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Revenue Report Sets Stage for Governor’s May Revision

Since the Governor’s release of his January Budget, we have been keeping a close eye on monthly (and during April, daily) tax receipts received by State Controller Betty Yee.  This morning Controller Yee released information about month-to-month receipts to-date for the 2016-17 FY.  As we have seen all along these month-to-month receipts have been highly volatile with some months coming in above projections (e.g., November and January) and others below projections (e.g., July and December). The month of April, just reported by the Controller, continues that volatility. 

Receipts on each of the “Big 3” taxes (Personal Income Tax, Sales and Use Tax and Corporation Tax) for April were below the levels projected last June in the 2016-17 Budget Act. This was particularly the case with the Personal Income Tax, where April receipts were 5.3% below those projections.  In the prior year, nearly 17% of Personal Income Tax receipts for the year were received in April.  

To date total revenues received by the state are $1.83 billion below last summer’s budget estimates and about $211 million below the revised projections presented by the Governor in January.  Even though there are still 2 months remaining in the current FY and more revenues to be received by the state (especially June when state estimated taxes are due), tax receipts in those months may have little impact on the 2017-18 Budget Act that will be sent to the Governor by June 15th.  All of this solidifies our expectation that tomorrow, when the Governor releases his May Revision of the budget, he will stay the course with respect to the revenue projections on which he based his January Budget.  

We will be providing you with a first look at that May Revision tomorrow afternoon, and will be providing a fuller analysis in the Budget Perspective Workshops that we will conduct around the state over the next three weeks.  For the locations and dates of those workshops, go to our website at http://capitoladvisors.org and click on Workshops.

Gerry Shelton
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

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School Facilities Update – Level III Developer Fees Authorized

After initially issuing a restraining order to temporarily halt the SAB action to authorize Level III Developer Fees, the Superior Court on August 22 issued a final ruling denying CBIA’s request for a preliminary injunction and terminated the temporary restraining order.  Authorized districts may now levy Level III fees.

The dispute was focused on the definition of when the SAB could declare when the School Facilities Program was out of money.  The developers argued that since there were still programs with available dollars (Seismic Mitigation Program), the state was not out of money.  Ultimately, the court decided that the SAB could make this determination when they are no longer able to apportion the entire next project on the Unfunded List.   This has occurred.

Apparently, If Prop 51 passes in November, the SFP will again be funded.  Witnesses have stated at a recent SAB meeting that once the Level III fees are authorized there is no mechanism to rescind this action. We will participate in this and other discussions on this recent court action.

More to come…

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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Facilities Update – State Allocation Board Meeting (August 17, 2016)

The State Allocation Board met this week to discuss and decide several important issues.

  • The Board adopted regulations that authorize OPSC staff to determine whether a historical building may qualify for replacement funding, even though the funds will go towards rehabilitating the historical building.
  • The Department of Finance audited OPSC’s administration of Proposition 1D Bond Funds. The findings and recommendations are available here.
  • The next Priority Funding round will open on November 9, 2016 and close December 8, 2016.

A detailed summary of these issues is attached, as well as the Status of Funds pages from the SAB agenda. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 17, 2016.

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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School Facilities Update – – Stakeholder Meeting – Definition of Historical Buildings

Because of a series recent school district appeals to the State Allocation Board regarding funding for historical buildings, last week OPSC convened a meeting of stakeholders to obtain information for the development of regulations on this issue.  Click link below for a summary of the meeting.

Historical Buildings 7-14-16

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

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July SBE Hearing – Major Changes in Accountability, Assessment, and Curriculum

Evaluations Rubrics Top Level Display
July SBE Hearing - Major Changes in Accountability, Assessment, and Curriculum

ACCOUNTABILITY

Evaluation Rubrics

Day 1 of the SBE hearing focused largely on furthering the development of the evaluation rubrics. Presentation and Board discussion of the item alone lasted nearly four hours. In addition, there was public testimony from over 200 people.

