New California Budget Allocates Increased Funding for Education and Technology Infrastructure

According to Governor Newson, the 2019-2020 California Budget makes an historic investment in education for Californians, paving the path towards universal preschool, recruiting and retaining qualified educators and facilitating tuition freezes at the UC and CSU. Education leaders largely praised the education budget.

“The governor successfully held true to principles he laid out in January and got significant wins across the board,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group. “He found creative ways to address crucial issues that educators statewide are articulating.” Almost half of the 2019-2020 state budget, will be spent on funding education.

Comment: It should be noted that even with the increases in education funding for 2019-2020, California still lags behind the rest of the nation in K-12 per-pupil spending (39th out of 50 states according to Education Week on June 5, 2019).

California Budget Headlines

  • Makes highest-ever investment in K-14 education, including approximately $5,000 more per K-12 pupil than eight years ago.
  • Invests $90 million to recruit and retain qualified educators to teach in a high-need field at priority schools and address California’s teacher shortage.
  • Invests $43.8 million to provide training and resources for classroom teachers and paraprofessionals to build capacity around key state priorities.
  • Supports students with specialized needs by providing a 19.3-percent increase in funding for special education.
  • An increase of $2 billion Proposition 98 General Fund for the school district Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to reflect a 3.46 percent cost-of-living adjustment and declining average daily attendance.
  • Introduces a “cradle-to-career” data system that will track students from preschool to college and into the workforce.
  • Full-day kindergarten classes will be expanded as the budget gives schools $300 million to do so, while $377 million will be placed in a cash reserve fund for future school funding.
  • Allocates $103.4 billion for school districts who have been plagued with budget cutbacks since the 2008 recession, as well as $687 million to pay education debts.

State Education Budget Trailer Bill: SB 75 is a Trailer Bill to the approved Budget and includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. School Leadership Academy. Establishes the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy, administered by the CDE and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to provide professional learning opportunities for school administrators and other school leaders, aligned with the statewide system of support. Eligible grantees include LEAs, institutions of higher education and nonprofit educational service providers.
  2. Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program. This bill would apropriate $7,500,000 from the General Fund to the Controller for allocation to the State Department of Education for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to improve broadband connectivity at California local educational agencies and improve digital learning opportunities for pupils, as provided.
  3. Educator Workforce Grant Program. Provides $38.1 million in one-time non-Proposition 98 funding for the Educator Workforce Investment Grant to provide competitive grants for professional learning opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals. The CDE is charged with administering grants to one or more institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations with expertise in developing and providing professional learning to teachers and paraprofessionals. Of this funding, $10 million is for professional development for the English Learner Roadmap adopted by the SBE, $5 million is for special education related professional development and $22.1 million for professional development in other areas. These other areas include social-emotional learning, positive school climate, the computer science content standards and the ethnic studies model curriculum. Provides the CDE $250,000 each year for four years to implement the Educator Workforce Investment Grant program.
  4. California Computer Science Coordinator. Appropriates $38,100,000 from the General Fund to the State Department of Education for the 2019–20 fiscal year to create the California Computer Science Coordinator as a position in the department and to establish the Educator Workforce Investment Grant Program to support one or more competitive grants for professional learning opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals across the state, as provided.

Federal Communications Commission action has negative impact on education: FCC Eliminates Educational Broadband Service (EBS)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted along party lines to auction off part of the wireless spectrum currently assigned to its Educational Broadband Service. Education advocates are deriding the decision, which will go into effect next year, as shortsighted. It provoked an outcry among education groups, who argued that the decision would reduce home internet access for students in rural areas—thereby widening the homework gap. Opponents of the measure say that it strikes a blow to rural broadband access, particularly for homes, and thus misses a crucial opportunity to help close the homework gap. The FCC order removes any educational requirements from companies, schools or institutions that obtain licenses for the spectrum. Previously, EBS spectrum was only licensed to educational institutions, barring a few exceptions.
Comment: Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) issued a statement on the FCC vote changing educational broadband service: “For those who care about rural education, this is a big disappointment,” says. “We are deeply disappointed by today’s FCC decision – a loss for teachers and students especially for rural community learners. This action is inconsistent with public interest. The day EBS died. sigh.” FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel commented: “The Kennedy Administration did something visionary. It set aside wireless spectrum for educational use, to explore how learning and technology could combine. Today the FCC burns this policy down, I dissent.”


Federal Legislation

“Save the Net” Update: Federal Net Neutrality Legislation. The Consortium on School Networking (CoSN) along with The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fight for the Future, BattleForTheNet, and many others are advocating support of S.682. Thirty-four states introduced 120 bills and resolutions regarding net neutrality in the 2018 legislative session. Five states, including California, have enacted legislation or adopted net neutrality resolutions.

Recently, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA) and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel conducted a Town Hall meeting in Mountain View, CA which focused on the importance of Net Neutrality. Anna Eshoo and Jessica Rosenworcel provided major leadership in the Country to educate policy makers and the public about the critical need to restore Net Netrality. Jessica received the CUE Advocacy Award and Anna Eshoo was co-author of the HR 1644 and played major role in advocating for its support.

  • Status: The Save the Internet Act (S.682) is being held in the U.S. Senate by Senator McConnell.

