Budget averts major cuts
July 13, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the 2020-21 California state budget June 29, which rolls back $15.1 billion in cuts to education Newsom had proposed in his May budget revise. This new budget, an agreement between Newsom and the state Legislature, shields California education from major cuts to the Local Control Funding Formula and K-12 categorical programs such as Adult Education and Career Technical Education. But the proposal relies on federal relief to maintain current funding levels. Without federal action, Local Education Agencies would absorb more than $5 billion in deferrals. One key aspect of this budget involves distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Districts are required to offer in-person instruction “to the greatest extent possible,” but the budget allows for distance learning and hybrid models. Districts may cite their applicable orders from a state or local public health officer; for example, if a classroom cannot accommodate social distancing by separating student desks by at least 6 feet, a hybrid model may become necessary for that school. Distance learning curriculum must adhere to certain instructional and operational requirements. These include daily and weekly documentation of student participation, curriculum that is substantially equivalent to in-person instruction and daily, live interaction with teachers and peers. Instructional time for distance learning must be based on the “time value” of assignments. Physical education minutes and annual instructional minute requirements are waived for Local Educational Agencies for the 2020-21 school year. The budget also prohibits the use of the August layoff window for certificated employees, except administrative and supervisory credentialed positions. It also prohibits the termination of permanent or probationary classified employees who work in nutrition, transportation or custodial services. As a whole, K-12 education funding remained mostly intact. This budget maintains prior year spending levels, but relies on deferrals. But without federal aid and additional flexibilities for LEAs, schools will be forced to make cuts. Budget negotiations will continue into the fall. In the meantime, ACSA advocates will persist in their work to make students’ voices heard, as well as the voices of their administrators and staff, during the months ahead.

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Federal relief needed to maintain funding
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