While a number of actions were taken during this meeting, the evaluation rubrics continue to be a work in progress.  The Board intends to approve the evaluation rubrics at the September 2016 hearing in order to meet the October 2016 statutory deadline. While the Board’s actions at the July hearing moved the rubric development forward substantially, it is also clear that work will need to continue beyond October. As part of the motion on the accountability item, the Board directed staff to develop, in advance of the September 2016 meeting, a proposed timeline through the end of the 2017 calendar year that addresses the further developmental work after approval of the initial phase of the evaluation rubrics, including, but not limited to:

  • the state and local indicators
  • standards for the state indicators and/or LCFF priorities
  • the statements of model practices, and the alignment of elements included in the ESSA state plan with the LCFF evaluation rubrics

College and Career Indicator (CCI)

The Board approved adding a measure of college and career readiness as a state indicator.

The College and Career Indicator (CCI) will combine Grade 11 test scores on English Language Arts (ELA) and Math and other measures of college and career readiness. The CCI will be also used to establish standards for State Priority 7 (Access to Broad Course of Study) and Priority 8 (Outcomes in a Broad Course of Study).

Because Grade 11 scores are now included in the CCI, the Board removed Grade 11 scores from the state indicator for student test scores on ELA and Math (Priority 4 – Pupil Achievement), that had been approved at the May 2016 Board meeting. This was done to avoid double-counting those test scores in two state indicators.

I have attached the draft model CCI proposed for your review. However, from the Board discussion, it was clear that modifications are coming. Staff will be reviewing alternative methodologies as well as responding to concerns from Member Rucker that more career readiness/preparation elements are needed and from Member Burr that the indicator is too “high school heavy.” Development of earlier indicators of readiness, particularly an 8th grade indicator of high school readiness, is likely. Staff will prepare a recommendation for the September 2016 Board meeting on the final technical specifications for the CCI.

Methodology

At the May 2016 SBE hearing, the Board approved a methodology for calculating performance as a combination of status and change for the state indicators in order to differentiate performance at the LEA and school levels, and for student subgroups. The state indicators currently are: Graduation Rate, Academic Indicator (based on test scores for ELA and Math), Suspension Rate by grade span, Progress of English Learners toward Proficiency, and College and Career Readiness. (The English Learner Indicator will incorporate reclassification rates and Long-Term English Learner [LTEL] data as it becomes available).

“Status” will be determined by the current year performance and “Change” is the difference between the performance of the first year and the prior year or between the current year and a multi-year average (for example, current graduation rate and the three-year average). Both will be equally weighted to make an overall determination for a “Performance Category,” that will be represented by a color, for each indicator.

At the July hearing, the Board approved a methodology for establishing standards for the remaining state priorities:

  • Priority 1 (Appropriately Assigned Teachers, Access to Curriculum-Aligned Instructional Materials, and Safe, Clean and Functional School Facilities)
  • Priority 2 (Implementation of State Academic Standards)
  • Priority 3 (Parent Engagement)
  • County Office of Education (COE) Priority 9 (Coordination of Services for Expelled Students)
  • COE Priority 10 (Coordination of Services for Foster Youth)

While still a work in progress, the methodology structure would include the evidence for assessing progress relative to the standard and the criteria that LEAs would use to assess progress toward meeting the standard (Met/Not Met/Not Met for Two or More Years). The goal of this approach is to emphasize the importance of these priorities and to establish a baseline of locally-reported data to inform future policy actions.

The Board also approved the inclusion of a standard for the use of local climate surveys to support a broader assessment of performance on Priority 6 (School Climate) beyond suspension. The Board is going to establish a working group to assist with development of additional means for assessing school climate; however, for the first year, the Healthy Kids Survey will be used.

Rubric Design

The rubrics will include the following additional components:

Top-Level Summary Data Display – A summary report for use by LEAs and schools illustrating performance relative to the standards established for all LCFF Priorities. The display includes a narrative section where indicator results can be explained and an Equity Report, which will identify instances where any student subgroup is in the two lowest performance categories (currently Red or Orange) on a state indicator. A proposed draft is attached for your review; however, there were a number of questions concerning the display, and, in particular, the Equity Report, which suggest further refinement is needed.

