Sacramento Scene: 2022 Legislative Session Closes, Fate of Bills Decided

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

As the clock struck midnight on August 31, the 2021-22 legislative session ended. The session started eight months ago. All passed bills are now sent to the Governor’s desk for final approval. Newsom has until the end of September to sign or veto the bills. The national media will scrutinize these signings as many suspect he may run for national office in 2024 (CalMatters Staff, 2022).

The following is a list of bills related to education that impact agricultural education and their fate in the 2022 legislative session. 

AB 1705 (Irwin) – The bill limits remedial English and Math classes that could be required for transfer from a Community College. In addition, the bill outlines stricter rules on when community colleges are allowed to enroll students in remedial classes. Community colleges are expected to enroll most students in transfer-level classes if signed. 

AB 2044 (O’Donnell) – The bill would extend the option for students to fulfill state high school graduation requirements by completing a Career Technical Education (CTE) course until 2027. This bill died in the Senate for reasons unrelated to its contents. However, language from this bill was inserted into an education budget trailer bill, ensuring the continued implementation of CTE classes counting toward graduation requirements. Assembly Member O’Donnell is not seeking re-election.

AB 2273 (Wicks, Cunningham, and Petrie-Norris) – Establishes the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which generally requires businesses that provide online services, products, or features likely to be accessed by children to comply with specified standards. The bill is waiting for the Governor’s signature. This could expand online accessibility for students at school.

AB 2088 (Cooper) – This bill, if passed, would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program. The program would provide grants to establish or expand internship programs within CTE courses or pathways. Unfortunately, AB 2088 failed to get out of the Assembly. The bill’s author, Assembly Member Cooper, is leaving the Assembly to become Sacramento County Sheriff.

AB 2617 (Holden) – This bill seeks to establish a grant program to increase participation in dual enrollment programs at local education agencies. The bill did not make it out of committee as it was held in submission. This action could allow the bill to be brought up again next session. 
The next significant political activity will be California’s November ballot. Because of redistricting and a mass exit of representatives, several Senate and Assembly seats are up for grabs. Governor Newsom and Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond are both up for re-election. Additionally, there will be an education-related ballot measure to vote on. Proposition 28 would set aside funding for arts and music at the secondary level. If passed, the funds from this proposition would be disproportionately reserved for low-income schools to hire staff (Christopher and Kamal, 2022)

Sacramento Scene: End of Service on the Horizon for Champions of AgEd

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

The California Legislature returned from summer break on August 1 and has until the end of the month to pass bills within the legislative cycle. All bills passed by both houses then land on the Governor’s desk. August 31 at midnight is the deadline for all bills. Then the Governor has three courses of action on all bills that have passed both houses: he can sign the bill into law; he can allow it to become law without a signature; or he can veto the bill. The Governor’s veto can be overruled by a two-thirds vote of the Assembly and Senate (County Supervisor’s Resource Guide).

Fall will be the end of service for a record number of legislators. Congressional opportunities, redistricting, and expiring term limits have contributed to the Legislative “Great Resignation” of 2022. After the November election of the 120 legislators in California, 33 will be new. Among those leaving the capital are many friends of agricultural education. Assembly Member O’Donnell, Education Chair and champion of Career Technical Education (CTE), will return to the classroom to teach Civics in Long Beach. Former Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Rancho Mirage may run for Congress. Andreas Borgias, a Republican from Fresno, and Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo will not seek another term. Adam Gray, an Assembly Member from Merced, is running for Congress, and Jim Cooper from Elk Grove won an election to become the Sacramento County Sheriff. Assembly Member Frank Bigelow from Madera is also not seeking reelection. Another notable exit is Keely Martin Bosler, who is stepping down as Director of the Finance Department. Those are just a few of our friends that have or will leave their state leadership positions in the coming months.

As the legislative session winds down, a few notable bills are still being tracked by the California Agricultural Teacher’s Association. Click here to read more.

Those bills are listed below.

AB 2044 (O’Donnell) – This bill extends the sunset on the option for students to fulfill a state high school graduation requirement by successfully completing a Career Technical Education (CTE) course until July 1, 2027. In addition, this act would amend the Education Code relating to graduation requirements. 

AB 2088 (Copper) – Career technical education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. This program would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program, which allocates $575 million to the California Department of Education to provide grants that establish or expand public-private paid internship programs for students. 

