said, there were a number of outstanding concerns and issues that needed to be addressed.  In a proactive fashion, we continued to engage the Department of Finance (DOF), Legislature, Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), and stakeholders to push for additional changes that would strengthen the good foundation presented to us in January.  Last Thursday, the Governor and DOF released a revised budget plan ("May Revise") that addressed each and every one of the concerns we had shared.  More specifically, the following key items were revised resulting in an incredible plan:
·         Solidifies the maintenance of effort for adult schools for FY 15-16 and ensures base funding in out years for certainty in school district budgeting and stability for adult schools
·         Sets an allocation schedule and process to help ensure stability for adult schools as LEAs develop their budgets each year
·          Allows local consortia to decide how best to distribute and receive funding whether through a local fiscal agent or through existing fiscal infrastructure
·         Elimination of the Allocation Boards and instead providing for local consortia to determine the governance structure best for the region and members
·         Requires all members' funding sources be identified and noted as part of the planning process so as to assist with prioritizing the expenditures of Adult Ed Block Grant funds
·         Established a 3-year planning process, with yearly updates so as to provide out-year forecasting and planning for stability
·         Funds three positions for the California Department of Education to ensure co-equal participation with the Chancellor's office in the AB 86 process and technical assistance for LEAs and adult schools
Budget Committees are already moving forward with hearings on the revised plan and preparing to take action.  As a matter of fact, I testified Monday in the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 to convey our appreciation to the Administration and DOF for listening to our concerns and addressing them.  Further, we've been in close communication with budget staff in both houses to ensure they know we are incredibly pleased with the May Revise. 
All of this said, it isn't over until it's over - when the Legislature has approved the plan (by June 15th) and the Governor has signed it (by June 30th).  In this regard, I would note the concerns raised by the LAO and the community colleges with regard to the MOE and ongoing base funding provisions of the May Revision.  As voiced as part of the Assembly hearing Monday, they are concerned that the funding would be locked in without flexibility to adjust expenditures in out years unless the MOE-funded member no longer wishes to provide services consistent with the plan approved by the consortium; that member cannot provide the services that address the needs identified in the adult education plan; or the member has been consistently ineffective in providing the services that address the needs identified in the plan. 
**Call to Action**
In order to ensure that the Legislature moves forward the May Revise version, I urge you to contact your respective Assemblymember and Senator as soon as possible to convey your support for the Governor's May Revise.  To identify your legislator, please see  Key talking points may include:
·         We appreciate the Legislature's engagement on preserving K-12 based adult education
·         The Governor's May Revise is the culmination of many proactive, solutions-oriented conversations with DOF, the Legislature and stakeholders over the past year that have resulted in a workable path forward for adult schools that ensures stability and access for our students
·         We would oppose any changes to the plan that would erode the stability and certainty DOF provided to the K-12 providers in the trailer bill language associated with the maintenance of effort (MOE)
Please begin making your calls now and let's ensure a smooth path forward to the Governor's signature for this incredibly positive, workable proposal.  Strength in numbers!

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