January Budget Proposal
On February 7th, ACOE was a part of a coalition letter opposing a retroactive cut of $1.2 billion to the Arts, Music and Instructional Materials Discretionary Block Grant (Block Grant) funding that was included in the 2022 Budget Act. Specific funding allocations to LEAs for the Block Grant were announced in September of 2022, and since then local education leaders have worked with their communities to develop budget priorities and statutorily required plans, based in part on the availability of these funds. The Block Grant provided discretionary funding to LEAs and the Education Omnibus Budget Trailer bills (AB 181/185, Chapters 52 and 571, Statutes of 2022) authorized LEAs to use the funds for operational costs and Covid-19 safety related costs, in addition to those related to arts, music and instructional materials. Some of the purposes for which Block Grant funds have already been invested include hiring incentives, pension obligations, employee salaries and health benefits, safety infrastructure, and COVID-related septic mitigation. The allowable uses of Proposition 28 are very different from the Block Grant. The funding approved by California voters may not be used for many of the purposes currently planned to be funded by the Block Grant. For these reasons, ACOE respectfully opposes the proposed reduction to the Arts, Music and Instructional Materials Block Grant. Click here to read the coalition opposition letter.
On March 31st, ACOE was a part of a letter in response to the Governor's budget proposals regarding Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK). The letter applauded the Governor for fulfilling his commitment to rebench the Proposition 98 guarantee by providing $690 million in additional funding to support the expansion of TK for children turning 5 years old. The letter had three recommendations: delay implementation of the 24 ECE unit coursework requirement to 2025-26, reject the proposed new educational requirements for paraprofessionals in TK classrooms, provide sufficient Proposition 98 funding and transition time to implement lower ratios. Click here to read the coalition letter.
On March 24th, ACOE sent a letter in response to the Governor's proposed TK-12 Education Budget. The letter focuses on the areas of Whole-Child approaches, Differentiated Assistance (DA), LCAP, the Equity Multiplier, LCFF, and the education workforce. We support efforts made to provide students with the full range of services and support needed to succeed and fill achievement gaps. Most notably, we applaud the Administration's continued investment in Whole-Child approaches and the education workforce, as well as the intent of the Equity Multiplier. We encourage the Legislature and Administration to develop an approach that addresses the issues raised in AB 2774 (Weber, 2022) - African American/Black and Native American students continue to have disproportionately low education outcomes. We also support the proposed expansions to DA such as extending DA to two years and including DA work in the LCAP Plan Summary. However, we oppose proposals that make additional support punitive or unnecessarily increase administrative burden. This includes making eligible for DA any district or COE that fails to submit their CALPADS data by deadline, the mid-year LCAP report, and the proposed LCAP requirement to change actions that are deemed "ineffective." Districts are working hard to improve student outcomes and need time to implement their existing plans. Click here to read the full budget letter.
May Revise and Final Budget Negotiations
ACOE has been engaging in advocacy around three budget asks before the final budget is passed by June 15th:
- The Governor's May Revision of the state budget included $80 million for COE-run court and community schools based on the AB 906 formula. COE court and community schools serve students in juvenile detention; students who have been expelled or referred by probation or a Student Attendance Review Board; and pregnant and parenting students. COEs do not receive adequate funding, through existing funding models, to support these schools and the services these high-needs students require. For example, ACOE subsidizes 56% of court and community school costs with other funding sources. Enrollment in court and community schools fluctuates greatly, yet COEs have to maintain teachers, support staff, classrooms, and other infrastructure so that we can be responsive to influxes of students as needed. This additional $80 million will help ensure that these students continue to receive the quality programs and strong supports they need. Click here to read the Budget Alert ACOE signed on to.
- The Assembly has included language extending the Individualized County Childcare Pilot Plans, which allow key waivers for providers and increases child care access for low-income families. Alameda County is one of the pilot counties; we have had 100% child care provider participation in the pilot program and sharp increases in child care enrollment by low-income families as a result. Without a temporary extension, the current childcare pilots will sunset on July 1, 2023, which is several months before AB 1352 could be passed and signed and 1.5 to 2 years before the state could implement the statewide pilot process proposed by the bill. Click here to read the coalition letter. Although ACOE isn't on the letter, we are supporting the corresponding bill (AB 1352, Bonta).
- ACOE is concerned with the proposed cut of $400 million to the Golden State Pathways Program in the Senate budget. A cut of $400 million would nearly eliminate the program, which provides vital college and career pathways for our most marginalized students. This funding allows COEs and school districts to provide our students with college preparatory coursework, CTE programs, and opportunities to learn through real work experiences.