AB 2617 (Holden) – Dual Enrollment Programs: Competitive Grant. If enacted, this bill would appropriate $500,000 in a competitive grant program to start up middle college or early college high schools that promote dual enrollment. 

AB 2573 (McCarty) – Certificated School Employees: Probationary Employees: If passed, this bill would require certificated employees of a school district or a county superintendent of schools, regardless of the average daily attendance of the school or district, to be given permanent employee status after two consecutive years of employment.

Sacramento Scene: Sustainably Funded Education Still Wise in Times of Abundance

By Matt Patton

June is a busy time at the State Capitol. The California State Budget negotiations are in full swing. The budget must be passed by June 15th, and everyone is vying for a piece of the nearly 100-billion-dollar surplus before that deadline passes.

The Governor’s and Legislature’s plans differ significantly in how much of the state’s surplus budget should be divided between ongoing and one-time funding (Fensterwald, 2022).

First, Governor Newsom released the May revised budget. Then in June, the Legislature released their draft 2022-23 State Budget. Unfortunately, the two budgets do not align. The suggested legislative budget allocates school districts and charter schools an additional $4.5 billion than the budget proposed by Newsom. This district funding increase would come at the expense of some of Governor Newsom’s favored proposals like early literacy and additional reading specialists in schools (Fensterwald, 2022).

Regardless of the negotiations, education is poised to see historic increases in per-pupil spending and available resources for students. An increase in the Agriculture Incentive Grant, an extension of Prop 51 facilities spending, and the continued inclusion of $450 million in dedicated Career Technical Education funding are all in play. 

These differences in the budget need a resolution by June 15th. On that date, the budget must pass. The Governor then has 12 days to sign it (Senate Publications, 2002)

Times are good, and funding is abundant, but the current state of the economy looms on the horizon. The California Legislature and the Governor have filled the rainy-day funds in anticipation of less prosperous budgets. However, we all must be mindful of possible leaner times and plan accordingly. Building sustainably funded programs and anticipating a time of less abundance would be prudent. 

Sacramento Scene: Change on the Horizon

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

May is an active time in the state’s Capitol. The “May Revise,” a modified proposed budget composed using current revenues, was released by the Governor on May 14th. Legislative subcommittees have approximately two weeks to consider the proposed changes to the budget and negotiate its contents. Additionally, the movement of bills increases in the legislature as the June deadline for passage looms closer. 

These are intriguing times around the Capitol. The focus has moved away from the pandemic and is now focused on the volatile economy. In addition, a large group of legislators is readying to leave the building as they have termed out or are not seeking re-election. The June 7th Special General Elections and Primaries are on the horizon. Additionally, campaigning for the November 8th General Election is heating up.

Below is a list of bills tracked by CATA that relate directly to agricultural and career technical education. As these bills move, CATA supports those beneficial to the profession and opposes those that are detrimental. These actions of support and opposition take the form of meeting with legislative members and staff, written and oral testimonies at hearings, and working with other like-minded advocates toward a shared outcome.

Current Bills of Interest

AB 2044 (O’Donnell) – An act to amend the Education Code relating to career technical education classes and graduation requirements. Currently, the statute in the Education Code allows high school students to use Career Technical Education (CTE) courses to meet graduation requirements. Passage of this bill would extend this statute for another five years.  

AB 2058 (O’Donnell) – Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Programs and Strong Work Force Program consolidation. This bill would consolidate Strong Work Force Program funding if passed, making the CTEIG allocation $450 million annually. Funding would be available in the 2022-23 fiscal year. 

AB 2617 (Holden) – Dual Enrollment Programs: Competitive Grant. This bill would appropriate $500,000 in a competitive grant program to startup middle college or early college high schools that promote dual enrollment.

AB 2088 (Copper) – Career Technical Education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. This program would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program, which allocates $575 million to the California Department of Education to provide grants that establish or expand public-private paid internship programs for students. 

SB 871 (Pan) – Public Health: Immunizations. This bill, if enacted, would add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required immunizations needed to attend public or private elementary or secondary schools. The author has put this bill on hold. This hold shelves the bill, and it will no longer progress through the legislative process.

Other Governmental ActionsCOVID-19 Vaccine requirements for California Schools has been postponed – The California Public Health department announced that COVID-19 vaccines will not be required for students during the 2022-2023 school year.  This action has been postponed to be revisited for 2024.

Sacramento Scene: Significant Months Ahead

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

Term limits, redistricting, and numerous political opportunities outside the state capitol have prompted the exit, or planned exit, of a decade-high number of legislators this year. 26 assembly members and state senators have opted not to run in November or have already left their offices. Added to that number are seven senate members that will term out in 2022.