Data Analysis Tool – Users will be able to generate more detailed data reports that include both state and local indicators

Statements of Model Practices – Descriptions of research-supported and evidence-based practices that will correspond to the indicators from the data analysis tool. (Optional for use by LEAs)

Additional detail on the various pieces of the rubrics discussed at the Board hearing can be found here: Item 2

Revised LCAP Template

Staff provided an update on the work being done to redesign the LCAP template to align with the federal requirements under ESSA, and to be more user friendly. The new template will be a three-year inclusive plan. The revised template is seen as a vast improvement over the current template. However, some questions still remain, including whether the LCAP e-template will be mandated rather than optional, and whether all of the proposed additions are making the LCAP less of a plan and more of a compliance document.  The final version will be presented to the Board for approval at the September 2016 hearing. More detail can be found here: Item 03

ASSESSMENT

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System Update

California Alternate Assessment for Science

The Board approved the new conceptual design for the CA NGSS alternate assessment. The new assessment will be a collection of embedded performance tasks where tasks and assignments used to evaluate students are integrated with, or embedded in, classroom work. The new design will be used for the 2016-17 pilot administration of the assessment.

CAASPP Public Reporting Site

The redesigned CDE CAASPP page is scheduled to be released in August.

Interim Assessments

CDE will make available 11 new mathematics and 18 new ELA Interim Assessment Blocks in 2016-17. The 2016-17 school year interim assessments are expected to be available at the beginning of September.

CURRICULUM

History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, 2016

After almost six hours of staff presentation, public comment (over 320 people signed up to speak), and Board deliberation, the State Board of Education approved the History/Social Science Framework. This is the first revision of the framework since 2005.

The revised framework adds considerable information on financial literacy, voter education, civic learning, genocide, and the contributions of LGBT Americans and people with disabilities to the history of California and the United States.

The Board also approved the proposed timeline, as well as the online application draft that will be used to recruit applicants to serve as reviewers, for the 2017 History–Social Science Instructional Materials Adoption.

More information on the framework, timeline, and the reviewer application can be found here: Item 07

Proposed Regulations – Courses without Content

Assembly Bill (AB) 1012 (Jones-Sawyer), Chapter 703, Statutes of 2015, prohibits a school district that serves any grades 9 to 12, from assigning students to a “course without educational content” for more than one week in any semester, and prohibits the assignment of any student to a course that the student has previously completed and received a satisfactory grade, unless specified conditions are met.

Effective beginning the 2016–17 school year, AB 1012 requires a principal or assistant principal to state in a written document to be maintained at the applicable school that, for the relevant school year, no students are assigned to courses without educational content or previously completed courses unless the school has met the specified conditions.

AB 1012, also requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop regulations for adoption by the Board of regarding the procedures governing placement of pupils in the aforementioned courses, including the form of the written statement.

Lee Angela Reid, Senior Legislative Advocate
CAPITOL ADVISORS GROUP

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Crucial Legislative Hurdle for Key Bills Today

Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committee Actions

Today, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees acted on a number of major K-12 education bills. Of particular interest are the actions taken on key education legislation in the areas of accountability and assessment, early education, human resources, and teacher shortage and support.

In total, the committees addressed 730 bills on their “suspense files.” Bills are placed on the suspense file by the Senate when costs exceed $50,000 (General Fund) and by the Assembly when costs exceed $150,000 (General Fund). Today’s committee actions reflect the winners and losers in terms of members working to reduce the cost of their proposals and/or securing enough political support to keep their bills moving. The just under 460 bills that passed out of committee will now head to the Senate and Assembly floors for debate and action. Bills held by the committee today are effectively dead for the year, pending extraordinary politics to secure rule waivers.

Below, we have highlighted actions on some of the major education measures (bill titles are linked to the full text of the bill). We have also attached a list of actions on the remaining K-12 education bills, sorted by subject area.

The summaries we provide describe the legislation prior to any amendments taken today. Also, the amendments indicated are anticipated, as actual language and full detail have not yet been provided.

