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Report from Legislative Advocate Dawn Koepke

In a report released last Friday by ACSA Adult Ed. President Rocky Bettar of Rowland Adult Education, legislative advocate Dawn Koepke warns adult school administrators and their supporters of the brief time for action between now and the Department of Finance and Administration's January budget proposal. 

The Report:

Over the past few months we have heard loud and clear from around the state concerns regarding the timing of funding for K-12 based adult education. This certainly is making things tenser than ever with the general uncertainty you are faced with in your district as well as within the regional consortia planning process. The concerns have not gone unheeded - we agree the timeline before us is incredibly concerning.  We fully understand the need to provide clarity, certainty and funding for districts well ahead of the March lay-off notice deadlines.  In this regard, it is absolutely critical that the Department of Finance (DOF) and Administration get it right in their January budget proposal.  There will be no coming back from a bad January proposal and we well know that recovery with a better May Revise will be too late for virtually all adult schools.

It is for this reason that we are encouraging you to be prepared to ramp up quickly - and soon!  The CCAE and CAEAA Boards have developed an aggressive and expansive advocacy plan beginning in mid-July through the release of the January budget proposal - all focused on putting pressure on the Administration and Department of Finance to get it right and protect K-12 based adult education in FY 15-16 and beyond.  More specifically, we will be reaching out to every part of the state in the coming weeks asking you to implement a number of strategies aimed at putting pressure on the Administration including, but not limited to:

  • Local Grassroots Advocacy with Legislators in your District
  • Local "Nascar" Letters of those Local Organizations committed to Supporting K-12 based Adult Education and willing to lend their Logo and Name
  • Superintendent Letters of Support
  • Local OpEd Placements (newspaper articles placed around the state touting the importance of protecting adult education, to be "signed" by various local representatives)

Additionally, we have solicited proposals from a few of the top, innovative public relations gurus in Sacramento to add another layer of pressure through the media.  I am thrilled with the proposals we've received and know firsthand the great work they do, the massive following they have in Sacramento, and the connections they have at the top media outlets in the state.  We'll be making some decisions in the coming weeks and plan to try to move forward with a firm by the end of July.

At the state level we will be holding a host of targeted meetings with key members of the Legislature and budget staff, Department of Finance, Administration officials, caucuses, and more.  Additionally, we are working on continuing to build a broad based coalition to also do targeted meetings, sign on to a state-level Nascar letter, and more.

Finally, we are working furiously to finalize materials for you to use in your local meetings beginning in mid-July. This is an all hands on deck effort - everyone needs to pull their weight to push us forward successfully.

We understand this is a very unnerving time, but we are excited and feel strongly we have an incredibly solid, multi-faceted strategy to push us forward successfully.  Gear up adult education folks..we have the ride of our lives ahead of us and all need to be ready to roll.  More details to come in the next few weeks - be ready.

Strength in numbers!

SB 173 (Liu) Update

As we've discussed over the last year and a half, SB 173 by Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) was introduced in an effort to keep the conversation going about adult education as well as to serve as a vehicle to push forward some of the reforms the Brown Administration was seeking in an effort to work in good faith to help save K-12 based adult education. The bill has undergone a number of changes over that time the most notable in recent weeks being the removal of provisions related to the program offerings adult education could provide with state funding going forward.  This certainly was the largest sticking point for many K-12 adult education advocates as well as the community colleges. With the removal of this provision and amendments to more closely focus on the AB 86 regional consortia process and overall accountability, SB 173 was approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee earlier this month.  During the hearing a number of K-12 adult education advocates continued to voice opposition to the bill in relation to the program areas.  It is important to be clear, however, that this bill no longer addresses the course offerings whatsoever.  That said, the writing is, unfortunately, on the wall as we have said before.

Last year's AB 86 was approved as part of the budget process and, as you know, put into place the beginnings of the adult education regional consortia effort.  Within that language, and regardless of SB 173, were provisions that narrowed for the purposes of the regional consortia planning process and any funding to be provided by the state to implement those plans the course offerings.  SB 173's provisions around the course offerings were essentially moot with AB 86's passage.

So what does SB 173 provide now?

As amended, SB 173 requires the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (CCCCO) and the California Department of Education (CDE) to coordinate and issue guidelines and policy recommendations to the Legislature regarding adult education in the areas of assessment, performance accountability, teacher requirements, and fee policies.  Additionally, it would require that the CCCCO and the CDE annually report on the number and types of adult education courses being taught, including noncredit courses, and the number of students being served with funding provided, thus enhancing the existing reporting requirements pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 84830.  The bill continues the intent around joint decision making between the CCC and CDE, helping to ensure the continuation of a dual delivery system as we have been vigorously advocating.

While these are more technical provisions related to the future of adult education, we continue to see these as critical components in the future of a coordinated, dual delivery system.  We, Senator Liu and staff have been working with the Department of Finance to ensure that the provisions of this bill are supportive of the funding framework that we'll be developing in the coming months.

For more information, please see  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0151-0200/sb_173_bill_20140612_amended_asm_v92.pdf.