Sunday, May 24, 2015

Save Your Adult School Blogpost: Call Your Legislators Now!

From Kristen Pursley's Save Your Adult School Blog:


Call Your Legislators Now!

by kpursley
Please call or email your state legislators today to request that they support stable, dedicated funding for adult schools with a strong Maintenance of Effort requirement to protect current adult school capacity.
Governor Brown’s May Revise of the budget includes stable funding for adult schools.  However, the community colleges are lobbying to have a key protection for adult schools removed: the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement for school districts that is part of the Adult Education Block Grant that will provide funding for adult schools next year.  The community colleges don’t like the fact that some money will be set aside for adult schools.  They want “flexibility” so they can get access to the money for adult schools.
Flexibility for school districts was what almost killed adult schools last time.  We don’t need to have to fight for our lives against the community colleges now. It’s time we had a reliable stream of funding so we can get down to the business of educating adults.
The governor was extremely generous with the community colleges in the 2015-2016 budget.  They have their own funding independent of the Adult Education Block Grant, which was increased by  $900 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.  The Adult Education Block Grant Money set aside for adult schools is only $350 million, and it is the only state money California’s 554 adult schools will receive next year, down significantly from the approximately $700 million adult schools received from the state before the economic crash and the ensuing disaster that was categorical flexibility. Some districts may choose to support their adult schools with  money from their general fund, but that will only happen in well-funded districts and will almost certainly never be more than a very small amount. Many adult schools receive some federal funds, but those are supplemental.  For yet another year, adult schools will receive only enough money to maintain their services at the greatly reduced 2012-2013 level. They are still not being given the money they need to begin rebuilding.
But the community colleges want access to even the small amount of money adult schools have been granted for next year.  The fact is, adult schools need a maintenance of effort more than ever now.  Since 2012-2013, the two year Maintenance of Effort requirement imposed by the state ensured that school districts would not be able to take any more money from their adult schools, and adult schools were relatively stable. Now that the old Maintenance of Effort is sunsetting, adult schools once again face instability.  Four adult schools have closed, and Los Angeles has issued layoff notices to hundreds of adult school teachers.
Community colleges are a vital California institution, and they deserve to be well funded.  However, California needs both adult schools and community colleges to serve adults well.  California's adult schools need to be well funded and well respected.
You can find your legislators at
Please  call or write your legislators and ask them to support the Governor’s plan for the Adult Education Block Grant as set  forth in the May Revise. Ask that your legislator support stable, dedicated funding for adult schools with a robust Maintenance of Effort requirement so that neither school districts nor community colleges will be able to flex adult school money.  Nix to flex!   Adult schools deserve dedicated, secure funding.
For more information, see this excellent post on the Adult Education Matters blog:
See also the message from California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke, below:
May Revise - Stability,  Certainty,  Identity....ProgressWords 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!


  1. Please keep us posted. Tell us what we should do. Have students write letters?

  2. Hi Jeff, Yes! Write letters! Call, email, whatever it is workable for you, students, etc. Short and sweet is okay - in fact, sometimes best. Copy and paste from Kristen's blog post if you need talking points. Or check CCAE's Legislative page and use Legislative Analyst Dawn Koepke's. But make that connection - because believe me, many of the Community College folks - the Community College League, the Community College Academic Senate, and most likely others - are advocating for the opposite. The CC Academic Senate has a lot of voice. I notice they somehow are able to connect with Gov. Brown. I don't know who or what funds the CC Academic Senate.. I am guessing there is money for it in the state budget. Having a representative body for CC faculty is a good thing. The tricky issue is: the K12 Adult School has no equivalent. To reach the Legislature and the Governor we have us - the people - and CCAE. Sometimes the unions - CFT and CTA - speak up on some K12 Adult School points, sometimes they don't. It's complicated because CFT represents many community college teachers. When the needs of Adult Schools and CCs conflict... it gets complicated and often doesn't go well for the K12 AE side of things. That's how it is in a democracy or with human beings. It's messy and just to use that word one more, time... complicated. So yes, write. Express yourself. Use your power in a directed toward the good that you want kind of way.