Legislation Update - 05/09/2010


The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education heard the issue of authorizing the release of $72 million in federal Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) funds that have been stuck at the state level for months while schools have anxiously awaited reimbursement.

In August 2009, the CDE notified eligible California schools of the availability of the additional federal stimulus funds that flow to schools as 50% formula grants and 50% competitive grants. Schools applied for the competitive grants and schools receiving formula funds expected to receive funds based upon their school technology plans. However the CDE did not have the required legislative approval to appropriate the funds as proposed to LEAs.

At the budget hearing, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) proposed using the EETT funds in a fundamentally new way, by instead directing the funds to Pre-K and high school priorities. Currently, the competitive grants may only be used for grades 4-8. LEAs from around the state strongly protested the last minute change in rules, pointing out the that many of them already spent funds anticipating the ability to use the federal funds to reimburse themselves. If the rules are changed, LEAs are left holding the bag.

Action on this item was deferred to after the Governor’s May Revision. Stay tuned…

Both the Senate and Assembly Subcommittees hear the issues around appropriation of anticipated federal funds and both heard comments about the proposed release of SIG funds. Both committees expressed concerns that the proposal is significantly different than they indicated in the special session bills in December.

The Assembly Budget Subcommittee also heard the Governor’s proposal to fund $51 million in the Emergency Repairs facilities program. That amount includes $17 million that should have gone out in this fiscal year. There was substantial finger pointing around the fact that the $17 million never went out, with the Controller’s office taking the bulk of the blame, potentially because they were the only player not in the room. There was some sizeable sentiment agreeing with the Williams Act attorney that the program should actually be funded at the full $100 million since there are EMERGENCY repairs. Don’t get too excited though. Even if the Assembly decides to go to this higher amount, the Governor would likely veto the excess to balance his budget. But the list could at least shorten somewhat.


There are a few bills that have been amended recently that you may want to take a look at.

AB 2069 (Carter) modifies the instructional materials adoption timelines. Remember that this is also part of the budget negotiations as the Department pushes to complete and distribute the history/social science frameworks to move that adoption forward.

AB 2434 (Hernandez) which addresses the provision of high-quality AP courses on-line.

Most of the bills in the Appropriations Committees are going straight to the Suspense File for action without public testimony or comment at the end of May. We are still anticipating the May Revision of the Budget on May 14th. It will give guidance on how much each house should even consider spending in new legislation this year.


Superintendent Jack O’Connell announced on April 30 that California would continue its efforts to improve student achievement and will seek federal funding through Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition. There had been anticipation that a ‘3 large district’ consortium would submit the only application from our state, but apparently Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan pressured the Governor and O’Connell directly to submit a state application. Los Angeles, Long Beach and Fresno are expected to be part of the state application.

April revenues are down from projections, by about $3 million. But the Controller cautions we should wait until early next week to say what we know. This is such an unusual year and there could be some surprises, but right now the picture doesn’t look good. We’re still waiting for the Feds to decide on the Governor’s request to waive Maintenance of Effort requirements so see if that stops the proposed new education cuts.

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