ACOE is supporting the following:
AB 483 (Muratsuchi): ACOE is strongly supporting AB 483, which would help schools use federal Medi-Cal funds to cover the cost of student health and mental health services through the Local Education Agency Billing Option Program (LEA BOP). As the result of punitive audits, arbitrary rules, and unreasonable documentation requirements, California schools receive only about $29 in Medi-Cal reimbursement per student, while other states like Michigan and New Jersey receive approximately $250 per student. AB 483 aims to solve that problem by requiring DHCS to reform the process by which it audits claims from the LEA BOP program. Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Committee on Health support letter and here to read ACOE's Senate Committee on Health support letter. Click here to read ACOE's letter to the Governor requesting the signing of AB 483.
AB 483 was signed into law on October 9.
AB 596 (Reyes)/SB 380 (Limon): ACOE is strongly supporting these companion bills which would transition childcare providers to a single cost-based reimbursement rate, suspend family fees until an equitable family fee schedule can be established, and fund providers using an enrollment based contract earning mechanism. California has been subsidizing the true cost of childcare by paying the early learning and childcare workforce low wages and expecting families to pay high family fees for subsidized childcare programs. Without affordable and available childcare parents cannot work. Providers are struggling to hire teachers due to low wages, childcare homes have been forced to close due to a lack of sufficient funding. And parents, particularly the most marginalized, struggle to afford childcare due to the high family fees. These bills aim to help stabilize the childcare sector and reduce costs to low-income families. Click here to read ACOE's AB 596 Senate Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's AB 596 Senate Human Services support letter. Click here to read ACOE's SB 380 Assembly Education support letter and here to read ACOE's SB 380 Assembly Human Services support letter.
AB 906 (Gipson): ACOE is strongly supporting California County Superintendents' advocacy efforts to bring a new funding formula to County Office of Education court and community schools, so that all 58 California counties have sufficient resources to meet the changing needs of court and community school students. The proposed funding formula supports the implementation of Senate Bill 823, also known as the realignment, to return young people in California's Division of Juvenile Justice facilities to county-based facilities and programs. Click here to read the coalition letter ACOE signed on to.
AB 915 (Arambula): ACOE is strongly supporting AB 915 which would establish a certificate-training program for young people by providing key methods on how to support a peer experiencing an overdose. We believe tackling the fentanyl crisis will require flexible policies that allow local districts and counties to determine how to best support their students. AB 915 provides local control and refrains from adding additional work to the already full workload of educators and school administrators while engaging students. Click here to read ACOE's Senate Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's Senate Health Committee support letter.
AB 1023 (Papan): ACOE is strongly supporting AB 1023 which would include local education agencies (LEAs) in the sharing of cyber threat information through the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC). It would also add the California Department of Education as a member of the Cal-CSIC. LEAs maintain sensitive data on staff, students, and families that could be compromised through cyberattacks. This bill would allow LEAs to be informed and prepare for cyber threats. It's a great first step in strengthening cybersecurity for California schools. Click here to read ACOE's Senate Governmental Organization Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's letter to the Governor requesting the signing of AB 1023 .
AB 1023 was signed into law on October 9.
AB 1352 (Bonta): ACOE is strongly supporting AB 1352, which would allow early learning and childcare (ELC) providers in all 58 counties to access regulatory flexibilities that maximize child care services for families, particularly low-income families. California established the Individualized County Childcare Pilot Plans in 2004 to test the benefits of providing regulatory flexibilities such as: 24-month eligibility for care, increased reimbursement rates for ELC providers in high-cost counties, and increased eligibility for families seeking housing. As one of the 13 pilot counties, Alameda County has had 100% provider participation in the pilot, resulting in increases in low-income family enrollment in child care. Despite California expanding many of the pilot flexibilities statewide, there are still many regulatory and programmatic barriers impeding implementation of universal pre-kindergarten and discouraging mixed-delivery collaborations. AB 1352 aims to solve that problem by inviting all 58 counties to collaborate with state agencies on solutions to those barriers and ensuring that agencies administering ELC programs can authorize pilot flexibilities. Click here to read ACOE's support letter and here to read ACOE's Assembly Appropriations Committee support letter. Click here to read ACOE's Senate Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's Senate Human Services support letter.
AB 1555 (Quirk-Silva): ACOE is strongly supporting AB 1555, which would provide a two-year extension for credentialed teachers working on their additional Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Credential. The existing 2023 deadline for TK teachers to complete 24 credit units or the equivalent places a large time demand on already overburdened teachers working full time. Extending the deadline would ease the burden on teachers and help retain our valued teacher workforce. Click here to read ACOE's Senate Education Committee support letter.