Following is a review of actions taken on some of the major K-12 education bills:

ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

The high number of bills related to accountability and assessment reflects the Legislature’s concern over the degree of local flexibility provided and the perceived lack of input- or compliance-based measures currently included in the state’s new accountability system.

AB 2548 - Weber (D): School Accountability System

This bill requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt a statewide accountability system aligned to California's local framework and that satisfies the federal accountability system requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Among other things, the SBE would be required to use data from key indicators (addressed in the bill).

Action: Passed with amendments to limit the bill’s scope (striking Sections 2 through 5)

AB 2680 - Bonilla (D): Parent, Guardian, Pupil, and Family Engagement Support

This bill requires local education agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement a strategic plan to address parent engagement, subject to one-time funding being provided in the budget act.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 2698 - Weber (D): School Climate: Assessments

Requires low-achieving schools to conduct a school climate assessment. Requires the results to be posted on the schools' Internet Web site and other notifications, and prohibits personal identifications. Requires the establishment of specific professional development activities in low-performing schools to provide a more competent and knowledgeable environment within such schools. Requires the Department of Education to post such assessments on its Internet Web site. Requires an advisory committee.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 871 - Liu (D): California Collaborative for Educational Excellence: Professional Development Training: Pilot Program

Requires the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to establish a statewide infrastructure to provide professional development training to local educational agencies (LEAs) to successfully implement forthcoming evaluation rubrics to be adopted by the State Board of Education (Board). Also requires the CCEE to implement a pilot program that will inform its long-term efforts to advise and assist LEAs in achieving the goals set forth in their local control and accountability plans (LCAP). Contingent upon funding provided in the budget or another enacted statute.

Action: Passed with amendments to encourage inclusion of stakeholders and make clarifying changes

SB 1050 - De Leon (D): Postsecondary Education: College Readiness

Establishes the K-12 College Readiness Block Grant, contingent upon funding provided by statute or the annual budget act, to provide one-time funding to K-12 districts to prepare high school pupils for admission to college. Requires the University of California develop and implement a plan and timeline for increasing the enrollment of resident students, especially those from high schools which have 75 percent or greater enrollment of students that are English learners, low-income, or foster youth.

Action: Passed

SB 1145 - Hueso (D): Language Arts: Reading: Diagnostic Tools and Plans

Requires public schools with less than 50 percent of 4th grade students demonstrating proficiency on English language arts standards to ensure that each student’s reading  proficiency is measured throughout the school year using a formative reading diagnostic tool. Also requires a reading plan, as specified, to be created for a student in grades 1-3 who is not at the appropriate developmental reading level for his or her grade.

Action: Held in Committee

EARLY EDUCATION

Although a top priority for the Assembly, its Appropriations Committee held the most significant bills related to early education. It appears, instead, that the Assembly will focus efforts on moving forward a comprehensive early education package through the budget process.

AB 2410 - Bonta (D): Early Learning: School Readiness

This bill establishes a 10-member advisory committee to develop recommendations for defining kindergarten readiness. This definition is intended to inform future efforts focused on child outcomes.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 2660 - McCarty (D): Early Education: Multiyear Plan

This bill establishes the Quality Early Education and Development Act of 2016, and requires the California Department of Education (CDE), on or before January 1, 2018, to submit a multi-year plan for providing access to high quality prekindergarten programs to the Legislature and the Department of Finance.

Action: Held in Committee

HUMAN RESOURCES

The heightened focus on and attention to poverty, the working middle class, and election year politics are illustrated by the number of significant and wide-ranging bills related to human resources acted upon and, in most cases, approved in committee today. Earlier this year, the Governor and Legislature approved legislation to increase the minimum wage, further exemplifying this commitment to such issues.

AB 1878 - Jones-Sawyer (D): Retirement System: School Members: Death Benefit

This bill increases the postretirement death benefit paid to the beneficiary of a school member of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) from $2,000 to not less than $5,000, starting on January 1, 2017, and authorizes the CalPERS Board of Administration to adjust the death benefit after each actuarial valuation based on changes in the All Urban California Consumer Price Index.