H.R. 1328, Access Broadband Act. A bill to expand broadband, as well as create a simpler process to access federal broadband resources and bring better coordination to federal efforts to expand broadband access in underserved areas.

  • Status: Passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a companion bill (S.1167) introduced in the Senate.

Digital Equity Act of 2019. Introduced by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) The Digital Equity Act of 2019 S.1167 would authorize more than $1 billion in Federal grant funding over the next five years to support digital inclusion programs throughout U.S. states and territories.

  • Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

ESSA Title-IV, Part A with proposed increase passes the House. A Coalition which includes CoSN, ISTE, SETDA, and others actively supports the increase.

  • Status: This budget increase will need to be heard and approved the Senate and then the White House.

California Education Technology Related Legislation

Update on the CUE-Initiated Educational Technology Resolution, ACR 268

The Resolution is clear evidence that the State Legislature made a formal commitment to making educational technology support and access a major priority. We are collaborating with CDE Staff members Geoff Belleau, Technology Consultant, and Mary Nicely, Supt. Thurmond’s Chief Policy Advisor, as well as with a representative of the Governor, the Policy Advisor to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), a Member of the State Board of Education (SBE), the Director of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), the CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), Napa COE Superintendent, Barbara Nemko, and Legislative Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, Ann Kruze, to discuss next steps for implementing the ACR 268 recommendations.

Presently I am preparing draft legislation based on the ACR 268 recommendations, in collaboration with Legislative Advocacy Committee members, Ann Kruze, Barbara Nemko, Rowland Baker, and with Geoff Belleau and Mary Nicely representing the SSPI, which would help define the agenda for the proposed Educational Technology Summit. The Summit may consist of a group of about 20 participants representing the Legislature, Governor, and the SSPI along with representatives of State Education Associations and Foundations to be determined.

If you have specific questions about ACR 268 contact John Cradler at cradler@earthlink.net.


New California bills:

The following bills were introduced in the California Legislature in January for the 2019 Legislative session. These bills are reported if they generally relate to the CUE Advocacy Platform. Most bills will be amended several times as they pass through various committees. Most of the bills listed are still in progress. To review bills and there current analysis and status click here.

AB 52, Assembly Member Mark Berman, Computer science strategic implementation plan. This bill would require the computer science strategic implementation plan to be updated every 7 years. The bill also would make these provisions apply indefinitely.

  • Status: Passed Assembly Education Committee, now on hold (suspense) in Appropriations Committee.

AB 578, Assembly Member, Kevin Mullin. The California STEM Teaching Pathway Act of 2019. The bill would appropriate $2,000,000 from the General Fund to the State Department of Education for the 2019–20 fiscal year for purposes of the bill, to be allocated as a one-time grant to a postsecondary educational institution, nonprofit public benefit corporation, county office of education, or a partnership of multiple organizations of these types.

  • Status: Passed Assembly Education Committee, now on hold in Appropriations Committee

AB 1366, Assembly Member, Lorena Gonzalez. Voice over Internet Protocol and Internet Protocol enabled communications services. This bill would require that no department, agency, commission, or political subdivision of the state, including the PUC, shall enact, adopt, or enforce any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, standard, order, or other provision having the force or effect of law, that regulates VoIP or other IP enabled service. The bill was also amended to require the commission to annually report to the Legislature and the Attorney General the number and type of complaints the commission received from VoIP customers about VoIP service.

Comment: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) states that this bill abandons oversight over broadband band monopolies. The recently introduced A.B. 1366 mirrors the FCC’s abandonment of consumers with one exception—California fought to establish its own net neutrality rules under S.B. 822 passed last year. Apart from that, A.B. 1366 removes any semblance of the state promoting competition for broadband access through its state regulator, the California Public Utility Commission (the state version of an FCC). Instead, it appears to just hope that our cable monopolies will be benevolent. This was changed to state that the PUC would not enact Internet regulations that are already established by the FCC.

  • Status: Passed the Assembly: Introduced in the Senate, committee hearing delayed.

SB 2, Senators Glazer and Allen, Statewide Longitudinal Student-Database. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to establish the Statewide Longitudinal Student-Database to collect and store data regarding individual students as they matriculate through P–20, as defined, and into the workforce.

  • Status: Passed the Senate and waiting to be considered by the Assembly.

AB 1409, Assembly Member, Ed Chau. Digital Divide Grant Program. The bill would authorize grants to be awarded to fund the use of broadband for the installation of broadband, broadband service, equipment, administrative implementation, and maintenance for homework gap projects.

  • Status: Passed Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee: now on hold (suspense) in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

CUE Advocacy Strategy: As opportunities arise, CUE continues to be proactive in the development, co-development, sponsorship, and support of state and Federal legislation and resolutions which are consistent with the CUE Legislative Advocacy Platform. The CUE Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC) meets periodically to take positions on relevant bills, resolutions, policies, and other related actions suggested by the CUE Legislative Consultant, Board Members, staff, and Committee members. Anyone who is interested in being involved in supporting the CUE advocacy effort should contact Mary Kopp, CUE Senior Program Manager, mkopp@cue.org or John Cradler, cradler@earthlink.net For earlier Legislative Updates, click here.  

To sign up for breaking legislative advocacy news and updates, subscribe to our email list by signing up here: cue.org/leg-updates.

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