Education Financing Legislation Heading to Governor’s Desk
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, the California State Assembly approved the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 189 by Assemblymember Mike Eng (D – Monterey Park), which will empower parents and community members to advocate for the protection of education programs as local boards consider making deeper cuts or closing entire programs, and permit school districts to gain revenue to help fund programs like Adult Education.
Specifically, AB 189 requires Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to hold independent meetings that are separate from the meeting to adopt a budget prior to the transfer of funds from categorical programs in Tier 3 flexibility. If a governing board intends to shut down a program, it will be required to notice a proposed elimination of a program at the meeting to discuss proposed transfer of Tier 3 funds or another meeting that is not the meeting to adopt the budget. In addition, it provides the ability to offer English as a Second Language and citizenship classes with modest fees as a means of keeping programs open and ensuring these services during flexibility.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2009-10 budget had an important impact on categorical programs. The budget agreement imposed a 20% reduction on 39 programs and gave LEAs that received those funds in FY 2007-08 the flexibility to use the funds for any educational purposes from FY 2008-09 through FY 2012-13. The Governor recently enacted legislation to extend flexibility through the FY 2014–15. “When categorical flexibility was granted, the Legislature assumed that the governing boards of school districts would provide communities with ample opportunities to weigh in on the possible diversion of these funds into other areas,” said Assemblymember Eng. “Unfortunately, that has not always been the case.”
Categorical programs like Adult Education and Regional Occupational Centers & Programs (ROCP) provide valuable educational and post-educational services to a broad cross section of California’s population and prepares both adults and high school students for the workforce.
“AB 189 ensures that school districts fully consult with the communities they serve before taking drastic steps in reducing or eliminating categorical programs,” said Assemblymember Mike Eng. “For many members in our communities, these programs help fulfill their dreams of obtaining a better job, buying their own home, starting their own business and becoming more involved in their children’s education.”
AB 189 is now on its way to the Governor for consideration. It is sponsored by the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE).
CONTACT: Edmundo Cuevas, (916) 319-2049, Edmundo.Cuevas@asm.ca.gov