Action: Passed with amendments to remove the increased death benefit amount

AB 2197 - Garcia (D): Unemployment Insurance: Classified Employees

This bill allows classified school employees to collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits between school years.

Action: Passed with amendments to make the bill contingent upon an appropriation in the budget

AB 2405 - Gatto (D): Employment: Employees: Time Off

Requires an employer to annually provide at least 24 hours of paid, job-protected time off for the purposes of absence under the Family School Partnership Act, unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement.

Action: Passed with amendments to provide 8 hours of paid time off

SB 1166 - Jackson (D): Unlawful Employment Practice: Parental Leave

Establishes the New Parent Leave Act, making it an unlawful employment practice for specified employers to refuse to allow specified employees to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement, and prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave.

Action: Passed

TEACHER SHORTAGE AND SUPPORT

In response to the growing public awareness and detrimental impact of the state’s increasing teacher shortage, several state budget proposals, as well as over twenty bills, have been introduced this legislative session. Several of the most notable measures were acted upon today.

AB 1756 - Bonilla (D): Teacher Credentialing: Professional Preparation

This bill establishes a grant program at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to assist postsecondary institutions with implementation or transition to an integrated program of professional preparation. These programs allow a student to earn a bachelor's degree and a multiple or single subject teaching credential, including student teaching requirements, concurrently within a four or five year period.

Action: Passed

AB 2122 - McCarty (D): Classified School Employee Teacher Credential Program

This bill re-establishes the Paraprofessional Teacher Training Program (“PTTP”) as the “California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.” The purpose of the original PTTP (established in 1990) was to create local career ladders that enable school paraprofessionals (teacher assistants, library, media aides, and instructional assistants) to become certificated classroom teachers in K-12 public schools. This bill differs from the original PTTP in two ways. First, it increases the grant amount for participants from $3,500 to $4,000. Second, all classified employees, not just paraprofessionals, are eligible to participate in the program.

Action: Passed with technical amendments

AB 2200 - Thurmond (D): School Employee Housing Assistance Grant Program

Requires California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to administer a program to provide financing assistance to qualified school districts and qualified developers for the creation of affordable rental housing for school districts employees, including teachers. Only school districts with a high average cost for recruiting teachers, a low retention rate, and with 60% of their students participating in the National School Lunch Program would be eligible. This bill appropriates $100 million from the General Fund to fund the program and allows for reimbursements to affected agencies and departments.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 2401 - O'Donnell (D): Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System

Makes an appropriation of an unspecified amount from the General Fund to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the 2016-17 fiscal year to fund the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System. Requires the allocation made to a school district or consortium of school districts for each beginning teacher participating in a local teacher induction program to be adjusted each fiscal year by a specified inflation factor.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 915 - Liu (D): Teacher Recruitment: Center on Teaching Careers

Reestablishes the California Center on Teaching Careers (Center) to recruit individuals into the teaching profession. Specifically, bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), subject to an appropriation, to contract with a local educational agency to administer the program, with the concurrence of various institutions of higher education.

Action: Passed with amendments to change the administering entity and make clarifying changes

SB 933 - Allen (D): Teachers: Teacher Corps Act of 2016: Teacher Residency

Establishes the California Teacher Act of 2016, a grant program to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in establishing and maintaining teacher residency programs. Contingent upon funding provided in the budget or another enacted statute.

Action: Passed with amendments to allocate funding for the grant program and make clarifying changes

SB 1413 - Leno (D): School Districts: Employee Housing

Authorizes a school district to establish and implement programs that address the housing needs of teachers and school district employees who face challenges in securing affordable housing.

Action: Passed

OTHER KEY BILLS

AB 1572 - Campos (D): School Transportation

This bill requires a public, noncharter school, to provide free transportation to a pupil attending a school that receives Title 1 federal funding.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 2120 - Weber (D): Public Utilities Commission: Proceedings

Authorizes “intervenor compensation” for participation in the Public Utilities Commission proceedings for a county office of education, or a consortium of public school district or agencies participating or intervening on behalf of local K-12 educational agencies in such proceeding relating to gas or electricity rates. Requires that a representative of a consortium not have any direct financial interest in the proceeding resolution for specified time periods prior to and following any resolution.

