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Notice: This is a report on California politics, a very dynamic, fluid circumstance at best. Information contained herein is our best effort to be both timely and accurate, but things change. Readers are cautioned to investigate the conditions and facts themselves before acting upon any information presented here.
The Child Development Policy Institute - Education, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to help establish sound public policy that benefits the children of California, is providing access to its website and managing subscriptions this publication.The opinions expressed in herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Child Development Policy Institute - Education or its individual board members.
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Current News and Bulletins
October 2, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 24
Brown Acts on Child Care Bills, Vetoes Mandatory Kindergarten Bill
Just before the September 30th deadline for signing or vetoing legislation sent to him, Governor Brown has taken action on twelve child care bills.
August 18, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 23
Major Early Education Bills Die in Fiscal Committees
Last week was not a good time for Early Education measures proposing major changes to the system. The Senate and Assembly appropriations committees “held” (read, killed) them on the grounds of their potential cost or their “fiscal pressure.”
August 8, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 22
Senate Appropriations Committee Heard 403 Bills on Monday
The Legislature has returned from its July recess and plans to wind up the two-year legislative session on August 31st. The remaining days will be spent in clearing measures referred to fiscal committees, passing bills of the other house, and concurring in legislative changes made by the opposite house.
This is no light load. On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee heard 403 Assembly bills, either passing them, holding them in committee (killing), or moving them to “suspense calendar” (a move to allow all measures with significant cost to be considered together in the light of funds available). The Committee will take up its Suspense File next Thursday.
July 14, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 21
State Ends Fiscal Year in the Black
State Controller John Chiang has released his monthly cash report for June, and announced that the state's General Fund – the primary account from which California funds its day-to-day operations and programs – ended the fiscal year with a positive cash balance for the first time since June 30, 2007. A positive cash balance means that the state had funds available to meet all of its payment obligations without needing to borrow from Wall Street or the $23.8 billion available in its more than 700 internal special funds and accounts.
"While this is welcome news after seven years of record-high borrowing just to pay our everyday bills, we still have much work to do," Chiang said. "We should remain laser-focused on paying down the Wall of Debt, reversing the many accounting gimmicks to which we’ve become addicted and keeping the State as liquid as possible to avoid experiencing the payment delays and IOUs that plagued our State during the Great Recession.
June 26, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 20
Governor Signs $156.3 billion Budget Early; No Child Care Vetoes
You know by now that Governor Brown signed the state budget into law last Friday. He announced a relatively small number of line item vetoes to the $156.3 billion spending plan, many of which his office described as technical. There were no Child Care line vetoes.
"This on-time budget provides for today and saves for the future," Brown, who traveled to San Diego to sign the budget document, said in a prepared statement. "We're paying off the state's credit card, saving for the next rainy day and fixing the broken teachers' retirement system."
June 16, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 19
Legislature Passes Budget (on time), Sends it to Governor
The state Legislature last night approved a record $108 billion budget that has some new spending aimed at helping California's most vulnerable but also reflects Governor Jerry Brown's insistence on fiscal prudence.
The main budget bill cleared the Assembly 55-24 and passed the Senate 25-11, with only one Republican in the Democratic-controlled Legislature voting in favor of it. Lawmakers worked on Father's Day because they had to meet a constitutional deadline to send a balanced budget to the governor -- or risk not getting paid. The Budget was passed less than six hours before the constitutional deadline.
The spending blueprint for the fiscal year that starts July 1 is $7.2 billion larger than last year's general fund budget. It includes $10.6 billion to pay down old debts, $1.6 billion for a "rainy day fund" to ease the pain of future recessions, and a long-sought plan to fully fund the teachers' pension system.
June 12, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 18
Budget Conference Committee Passes Exciting “Child Care Compromise”
Last night, the Conference Committee on the FY 2014-15 State Budget completed action on the competing versions of the Preschool and Child Care items in the respective fiscal proposals. The outcome was both exciting and encouraging for the long-term.
During the past 6-8 months, the Legislature’s leadership – including an important weigh-in by the Legislative Women’s Caucus – embraced the importance of brain development, school-readiness, the investment payoff of Early Education, and the need to focus on the first five years.
The result was a confluence of Preschool for All advocacy and infrastructure re-investment advocacy.
