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Budget Impacts On California Charter Schools

Branché Jones

July 20, 2015


Photo from Sacramento Bee

On June 15th the California Legislature met their constitutional obligation and passed a budget on time, though it was a budget Governor Brown did not agree with.  The next day, the leaders of both houses announced a “compromise” with the Governor that was only $61 million dollars higher than the Governor’s May Revision, but finds additional spending capacity by identifying additional “cost savings” since the May Revision. Those funds are primarily used to help fund expansions in early learning.
The 2015-16 state general fund budget spends $115.4 billion, and also transfers $1.9 billion to the Rainy Day Fund reserve (increasing the reserve to a total of $3.5 billion). The budget assumes the 2015-16 Proposition 98 guarantee is $68.4 billion, which is $7.5 billion higher than the 2014-15 Budget Act guarantee and $2.1 billion higher than the revised 2014-15 guarantee. Following are some of the key K-12 education elements of the final budget deal:
Key K-12 Education Elements

  • $6 Billion for Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)
    • The 2015-16 Budget will appropriate an additional $5.994 billion for implementation of the LCFF.
  • $3.2 Billion in Discretionary One-Time Funds
    • The 2015-16 Budget appropriates about $3.8 billion in Proposition 98 K-14 funding as fully discretionary one-time funding that also counts to pay down the existing mandate backlog. Of this, $3.2 billion is allocated to K-12 and will be distributed on a per Average Daily Attendance (ADA) basis.  Districts, county offices and charter schools should receive a little more than $530 per ADA.
  • $897 million to eliminate remaining K-12 Deferrals
  • Early Learning and Child Care
    • The 2015-16 Budget will increase spending on preschool and child care (both CalWORKS and non-CalWORKs programs) by $423 million over 2014-15 Budget Act funding levels, with a little more than half of that increase funded within Proposition 98. Specifically, the Budget:
      • Provides funding for 4000 full-day State Preschool slots, 7030 full-day slots, 2500 part-day State Preschool slots with priority for children with disabilities, and provides 6,800 alternative payment program (voucher) slots.
      • Provides a five percent increase to the Standard Reimbursement Rate and a 4.5 percent increase to the Regional Market Rate (RMR).
      • Provides a cost-of-living adjustment for free and reduced price meals served at schools and child care centers.

Educator Effectiveness Training
The 2015-16 Budget includes $500 million in one-time funds for educator effectiveness. Of that amount:

  • $490 million is provided for school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and special schools in an equal amount per certificated staff in the 2014-15 fiscal year.  The funding is very flexible and can be used for any number of things that benefit teachers.
  • $10 million is provided to the K-12 High Speed Network to provide professional development and training related to network management and infrastructure.

As a condition of receiving funds, local educational agencies must develop and adopt a plan for expenditure of funds. Funds may be expended through the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Career Technical Education and ROC/Ps
The 2015-16 Budget establishes the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program, a competitive grant program administered by the CDE to provide support for career technical education in grades 7-12.  The program provides $400 million in 2015-16, $300 million in 2016-17, and $200 million in 2017-18 for competitive grants in three size (i.e., ADA) related spans (0-140, 140-550, over 550 average daily attendance).
Adult Education Block Grant 
The Budget establishes the Adult Education Block Grant program and appropriates $500 million for adult education services provided through regional consortia. The State Superintendent and Chancellor of the Community Colleges jointly approve consortia, including governance structures and funding allocations, with the advice of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education. Of this total funding the appropriation to school district adult education programs, based on the maintenance-of-effort certification, is capped at $375 million.  The remainder of the funding will be allocated to consortia or consortia members by the Superintendent and Chancellor, with the concurrence of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education. The language also specifies that joint powers agencies may participate as adult education consortia members and that older adults may access programs that relate to employment or helping children succeed in elementary and secondary education.
Other K-12 Items
The 2015-16 Budget also:

  • Provides $50 million to the K-12 High Speed Network to facilitate technology infrastructure improvements according to a tiered priority structure that focuses on LEAs lacking sufficient internet capacity to administer state assessments.
  • Appropriates $273 million to the School Facilities Emergency Repair Account, to fulfill the terms of the Williams v. State of California settlement.
  • Provides $67 million ($63 million Prop 98 and $4 million federal funds) for a package of special education-related activities, with the largest increase for expanding services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.
  • Provides $40 million to fund a 1.02% COLA for the remaining K-12 categorical programs that receive COLAs.
  • Provides a $10 million augmentation of the Foster Youth Services program which, among other things, covers foster youth living with their relatives, and specifies that funds appropriated for the foster youth services program are intended to expand eligibility that aligns program requirements to reflect the establishment of the Local Control Funding Formula.
  • Extends the deadline for the State Board of Education to adopt evaluation rubrics for one year, to October 1, 2016.
  • Establishes homeless students as a subgroup for purposes of the unduplicated pupil counts used in Local Control and Accountability Plans.
  • Shifts transportation funding that has gone to home-to-school joint powers agencies (JPAs) to the agencies’ member school districts, but includes authority for the JPAs to continue to operate and administer the program.
  • Permits students who will turn five years old after the eligibility window for Transitional Kindergarten to be enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten before they turn five years old, but does not allow them to general ADA under certain circumstances.
  • Removes grade spans for pupil-to-teacher ratios in independent study programs and requires calculations of the ratios to be based on average daily attendance rather than enrollment.
  • Extends the encumbrance period for funding for the second cohort of the Career Pathways Trust program for one additional year from 2014-15 through the 2016-17 fiscal year.
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