Action: Passed

AB 2476 - Daly (D): Local Governments: Parcel Taxes: Notice

This bill requires a local agency, within one week following a legislative body's vote to place a proposed parcel tax on the ballot, to provide specified notice to all property owners affected by the tax.

Action: Passed with amendments to extend the notice requirement to 30 days, and to make the requirements of the bill only applicable to those property owners outside the local agency’s jurisdiction

AB 2663 - Cooper (D): After School Programs and Grant Amounts

Continuously appropriates $73.3 million for the After School Education and Safety program (ASES) beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal year (FY) and adjusts the appropriation annually thereafter based on the California Consumer Price Index (CA-CPI).

Action: Held in Committee

SB 1432 - Huff (R): Pupil Transfer Options; School Districts of Choice

Extends the sunset of the “school district of choice” program to July 1, 2022. Allows a 10 percent cap on the total number of students enrolled in a  district of choice at a point in time. Requires the Legislative Analyst’s office (LAO) to submit an evolution of the program to the Legislature and the Governor. Reassigns certain reporting requirements to the SPI. Expands various oversight responsibilities to county superintendents.

Action: Passed with amendments to remove mandated costs and make clarifying changes

Kevin Gordon, Caitlin Jung, Derick Lennox, and Nick Romley contributed to this update.

Lee Angela Reid, Senior Legislative Advocate
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

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CBIA Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) request granted

CBIA v State Allocation Board

At surprisingly break-neck speed, CBIA yesterday obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the State Allocation Board – including all others acting in concert with them.

The TRO prohibits implementation of Level 3 fees and giving notice of any determination that state funds for new school construction is not available, or sending the notice to the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate.  In addition, no action may be taken in furtherance  of any determination as to the availability of state funds.  Finally, the Court also prohibited them from purporting to authorize the imposition of Level 3 school fees. A full copy of the TRO is attached.

CBIA TRO request grantedThe Court set a hearing date for a preliminary injunction for July 1, when the Court will hear whether it should extend the prohibition until a full trial may be had on the matter.

Susan Stuart, Partner, Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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School Facilities Update: Legislature Sizes Up November Bond

On Wednesday afternoon, a joint legislative committee had a robust conversation about the school facilities bond slated for the November 2016 ballot. After an overview on current law, legislators raised critical issues regarding the state’s School Facilities Program and whether the benefits of the $9 billion bond will outweigh its potential costs. Scroll down to read our recap of the discussion.

The joint informational hearing was led by the chairs of the Senate Committee on Education, and Assembly Committees on Education and Higher Education. Click here to view the committee’s background materials.

  • Overview & Background

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) presented an overview of the traditional sources of public infrastructure funding, namely voter-approved general obligation (GO) bonds. Click here to read the LAO’s overview.

Since 1998, California has raised approximately $35.5 billion through state GO bonds and another $68 billion locally (see LAO, p. 7). For K-12, however, state level GO bonds were essentially exhausted in 2012 – six years after the most recent bond campaign. Other financing sources available to school districts include parcel taxes and developer fees.

The LAO further explained that the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 School Facilities Program (SFP) approves and distributes state facilities funding using the State Allocation Board (SAB). The background materials also includes a summary of the program written by the Office of Public School Construction.

  • The November Bond Initiative

The $9 billion bond (which maintains the current provisions of the SFP for the K-12 portion of the initiative) was the main event. As proponents of the initiative, the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) and California Building Industry Association (CBIA) spoke in favor of the bond.

Jenny Hannah, Chair of CASH, characterized the bond as an equity issue, where rural and less wealthy districts often do not possess the financial resources available to larger, wealthier districts to raise local school construction revenues. For every $1 billion spent on school facilities, she argued, 13,000 local jobs are created.

