Photo of 2013 Sacramento Bus Trip Delegation
On one of the busiest days of the State Legislature, a large delegation of Santa Clara County students, parents, teachers and community leaders joined me and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation on an important mission – to let our state elected leaders know our concerns about education funding.
My 11th annual bus trip to Sacramento on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, delivered 120 participants to the steps of the state capitol, where they filled a large meeting room to hear updates about the
current budget proposals, mostly from representatives of legislators. Because they were voting on more than 100 bills on May 29, it was difficult for many to leave the Assembly and Senate chambers. But Senator Jim Beall took time to join our discussion, along with 12 representatives from Assembly and Senate Offices, the California Teachers Association and the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The debate focused on Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to give extra funding – from new taxes and increased state revenue -- to school districts that have the most students from low-income families, English learners and foster youth. Some legislators want the money spread out evenly to all school districts, with extra funds going to help those students, but not to the entire districts.
We let them know that we wanted:
- Funding now. Don’t delay in getting the money to our schools.
- Even out the base amount in the formula that funds schools.
- Make sure there is accountability. We like the transfer of local control to counties and school districts.
- We agree that schools that have a large percentage of students who are low-income, English learners and foster youth should get more money for those children.
- Don’t forget about special education needs and adult education.
The compromise measure worked out through legislative committees appears to come close to what we asked for. On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, details of an agreement between the governor and legislators were released, showing that districts with the neediest students will get Supplemental Grants, or Concentration Grants if 55 percent of their students are in that category. Full implementation will take eight years, but money will start flowing this year, with counties and districts having more control. The Legislature is set to vote on the budget on Friday, June 15.