Currently, four vacant assembly seats will be filled with a specialized April Election, and Assemblymember Fong of Los Angeles was elected on February 15 in a similar special election. 

Among these lawmakers exiting the capitol are many friends of agricultural education. Assemblymember O’Donnell, Education Chair and champion of Career Technical Education (CTE), has plans to return to the classroom to teach Civics. Former Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Rancho Mirage may run for Congress. Andreas Borgeas, a Republican from Fresno, and Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo will not seek another term. Adam Gray, the Assemblymember from Merced, is running for Congress, and Jim Cooper from Elk Grove is running for Sacramento Sheriff. Assemblymember Frank Bigelow from Madera is also not seeking reelection. Those are just a few of our friends that have or will leave the state capitol. After the November election of the 120 legislators in California, 33 will be new.

Several of the lawmakers mentioned above are trying to finalize their legislative priorities before exiting the capitol. Some of the bills below are authored by departing lawmakers pushing final agendas. All the below bills that will have impacts on agricultural and CTE education are being tracked by CATA.

AB 2058 (O’Donnell)  – Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Programs and Strong Work Force Program Consolidation. If passed this bill would consolidate Strong Work Force Program funding, making the CTEIG allocation $450 million annually. Funding would be available in the 2022-23 fiscal year. 

AB 2617 (Holden) – Dual Enrollment Programs: Competitive Grant. If enacted, this bill would appropriate $500,000 in a competitive grant program to start-up middle college or early college high schools that promote dual enrollment. 

AB 2088 (Copper) – Career technical education: California Pilot Paid Internship Program. This program would establish the California Pilot Paid Internship Program, which allocates $575 million to the California Department of Education, to provide grants that establish or expand public-private paid internship programs for students. 

May and June are significant months in the legislative process. The revised budget will be released in May. This document, known as the “May Revise,” will incorporate up-to-date state revenue tax information. This revised budget will be scrutinized by the legislature, and negotiations will ensue. The 2022-23 California State Budget will ultimately be voted on by both the assembly and senate.

The legislative cycle for bills concludes in June. All bills that pass the assembly and senate will be sent to the governor’s desk for approval. There will be a clear picture of what things will look like for the upcoming year by this year’s CATA Summer Conference.

The California State Budget Process

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

The California State Budget Process

January and February mark the beginning of the budget adoption process in California for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The following is a summary of the process that drives budgets for school districts across California for the next fiscal year. 

Governor Newsom introduced the proposed budget for California in January, and now both the Senate and Assembly get to analyze, comment, and amend the budget. The legislative review of the budget starts in January and usually wraps up in June. The budget must be passed on June 15 at midnight. The California State Constitution constrains a large portion of the budget. For example, in the education portion of the budget, Proposition 98 sets funding levels for pre-kindergarten to community college.

After an initial evaluation by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the proposed budget is divided into broad subject matters such as Education, Health, and State Administration. Then the subcommittees in these subject areas hold public hearings, debate, and modify the original budget.

On May 14, the governor will release the “May Revise” budget. This budget version will reflect the changes in state revenues since January. At that point, subcommittees have about a week to consider the proposed changes.

Ultimately negotiations between the Senate, Assembly, and Governor’s Office will result in an agreed-upon budget plan that will be voted on by both branches of the legislature and signed by the Governor. 

Below are the items included in the current legislative cycle that could impact agricultural education in California. 

Proposed California Education Budget Changes for 2022-23

K-12 School Facilities

To offset the sun setting of Proposition 51 funding (bond for school facility construction), the January proposed budget includes $1.3 billion in 2022-23 and $925 million in 2023-24 for school facilities.

Agricultural Incentive Grant (AIG) Augmentation 

The proposed January budget allocates $2 million in ongoing funding for the AIG. If implemented, this would put the AIG allocation at its highest level since the establishment of the program. In the 2013-14 budget, the AIG was reduced from $5.157 million to $4.134 million (2013-14 CA Budget).

California Community Colleges (CCC)

It is proposed to give CCC an increase of $409.4 million in ongoing Prop 98 funding to provide a 5.33 % cost of living increase and a $24.9 million augmentation for enrollment growth.

University of California (UC) System

The UC system is set to receive an increase of $200.5 million in ongoing general funding for operating costs. Additionally, an increase of $67.8 million to support California resident undergraduate student enrollment.