  • Questions & Criticisms from Legislators

Most—if not all—of the legislators present supported the initiative. They were nevertheless critical of how the current system is working for schools. Here are some select questions and responses:

Will the bond meet the demand for new construction? While actual need is not known, the SAB has approved about $300 million in projects within a pipeline that includes nearly $2 billion in requests. The current state process does not gather any information about the number of existing facilities, the condition of those facilities, nor the potential demand for additional facilities.

What are the problems with the current SFP? Virtually everyone agreed the SFP has evolved into a complicated funding process. Department of Finance representatives noted the following: (1) the 130 pages of regulations render compliance costly and complex; (2) a first-come, first-served process disadvantages small school districts without dedicated staff; (3) debt service is onerous for the state.

Can we change the current SFP rules if the bond passes? The initiative requires the current SFP statutory rules (as they existed on Jan. 1, 2015) to remain in place for all $9 billion. SAB regulations that implement the statute, however, may be changed, and so may the other laws not found in the Leroy Greene section of code.

How will the bond alter the state’s total debt service costs? The November bond would increase debt service costs by $500 million per year, which will raise the state’s overall cost to $5.8 billion annually. In sum, the state’s cost is $17.6 billion over the 35-year life of the bond, assuming a five-percent interest rate. The debt service for K-12 and community college facilities bonds accounts for 2.1 percent of the General Fund.

How do we measure whether SFP funds are spent “effectively” on projects? We have no diagnostic tool to measure, nor a definition for, “effective” spending. Do we mean project quality? A link to student achievement? Incentivizing new housing? Most local bonds are overseen by an advisory board.

The governor does not support the initiative – what is his alternative? Even though the Department of Finance’s representatives stopped short of stating the Governor’s opposition to the bond, they did expressed concern with the current SFP program and advocated for increasing priority to poorer schools and prioritizing facilities with health and safety issues. They proposed (as they have in prior years) that a district’s funding amount should be based on a sliding scale that considers the district’s per pupil assessed valuation. They also discussed expanding “local tools,” e.g., increasing the districts’ bonding capacity by raising the assessed valuation caps from 1.25 percent and 2.5 percent, and raising local tax valuation rates from the current $30 per $100,000 and $60 per $100,000 per home. (The Governor had expressed interest in exploring a June bond alternative to the November initiative earlier this year, but the resulting legislative proposal failed to move.)

Since this was an informational hearing, the Legislature took no action and made no recommendations. Participants were generally supportive of the November bond and, at different times in the hearing, posed questions about amending the SFP model, should the November bond fail. Clearly, there were no answers to these queries. We do not expect further legislative hearings and discussions on this issue until after the November bond elections.

Prepared by Susan Stuart, Richard Gonzalez, and Derick Lennox.

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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Your Input on State Accountability System Development

Draft LCFF Evaluation Rubrics Data
Graphic Annual Interaction Graphic
FINAL Flow Chart One Pager Legislative Hearing

We want to make you aware of an important opportunity to provide input on the development of the state’s school accountability system.

As you know, the State Board of Education is currently in the process of attempting to develop a single, coherent accountability system that aligns local, state, and federal requirements and consists of multiple measures. The Board is also in the process of revising the LCAP template to incorporate the new federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In order to accomplish both well, the Board recognizes that they must actively involve the field.

Attached are some documents created by the Board’s staff to provide an opportunity for your input, including any questions or comments you would like shared with the Board. The documents relate to the proposed architecture of the accountability system, key and local indicators, and revisions to the LCAP Template. The documents are also provided as an update on the current process in the event that you choose not to send us feedback at this time.

System Architecture 

Attached are two graphics for your review. The first illustrates the proposed structure of a single coherent system. The second depicts the annual interaction envisioned between the LCAP, the Evaluation Rubrics, and the Assistance and Support Process. While we recognize these graphics are quite general, we are interested in any feedback regarding the structure of the accountability system and the proposed process to move from LCAPs to evaluation to possible assistance and support.  More specifically, is the suggested timeline for LCAP/Annual Update through completing the Evaluation Rubric workable?

