By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director
Governor Newsom had an almost 75% Democratic Legislature and billions of surplus funds in the budget for his first year in office. With that, he worked on expanding public preschool, adding an additional year of free community college to full time students, as well as adding to the rainy day fund.
The legislative session ended on September 13 in a wild and crazy finish that finally concluded at 3 a.m. The long night was due in part to a protestor throwing blood onto the Senate Floor during session — the antics in the Capitol never ceases to amaze.
When the dust settled, a pile of bills sit on the Governor’s desk waiting for a signature or veto. The following is a list of bills that are pertinent to education that are being tracked by CATA.
Later start of school day (SB 328) Senator Portantino
SB 328 would mandate that middle schools could not begin the school day before 8 a.m. and high schools could not begin earlier than 8:30 a.m. There is an exclusion in the bill for rural schools.
School facilities bond (AB 48) Assemblyman O’Donnell
If signed, AB 48 would put a $15 billion bond for new construction and renovation on the ballot for 2020 and 2022. The funds could be used for preschool, K-12 and higher education. Some of these funds are eligible to be used for CTE infrastructure.
Maternity leave for teachers (AB 500) Assemblywoman Gonzales
AB 500 would require school districts and community colleges to provide six weeks of paid maternity leave for teachers and classified employees.
Charter School Regulation (AB 1505) Assemblyman O’Donnell
AB 1505 makes various changes to the processes of charter school authorization, appeals, and renewal. Important to CATA is that if signed by the Governor, newly hired charter school teachers must have a certificate of clearance and the required credential for their teaching assignment.
The entire legislative process begins again with specific attention moving to the drafting of the January Budget. CATA’s budget priorities will be the inclusion and expansion of the Ag Incentive Grant, Career Technical Incentive Grant, and K-12 Strong Work Force funding.
Formation of the New California State CTE Plan
California is currently drafting a new Perkins usage plan in addition to a new State Plan for Career Technical Education (CTE). This process is being monitored to insure that crucial items like industry involvement, Career Technical Student Organizations, and proper credentialing of teachers is included in the criteria used to distribute funds for CTE. There will be a time for public comment on the plan in November and a call to action will go to the CATA membership to reinforce our priorities during that time. All public comments have to be addressed in writing to the committee writing the plan. This comment period will insure that our priorities are addressed.
The Golden Slate is going digital and will be delivered right to your email inbox on a monthly basis, just like this issue. This will be an evolving process and we welcome feedback on the new format.
Fall is upon us and sectional meetings are wrapping up and regional meetings have begun and will continue through November. I look forward to meeting and talking with each of you at regional meetings as we discuss the business of our organization. The best part of my job is talking to Ag teachers, so please feel free to call with questions or just for an update.
The California Association FFA lawsuit with the City of Fresno and SMG entertainment has finally been settled. The lawsuit that began six years ago and was the catalyst for the relocation of the California State FFA Leadership Conference has finally concluded. The insurance company that represented California FFA at the time of the accident has written a check for $337,000 to the city and SMG in exchange for being dismissed from further litigation.
Elimination of the CalAgPlate Program
The CalAgPlate program is in danger of being eliminated. Currently the number of plates on the road has dropped below the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) required threshold. We have approximately one calendar year to get 3,000 more plates registered or the program will be discontinued. To date, CAFFA has allocated $273,523 to the CalAgPlate Program and as a result has received $1,238,607 in proceeds. These funds are used annually to fund portions of the California FFA News, State FFA Leadership Convention, and all of the FFA leadership conferences across the state.
In the beginning, the vast majority of the 7,500 plates needed to start the program were given away by the Ag teachers and FFA chapters. We are going to have to have to do it again. Each chapter is being asked to give away 10 plates to insure the continued funding of the program. Click the following link to print out a form, fill in the highlighted blanks and mail the form to P.O. Box 186, Galt, California 95632. The first 3,000 forms received will get a free CalAgPlate.
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/