California State University (CSU) System 

The CSU system is slated for an increase of $211.1 million in ongoing funding for CSU operating costs. Additionally, there is a proposed one-time allocation of $50 million for equipment and infrastructure at CSU university farms.

Developments in Legislation and Regulations Affecting Agricultural Education 

SB 871 (Pan) – Keep Schools Open and Safe Act. If enacted, this bill would add COVID-19 to the list of mandatory vaccines necessary to attend school. Currently, students are required to be vaccinated against Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza, measles, mumps, whooping cough, Poliomyelitis, Rubella, Tetanus, and Varicella.

Proposition 12 – The Sacramento County Superior Court recently ruled on Proposition 12 enforcement on the sales of whole-pork meat in California. The court ruling delays the implementation of Prop 12 regulations on pork until 180 days after the final regulations are enacted (Ostendorf, 2022). Currently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is revising the Prop 12 regulations. The revised regulations are set to be released in April or July of 2022.

Sacramento Scene: New Budget

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

The 2022-23 Proposed California State Budget

At the beginning of January, California Governor Gavin Newsom made public a $286.4 billion budget proposal for the 2022-23 year. The proposed budget is 9% larger than last year’s budget. If passed, this budget would be the largest in California’s history. It is estimated that there will be a $21 billion surplus of discretionary money in addition to the billions of additions for schools, pension programs, and the rainy day fund (Cal Matters, 2022).

The proposed budget is a starting point for the negotiations with the legislature until the close of the session in June.  

Below is a breakdown of what the proposed budget holds for agricultural education:

Proposition 98 (collectively referred to as K-14 schools) Funding 

The healthy projection of general funding has substantially increased Proposition 98 funding for K-12 schools and community colleges for the upcoming year. Total Prop 98 funding is set at $102 billion, an increase of $8.2 billion from last year. This funding would be the highest in California’s history (Department of Finance, 2022).

Prop 98 Rainy Day Fund 

There has been a three-year plan to contribute to the Prop 98 Rainy Day Fund to protect against future financial shortfalls. The project has been to put away $9.7 billion for future needs. The 2022-23 contribution to this fund will be $3.1 billion (Department of Finance, 2022).

Projected Declining Enrollment 

Even before the pandemic, the California student population has been in decline. As a result, the current budget amends the Local Control Funding Formula to avoid school districts encountering dramatic single-year funding declines. According to the amendment, school district Average Daily Attendance (ADA) will be calculated on the highest following calculation; current ADA, prior year ADA, or a three-year ADA average (Department of Finance, 2022).

K-12 School Facilities 

In 2016 California voters approved Proposition 51 which authorized $7 billion in bonds for K-12 school facility construction. The 2022-23 budget allocates the remaining $1.7 billion in funding to reach the $7 billion included in Prop 51. Because Prop 51 is sunsetting 2022-23, the proposed budget directs $1.3 billion in one-time funding for school construction in 2022-23 and $925 million in one-time school construction funding for 2023-24 (Department of Finance, 2022). 

Agricultural Career Technical Education (AIG) Incentive Grant Budget AdjustmentThe 2022-23 budget proposes an increase of $2 million in the ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund to support the Agricultural Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program (Department of Finance, 2022). If passed, this would be the first increase in funding to AIG in over 15 years.

Sacramento Scene: Recap

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

For many, the end of the year serves as a time for reflection. The last couple of years have been the most challenging in recent educational history. As our understanding and adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic increases, we move to a more traditional school environment and increasingly familiar educational experience. As we transition, time should be taken to reflect on the accomplishments of agricultural education during the pandemic. The membership of CATA has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility to continue to serve over 92,000 students in agricultural education in California. The accomplishments listed below are a tribute to the work of the membership despite those challenges of 2020 and 2021. Thanks to everyone that continued to contribute to this great profession. Let’s celebrate the positive things that have been accomplished despite the state of the world. This is not a comprehensive list of the achievements of our profession, merely highlights. 

California Agricultural Teachers’ Association 2020

  • Pushed back a proposed 50% reduction in Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG), K-12 Strong WorkForce, and Ag Incentive Grant funding in the California State Budget.
  • Nearly $1 million in grant funds was awarded to the AgAlign Certification project to continue the student certification initiative started in the Central Region.
  • Implementation of virtual CDE contests facilitated by the CATA membership.
  • First virtual CATA Summer Conference provided at no cost to the CATA membership.
  • Language inserted into Perkins V clearly defines Career Technical Student Organizations replacing the vague leadership development language.