Key Indicators

ESSA requires that states use a minimum of five indicators for accountability purposes and identifies three of the five indicators that must be used: student test scores, progress of English learners toward English language proficiency, and high school graduation rate. As California’s state education agency, SBE must select at least two additional indicators under ESSA: another academic indicator for K-8 and one other indicator (which can be non-academic) that applies to all grades.

Below are the options currently under consideration. To be considered, an indicator must meet the following criteria: have data that is currently collected and available for use at the state level using a consistent definition, that can be disaggregated to the school and subgroup level, and is supported by research as a valid measure.

Additional K-8 Indicator

  • Middle School Dropout Rate
    • LCFF statutes refer to “dropout rates for pupils who drop out of school while enrolled in grade 8 or 9.” Because the definition includes grade 9, it is not clear if it would be an appropriate K-8 indicator
  • Composite Index of Two Indicators for Proficiency on Grade 3 reading and Grade 8 Math
    • It is suggested that this index would illustrate whether students are on track to be "College and Career Ready”

One Other Indicator

  • Williams Settlement Legislation Requirements
    • Note: the underlying legal standards from the Williams settlement legislation do not apply to charter schools unless they have opted in
  • College and Career Ready
    • Must contain multiple measures
  • Suspension Rate
    • Local suspension policies and practices vary, so there is some question about comparability
  • Chronic Absence is a candidate for inclusion as a key indicator in the future, pending verification of the quality and reliability of the underlying data after state-level collection begins

Do you have preferences among the options listed above, and/or specific concerns with any of the options?  Do you have suggestions for other options that meet the criteria noted above and would be better key indicators?

Local Indicators

The Board is also considering how best to incorporate local data into the Evaluation Rubrics and is seeking specific recommendations regarding potential data indicators. Attached for your review is a draft metric selection tool the Board will be reviewing which includes possible local metric options related to each of the eight state priorities. Which indicators/metrics do you believe make the most sense in terms of assessing progress towards intended outcomes or objectives related to the eight priorities?  If you have more general concerns about the Board’s approach to Evaluation Rubrics, please share those concerns with us as well.

LCAP Template Revisions

With the passage of ESSA, the LCAP template must now be modified to incorporate the new federal requirements. The Board is taking the opportunity to consider what, if any, other changes should be made. You have likely just finished, or are in the process of finalizing, your proposed LCAP for 2016-17. Recognizing that major revisions would require legislative action and, therefore, are not likely an option in the near future, what changes could the Board make to the template to make it more usable and less time-consuming?  Please share other general observations or concerns with the LCAP template and the LCAP/Annual Update development and implementation process.

Lee Angela Reid, Senior Legislative Advocate
Capitol Advisors Group

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Both Prop 30 Extension and K-14 School Facilities Bond Initiative Polling Well for November

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released their recent survey which queried adults and eligible voters on their willingness to support two initiatives on the November, 2016 ballot.  Both the K-14 facilities bond and the extension of the Prop 30 temporary taxes polled better than the previous initiatives on the same topics.  And both initiatives polled well when tested on the same ballot.

The survey tested other subjects as well, including knowledge of the LCFF, job approval of the Governor,  performance of K-12 education, and impression of Common Core.  The results of the survey are below, but some key findings of the survey are:

  • Although state spending on schools has increased, 61 percent of adults and 60 percent of likely otters say the current level of funding is not enough
  • 64 percent of adults and 62 percent of likely voters favor extending Prop 30 tax increases for 12 years for those making over $250,000 a year to fund education and health care
  • 76 percent of adults and 63 percent of likely voters would vote yes for a state school facilities bond
  • For parcel taxes, less than the two-thirds (62 percent) of likely voters (needs two-thirds vote) would support, and only 52% or likely voters would support lowering the two thirds majority threshold
  • 76 percent of adults say state government should fund voluntary preschool programs in CA, and 63 percent of adults would support using the surplus for preschool, while only 34 percent would prefer to pay down the state debt and build up a reserve

CLICK HERE

Susan Stuart,Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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