June 11, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 17
TK Expansion Bill Is In “Holding Pattern,” Says Author’s Office
SB 837 (Steinberg) – originally introduced as a Transitional Kindergarten expansion bill providing free preschool for all four year olds – is now in a “holding pattern” and will not move forward in its current iteration. This was the assessment of Senator Steinberg’s chief child development expert Susanna Cooper, made during a CAPPA-initiated conference call with the Field Monday afternoon.
“There is a convergence of the bill and the Budget,” she said. Indeed, Steinberg said in an earlier morning meeting with constituents in his senate district that he will “hold” the measure.
What does this mean?
June 5, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 16
Budget Conference Committee Meets, Passes Temporarily on Resolving Differences on Child Care-Early Education Appropriations
Yesterday, the Budget Conference Committee met and (briefly) considered the Child Care and Early Education items in the FY 2014-15 fiscal plans of each house. Cutting to the chase: all decisions were deferred.
Conference Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland) made opening comments, saying that both houses “took the LAO’s higher revenue estimates” and made enhancements over the Governor’s plan for Early Education, Career Tech, and Common Core implementation. Countering, Senator Jim Nielson (R-Yuba City) said that he agrees with the Governor’s more conservative income prediction and that “We need to be fiscally prudent.” Both comments forecast how Budget negotiations will play out.
May 23, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 15
Exciting Development: Both Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees Approve Big Child Care Augmentations
Yesterday, both houses unveiled new Budget proposals for Early Education. For the first time in five years, both proposed significant funding increases for Child Care and Development programs.
The Assembly Proposal
The Assembly introduced a new “Early Childhood Education Package” not dissimilar from the Legislative Women’s Caucus proposal recommended earlier this week (See The Capitol Plus, May 21, 2014). Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance Chair Al Muratsuchi said the package “addresses concerns we have been focused on for many years now.” The Early Education “package” would fund an additional 47,000 slots (part- and full-day), increase provider rates by 10%, increase eligibility, eliminate CSPP family fees, restore the nutrition stipend, and improve Quality by boosting provider training.
May 21, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 14
Legislative Women’s Caucus Asks for $625 Million Investment in Early Ed
Yesterday, the Democratic members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus held a press conference to outline their budget priorities, and underscored the need for a budget that prioritizes the needs of working women and parents and the education of young children as a critical first step to closing the achievement gap. The Caucus made a $625million ask to invest in child care and early education for CA's children and families in the 2014-15 Budget.
In letters sent to leaders of both houses of the Legislature and signed by 22 Democratic members of the Women’s Caucus, as well as in a similar letter sent to the Governor, they requested that the following be included in the 2014-15 budget and be prioritized in negotiations:
May 13, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 13
Governor Brown Releases the May Revision
Governor Jerry Brown released a revised, $156.2 billion FY 2014-15 budget plan this morning. What’s new is that he proposes to spend the bulk of a state windfall to cover vastly expanded rolls in the state's Medi-Cal program.
The budget replaces a $154.9 billion spending plan Brown proposed in January. He recognizes the unexpected increase of $2.4 billion in revenues but asserts that state costs (expenditures) are up nearly an equivalent amount. The May Revision adds billions of dollars to address long-term debt while only making modest increases for social service programs.
Some of the new costs: Brown says 1.4 million more people than projected in January signed up for Medi-Cal under the Obamacare roll out this year, which will cost the state about $1.2 billion more than he predicted five months ago. State revenue has grown enough to trigger a pay 2 percent increase for most state employees beginning July 1.
May 9, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 12
California State Tax Revenues Running $2.2 Billion above Estimates
State Controller John Chiang yesterday released his monthly report covering California's cash balance, receipts and disbursements in April 2014. Revenues for the month totaled $13.9 billion, surpassing estimates in the 2014-15 Governor's Budget by $303 million, or 2.2 percent. Year-to-date, revenues exceed expectations by $2.17 billion, or 2.8 percent.
"A resurgent economy, combined with voter-approved tax increases, has boosted California's fortunes by the tune of an additional $2 billion," said Chiang . "This good news will feed the temptation to spend, but that should be tempered by two absolute certainties: boom revenue cycles are always followed by times of exasperation; and years of accumulated debt and unfunded liabilities must be effectively managed if California hopes for long-term prosperity."
April 25, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 11
Kindergarten Readiness Bill Passes Senate Education Committee
On April 9th, SB 837 (Steinberg) – the Kindergarten Readiness Act – was heard and passed by the Senate Education Committee. The measure now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration of its fiscal impact.
