Legislation Update - 02/27/2011


Prepared by: Sandra S. Morales, Legislative Advocate
sandram@sia-us.com 916.669.5417
School Innovations & Advocacy (SI&A)


CAWS SPONSORED LEGISLATION

In the 2011-12 legislative session, the Legislature and Governor will debate a new structure of school finance and categorical education programs. The problem for IB in such a debate is that it is a small program in a very large education system. For that reason the CAWS Board approved our recommendation to sponsor legislation in 2011 in order to focus attention on the IB program.

We are pleased to announce that Senator Ed Hernandez agreed to be the author of our bill and introduced SB 532, as a spot bill. A spot bill means that the current bill language does not have any substance and does not reflect the true intention of the bill. Spot bills are introduced to meet the deadline, and to hold a “spot” in the process. SB 532 will be amended to reflect our proposed language as part of the bill.

The language submitted to Senator Hernandez reads as follows:

The California community colleges and California State Universities shall adopt a policy to give students obtaining a score of 5, 6 or 7 on IB examinations, the same credits for admission given to students with a 4 or 5 score on equivalent AP examinations.

Senator Hernandez has been a leading advocate for students who are economically disadvantaged and one of the strongest supporters of Advanced Placement (AP) programs in the Legislature. We believe that by having Senator Hernandez as the author of our bill we would be accomplishing two primary goals: 1) to increase awareness of the IB program and 2) to convey the importance of eliminating the disparity that exists between the AP and IB programs when receiving academic recognition.

Bill Enactment Process

February
The deadline for state legislators to introduce new bills was Friday, February 18. Senator Hernandez agreed to be the author of our bill and introduced SB 532 as a spot bill.

March
SB 532 (Hernandez-D) – The IB/AP bill Amendments will be submitted to reflect our language.

Senator Hernandez would also include intent language to expand opportunities for economically disadvantaged HS students by asking districts to consider alternative means (online classes) of providing AP and IB courses in English, history, mathematics, foreign language and science.

April
SB 532 will probably be heard in the Senate Education Committee in late April. We will send a Call to Action for IB coordinators and leaders to contact legislators and express support for our bill. We will customize instructions to make sure Legislators know the importance of your call, visit and/or letters. It is important to emphasize that we will need your support for our legislation to make it through this process.

May- August
Once our bill is out of the Education Committee, it must move through the Senate. The process then repeats in the Assembly house. Our sponsored bill could move through the legislative process until August and we should expect to see our bill amended in response to issues and concerns raised throughout that process. The Legislature is scheduled to be in summer recess from July 15 – August 15.

Deadlines
The last day for each house to pass bills is September 9, and the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature is October 9.

About the Author

Dr. Hernandez was first elected to the Assembly in November of 2006, and re-elected in November of 2008. He won his seat in the California State Senate in November of 2010.

Senator Hernandez grew up in La Puente, attended local schools and graduated from Bassett High School. He worked his way through school, attending both Rio Hondo and Mt. San Antonio Community Colleges before going on to get his B.S. degree in Biology from Cal State Fullerton. He received a scholarship to study Optometry at Indiana University, which is where he met his wife Diane. After returning home, Dr. Ed and his wife setup their first practice in his hometown of La Puente.

Senator Hernandez represents the 24th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Los Angeles, including East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace, Montecito Heights, and the Cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Industry, La Puente, Monterey Park, Rosemead, and West Covina. The district also includes the communities of Avocado Heights, Citrus, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, South San Gabriel, and Vincent.

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

In mid-January, Governor Brown released his 2011-12 proposed budget. The proposal would address a $26 billion shortfall with $12.5 billion in expenditure reductions, $12 billion from the continuation of temporary revenues and $1.9 billion in other solutions.

In a controversial and difficult move, the Governor proposes to put before the voters a five-year extension of current temporary taxes. For K-12 education, $2 billion in funding is predicated on voter approval of the Governor’s revenue proposals. This amount represents about $335 per ADA. The budget proposal does not address how to reduce this funding if the temporary revenues are not continued.

The proposed 2011-12 state budget continues to make no changes to funding for the IB grant program. That means that districts would receive the same amount they received in 2010-11. In addition, the Governor proposes to extend the budget flexibility provisions by two years. This means that funding for the IB program would continue to be under the so-called “Tier III” flexibility, and districts would continue to have the flexibility to use those funds for “any educational purpose”.

The primary impact on IB programs would then be reflected in the effect that the budget has on school districts and county office general purpose funding, and the resulting pressure that it puts on those agencies to use IB funding for other purposes. The proposed budget adds one more deferral of $2.1 billion. School districts and counties cash flow could potentially be severely impacted by the added $2.1 billion deferral.

The Governor’s proposal continues to move through the Legislative process. Both the Assembly and the Senate seem supportive of his budget proposal with regard to the level of funding for K-12 education. Still unknown is whether a measure will be placed on the ballot in June to extend the temporary taxes, and whether the voters will approve that extension. If the temporary taxes are not continued, the Governor has made it clear that educators should expect additional deep budget cuts to K-12 education.

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