SB 10 (Cortese): ACOE is strongly supporting SB 10, which would expand statewide prevention and education efforts to combat the skyrocketing overdoses and fentanyl-related deaths that have plagued youth statewide by providing necessary intervention, increasing accessibility to resources and delivering valuable education and training services to protect our youth from fentanyl poisoning and overdoses. Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's Assembly Health Committee support letter. Click here to read ACOE's letter to the Governor requesting the signing of SB 10.
SB 10 was signed into law on October 13.
SB 274 (Skinner): ACOE is supporting SB 274, which seeks to improve student success rates, create a more supportive academic environment, and encourage schools to consider alternatives to suspensions and expulsions, by eliminating the "willful defiance" sunset for middle school students and extending the prohibition of those suspensions to high school students. Ending willful defiance suspensions for all public school children recognizes the unique developmental vulnerabilities of youth, especially youth of color, and supports a school environment where every child has the opportunity to succeed. Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Education Committee support letter. Click here to read the ACOE's letter requesting the signing of SB 274.
SB 274 was signed into law on October 8.
SB 333 (Cortese): ACOE is strongly supporting SB 333 which would establish a statewide guaranteed income pilot program to provide approximately 15,000 12th grade students experiencing homelessness with direct cash assistance to support their transition out of high school and their access to employment and postsecondary education. The summer following high school graduation is a critical time for youth. During this transition period, youth lose the robust support system provided by schools. For youth experiencing homelessness, the transition to adulthood and becoming responsible for their own care and well-being can be incredibly challenging due to unstable housing conditions and unmet basic needs. Research tells us that direct cash transfers, such as guaranteed income, can play a crucial role in helping youth to sustainably exit homelessness. Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's Assembly Human Services Committee support letter.
SB 413 (Bradford): ACOE is strongly supporting SB 413, which would authorize, under certain circumstances, county boards of education in class 1 or class 2 counties to extend to 60 days, from 30, the time period within which the board must make a determination on an interdistrict transfer appeal. Alameda County is a class 2 county. The extended timeline provides parents and guardians more time to prepare for the complex appeals process they face when seeking to transfer their children to a different school district. The extension also allows COEs and County Boards more flexibility in processing every case. Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Education Committee support letter and here to read the coalition letter ACOE signed on to. Click here to read the ACOE's letter requesting the signing of SB 413.
SB 413 was signed into law on October 8.
SB 765 (Portantino): ACOE is strongly supporting SB 765 which would provide an immediate tool for local educational agencies (LEAs) to use to address staffing shortages. The bill would waive the 180-day mandatory waiting period LEAs must observe before hiring a recently retired teacher and would temporarily increase the CalSTRS post-retirement compensation limit from 50 to 70 percent. There are not enough individuals entering the teaching profession to counteract the number of teachers leaving the workforce. We support this effort to supply needed retirement supports that help remove barriers to addressing short-term staffing needs .Click here to read ACOE's Assembly Education Committee support letter and here to read ACOE's Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee support letter. Click here to read the ACOE's letter requesting the signing of SB 765.
SB 765 was signed into law on October 13.
ACOE is opposing the following:
AB 1699 (McCarty): ACOE opposes AB 1699, which would require education employers to offer first right of refusal to current employees, based on seniority, not the highest qualifications for the job, if the employee meets the minimum qualifications for the position or would meet the minimum qualifications with up to 10 hours of training. In light of the current education staffing shortage, ACOE is opposed to this bill because it would inhibit local education agencies' ability to make the best staffing decisions for their needs. Click here to read the Senate Labor Committee coalition oppose letter and here to read the the Senate Appropriations Committee coalition oppose letter, both signed by the ACOE. The bill has passed by the legislature and is now on the Governor’s Desk. Click here to read the veto-request coalition letter that the ACOE has signed and here to read the ACOE's own opposition letter to the Governor.
AB 1699 was vetoed by the Governor on October 7.
ACOE previously held positions on:
SB 88 (Skinner): ACOE opposed SB 88, which is intended to increase child safety for all types of motor vehicle transport to and from school and for school-related events, a goal ACOE strongly supports. However, the bill as it was written would duplicate existing regulations imposed by the Public Utilities Commission on transportation network companies serving unaccompanied minors. The bill would thus impose additional costly and burdensome regulations on these companies. These extra regulations and associated costs would likely cause many of these already-regulated organizations to go out of business. Losing these organizations would impede ACOE's ability to provide safe and reliable transportation to our students. You can read the ACOE's Senate Education Committee oppose letter here, the ACOE's Senate Public Safety Committee oppose letter here, and the Senate Appropriation Committee coalition oppose letter here. Click here to read the coalition letter that ACOE signed. However, given that the bill author (Sen. Skinner) has made significant amendments to address these concerns, the ACOE no longer opposes SB 88. You can read the neutral coalition letter the ACOE joined here.