In Senator Steinberg’s introduction of SB 837, he recited the benefits of Early Learning for both the child and society. “All kids need a strong start,” he said.
He emphasized that we need to expand from serving only ¼ of California’s four year olds to serving ALL to them. He also pointed out that the bill would improve the current TK program by reducing class size (20 in a class), improving teacher-child ratios (1:10), developmentally appropriate standards, and higher professional preparation. “This is my highest legislative priority this year.”
April 8, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 10
The LAO Proposes Child Care Restructuring, Including Lower but More Universal Quality Standards, Time Limits for Subsidized Care, Transfer of Stage 2 Child Care to CDSS, and Limiting CDE Contracts to LEAs
On Friday, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a new report on revising the reimbursement system for subsidized child care in California. Introducing the report, called Restructuring California’s Child Care and Development System, the LAO said, “We believe California's child care and development system has several serious design flaws. Most notably, families accessing some subsidized child care programs may choose among a broad array of providers whereas families accessing other programs have access to child care only offered in particular places.
March 28, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 9
Water Cooler Conference Features ECE Experts, Holds The Hope for Unity
This week, the annual Water Cooler Conference was held in Sacramento. Titled Stronger Together: New Champions, Growing Opportunities for Young Children, the two-day event featured a plethora of big names in Early Education research and advocacy, and some of our Legislature’s strongest ECE champions.
An opening panel, called Early Childhood Opportunity: A Civil Right and Personal Passion, displayed the passion in this Field and the agreement that “The Time has come.” In addition to Moderator Molly Munger of the Advancement Project, panelists were Susie Buffett, Founder of the Buffet Early Childhood Fund, John Jackson, President & CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Kris Perry, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund, and Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media and co-founder of Next Generation.
March 13, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 8
Assembly Budget Subcommittees Review Condition of Early Education in California, Mull Several New Ideas
Tuesday, a joint oversight hearing on Child Care was held by Assembly Budget Sub #1 on Health and Human Services and Sub #2 on Education Finance. Also sitting in was Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
Sub #2 Chair Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), in an opening statement, said, “We must reinvest in Early Education.” Noting the substantial cuts suffered over the past four years, he said, “It is time to rebuild; it’s a wise investment where we get the biggest bang for our buck.” Sub #1 Chair Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) said, “We know a lot about what works and what is needed to implement it.” She has visited Sweden and seen the impressive results that nation has from its early investment in children ages 0-5. She said that this should not be a one-year fix. “We need a phased-in plan. It’s a matter of (Budget) priorities.”
The agenda included four panels of experts testifying on (1) the importance of Early Childhood Education, (2) an Overview and the Current Issues, (3) Ideas for Improvement: Early Education, and (4) Ideas for Improvement: Child Care.
March 4, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 7
LAO Releases Analysis of Child Care and Development in Governor’s Budget
Child Care Budget Subcommittee Hearings Are Set
The Assembly Budget Committee has announced that its subcommittees on Education and Health and Human Services will hold a joint oversight hearing on Tuesday, March 11, to discuss Child Care and Early Childhood Education. This will include discussion of child care programs, preschool and TK programs. Hearing will be at 9 am in Room 4202. Mark Martin, Committee Consultant, said the hearing is an informational one (rather one where specific FY 2014-13 budget items will be heard and decided). There will be no voted taken. The hearing is going to encompass various topics including preschool, child care, transitional kindergarten, and mandatory kindergarten. “We will be looking at the early child care education system as a whole, including all preschool programs.”
Apparently, they are looking for all ideas and options to aid families and children going forward. SB 837 (Steinberg) will be highlighted because of its importance but input is sought on all ideas for ECE improvement (including rates, eligibility, inclusion of more ECE funded by Prop 98, etc.).
On the Senate side, the subcommittees of the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee will hold a joint hearing on CalWORKs child care on April 10 at 9:30 AM.
Relative to licensing, the Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 (Health & Human Services) will be hearing Community Care Licensing issues (including a 10% fee increase) on March 13 (9:30 in Room 4203). The Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 (Health & Human Services) will hold their CCL hearing on April 2, 2014, 3 PM, Room 444.
- The LAO’s Assessment
- President Obama’s 2015 Budget Focuses on Boosting Economy; Adds ECE Funding
- New Child Care Legislation Introduced
- Assembly Hearing on California Poverty and CalWORKs Held
- U.S. Senate to Vote on CCDBG Reauthorization
February 21, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 6
Department of Finance Says January Revenues Exceed Projections
General Fund cash for January was $90 million above the 2014-15 Governor’s Budget forecast of $12.229 billion, reports the CA Department of Finance. Year-to-date revenues are $131 million above the expected $55.472 billion.
- Personal income tax revenues to the General Fund were $21 million below the month’s forecast of $9.699 billion. Withholding receipts were $501 million above the estimate of $4.930 billion. Year-to-date General Fund income tax revenues are $39 million below estimate.
- Sales and use tax receipts were $115 million below the month’s forecast of $2.487 billion. Year-to-date, the sales tax cash is $113 million below forecast.
- Corporation tax revenues were $170 million above the month’s estimate of $70 million. Year-to-date revenues are $189 million above estimate.
California’s general fund budget for FY 2013-14 is $98.5 billion.
February 14, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 5
Steinberg Comments on Chances for TK Expansion Bill
We don’t often get insight into the thinking of an author about the chances for the passage of his/her bill. But, if you are the President Pro Tem of the Senate, things are a little different.
Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was in Washington, DC, this week meeting with members of California's congressional delegation and the Obama administration to discuss policy priorities such as mental health services, universal prekindergarten and the drought.
The national Capitol-based blog, Politico, reports this about his views of SB 837:
January 29, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 4
President Obama Pushes Early Education in State of Union Speech; Forms a New Coalition
Last night, President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address to members of Congress and the American people. Presenting for just over an hour on Tuesday night, he focused largely on two things: how the government can bolster the economic situation of people out of work or living in poverty, and how he himself can make those changes even if Congress doesn't.
- Roll Call reproduced a State of the Union Fact Sheet which says this about the President's ECE proposal
- The Status of America's Children in New Report
- Implementing State Education Agencies Policies Cohesively, with a Focus on Early Childhood
January 23, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 3
Federal Budget Compromise Has New Early Ed Funding
The Senate now has approved and sent to the White House a monumental spending bill that keeps the government running through September. The $1.012 trillion measure, designed to bring a fresh sense of order to the federal budget process, passed 72-26 just a day after the House passed it with similarly broad bipartisan support. The bill won the support of 17 Republicans, 53 Democrats and 2 independents. President Obama now has signed it into law.
- Increases Fueled by Head Start Sequester Cuts, Says Education Week
- Governor Brown’s State of the State Address
- New Leaders for Senate and Assembly Announced
- CA Budget Project Comments on Child Care Funding (or Lack Thereof) in Governor’s New Budget
- Children Now’s Report Card Released
- Kong Takes Over at Early Edge California
- New Data Base Which Tracks Business-Led, Community-based ECE Initiatives
- Correction: LAO report
January 14, 2014 | Volume 5, Number 2
Legislative Analyst Issues Preliminary Review of Governor's Budget Proposal
The 19th annual edition of the Legislative Analyst's fiscal outlook was released yesterday. Called The 2014-15 Budget: California's Fiscal Outlook, it is a forecast of California's State General Fund revenues and expenditures over the next six years. It reflects continued improvement in the state's finances.
"A restrained budget for 2013-14, combined with our updated forecast of increased state revenues, has produced a promising budget situation for 2014-15. Our forecast indicates that, absent any changes to current laws and policies, the state would end 2014-15 with a multibillion-dollar reserve. Continued caution is needed, however, given that these surpluses are dependent on a number of assumptions that may not come to pass," says the LAO.
- Relative to Child Care and Development
- SPI Torlakson Co-sponsors TK Expansion Bill; Re-assures CDE Contractors
- Largest Number of Freshmen Assembly Members
- EESD Stakeholder Questionnaire Summary
- New Licensing Bill Introduced
- First 5 California Launches New Field Survey
- Thirty States are Raising Pre-kindergarten Funding
January 9, 2014 | Volume 5 Number 1
Governor Submits FY 2014-15 Budget Proposal
Governor Jerry Brown is scheduled to release his annual budget proposal at the Capitol this morning, one day earlier than expected. The governor has approached improving budget indicators with caution, urging lawmakers to bolster reserves. In the budget document, Brown calls for "fiscal restraint," saying "economic expansions do not last forever."
- Education significant adjustments
- California Revenues Are Up
- New Proposal to Expand Quality Early Learning in California
- "Smart Start" Proposal Coming, Too