SB 88 was signed into law on October 7.
AB 1637 (Irwin): ACOE opposed AB 1637, which would require local agencies to secure and utilize their website through a new .gov or ca.gov domain no later than January 1, 2025. It would also require all employee email addresses to reflect the updated domain within the same time frame. While we appreciated the intended goal of this bill, we were concerned about the significant cost and administrative burden associated with migrating to a new domain and corresponding email address. ACOE joined this coalition letter to the Assembly Committee on Local Government. Assemblymember Irwin accepted amendments to remove local education agencies from the mandate. ACOE is pleased with these amendments and dropped opposition.
AB 1637 was signed into law on October 8.
SB 739 (Alvarado-Gil): ACOE opposed SB 739, which would have removed the January 1, 2026 sunset on the use of "verified data" and required all charter schools whose term expires on or between January 1, 2024 and June 30, 2027 to have their term extended by an additional two years. ACOE believed SB 739 would have created an inequitable accountability structure in which school districts and charter schools are held to different accountability standards. Additionally, delaying renewal dates and extending the use of verified data would have created significant administrative burdens for ACOE and all county offices of education that provide academic, operational, and fiscal oversight to charter schools in their counties. ACOE submitted this oppose letter to the Senate Education Committee and provided testimony at the April 26th hearing. Senator Alvarado-Gil accepted amendments that allow a one-year automatic renewal instead of two years and removed verified data language. ACOE is pleased with these amendments and dropped opposition.
ACOE proposed amendments to:
AB 1078 (Jackson): ACOE met with the bill author’s office, the Governor’s legislative deputies, and State Board of Education (SBE) legislative staff to propose amendments to AB 1078. ACOE supported the intent of the bill to prevent book banning in public schools but expressed concerns regarding lack of clarity in the bill language related to implementation at the COE level. Additionally, ACOE expressed concern regarding the COE’s responsibility to publicly post the names of district Board members who fail to address textbook insufficiencies. ACOE created this document highlighting concerns with specific bill language and used it to advocate for amendments to the bill. ACOE was pleased that the requirement to publicly name Board members was removed in the amended version of the bill.
AB 1078 was signed into law on September 25.
SB 326 (Eggman): ACOE joined a coalition in proposing amendments to SB 326. This bill would reform the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) which was created in 2004 after voters in California passed Proposition 63, establishing a one percent income tax on personal income greater than $1 million per year to fund expansion of county mental health programs. SB 326 restructures MHSA funding categories, reduces county spending flexibility, and shifts the focus of funding to housing and substance use interventions. ACOE supports intervention to address these issues but is concerned that these proposed changes will undermine funding for prevention and youth-focused services. Click here to read the Senate Health Committee coalition letter outlining proposed amendments to address these concerns.
SB 326 was signed into law on October 12.
State Board of Education Advocacy
Updated List of Valid and Reliable Assessments
On May 12, ACOE signed on to a coalition letter expressing support for the California Department of Education’s (CDE) recommendations to the State Board of Education (SBE) regarding an updated list of valid and reliable assessments. The coalition urged the SBE to approve updates to the criteria to define verified data, the data use procedures related to verified data, and the academic progress indicators for inclusion within the approved data list.
Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Template and Instructions Update
On September 8, ACOE submitted a letter to the State Board of Education (SBE) providing feedback on the California Department of Education’s (CDE) proposed revisions to the LCAP template and instructions. ACOE expressed support for the SBE’s commitment to streamlining the LCAP to ensure that it is accessible to a wide range of audiences, including parents and community members. Additionally, ACOE proposed three changes to increase the readability of the LCAP. Click here to read the full letter. ACOE also signed on to a coalition letter expressing support for CDE’s proposed changes to streamline and simplify the LCAP. SBE reviewed the revision drafts and provided feedback at the September 2023 meeting. As a result of our advocacy, CDE staff updating the LCAP template have asked ACOE staff to 1) create mock-ups of our recommended improvements to the template and 2) work with CDE staff on next steps to streamline the LCAP.
Mental Health Billing Advocacy
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has released this Request for Information (RFI) to gather information and solicit input from Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) regarding the Third Party Administrator (TPA) fee schedule. The DHCS seeks to provide guidance to LEAs who support the school-linked behavioral health provider network in managing the claims and payment remittance for services rendered under the statewide multi-payer fee schedule. As a part of this fee program, LEAs would be able to receive remittance on preventative behavioral health services for students, as opposed to solely remedial services. ACOE has provided this letter of recommendations to the DHCS on the TPA contract and selection process, TPA requirements, the claims administration process, and the technical assistance to be provided to local educational agencies (LEAs).