California Agricultural Teachers’ Association 2021 

  • $150 million in additional funding was added to CTEIG funding, with this addition bringing the total available secondary CTE funding to nearly $500 million annually.
  • CATA membership is at an all-time organization high.
  • Highest recorded attendance at the CATA Summer Conference.
  • The curricular redesign of the Delta Conference occurs, where the new Cal-Delta will debut in 2022, increasing access to this transformational professional development event.

CA FFA 2020

  • Two forgiven PPP Loans to CA FFA to offset $160,000 in salaries.
  • CA FFA was released from all State FFA Conference contracts.
  • 97% return or credit of all State FFA Conference down payments.
  • Implementation of virtual Greenhand, MFE, ALA, and SLE conferences.
  • The debut of the first-ever virtual State FFA Conference.
  • CA FFA member David Lopez elected to National FFA office.

CA FFA 2021

  • First-ever FFA Caucus was created in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • In-person Greenhand, MFE, ALA, and SLE conferences reconvened.
  • 29 CA FFA students represented California as finalists in the National Proficiency Awards program.
  • 22 CA FFA Agriscience research projects were recognized at the National Level.
  • California teams won the following National CDE contests: Ag Issues, Livestock Evaluation, Marketing Plan, Parliamentary Procedure, and Veterinary Science.
  • Sixty-seven teams and individuals represented California at the National Level in Career Development and Leadership Development Events.

During this holiday season, take some time to reflect on your personal perseverance and accomplishments during the pandemic. An inventory of individual and professional achievements can quantify the growth and success that you have experienced since the world changed in the Spring of 2020. 

Take time to rejuvenate and connect with family and friends during the break. A spring full of in-person events and face-to-face conferences is just around the corner.

Vaccine Mandate for California Students Announced

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

At the beginning of October, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a COVID vaccine mandate for California students 12 years of age and up.

The Governor’s office also stated that teachers and school staff would be held to the same vaccination standard and timeline under the new requirement. Currently, teachers and staff can provide proof of vaccination or submit a weekly COVID test (Gutierrez, 2021)

First, the mandate cannot go into effect until COVID vaccines are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, vaccines for students 12-15 only have emergency authorization by the FDA. Therefore, the mandate would not go into effect until the next term after approval. Terms are either January 1st or July 1st. Most experts predict that won’t happen until July 2022 (Gutierrez, 2021)

The mandate will apply to all students at public or private schools in California. A student not vaccinated may participate in independent study but may not participate in in-person instruction (Gov.Ca.Gov).

The mandate from the Governor includes exemptions for medical and personal beliefs. As stated on the ‘California Get Vaccinated’ page, “Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to the exemption for both medical reasons and personal beliefs” pursuant to HSC section 120338. Therefore, simply stated because the mandate was established by regulation instead of legislation, it must allow for personal exemption (Gov.Ca.Gov)

Legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate and signed by the Governor could be more restrictive. The California legislature reconvenes on January 3, 2022, to start the next legislative cycle. Several lawmakers are considering legislation to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of school-required shots that qualify only for medical exemptions. 

Currently, students are required to have the following immunizations to attend school in California: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Varicella (Chickenpox), Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and Measles (CCHealth.org).  

Five California districts have approved a student vaccination mandate on their own. Those districts include: Culver City Unified, L.A. Unified, Oakland Unified, Piedmont Unified, and San Diego Unified (Gov.Ca.Gov). Several lawsuits have already been filed against districts in response to the mandates.   

Many details of the mandate have yet to be determined, and the landscape of education has constantly changed during the last two years due to the pandemic. The FDA and the California State Legislature have yet to weigh in on the topic of vaccinating California students. It will likely be the summer of 2022 before the specifics are worked out. 

Sacramento Scene: August 2021

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

California Legislature 

Even though the Legislature is on summer break, there are still many things happening politically in California. The Legislature will return from summer break on August 16 and begin the final push to move current bills by the September 10 deadline. Interestingly, the end of this year’s legislative session is four days before the recall election. Any bill successfully adopted by that deadline must be signed by October 10 by the governor. This timing could create a very unusual situation. There could potentially be a new governor during the 30-day signing period. Technically during a recall, the incumbent would not be out of office until the election is certified. Certification could take longer than usual due to the increased number of mail-in ballots anticipated.

Gubernatorial Recall Election

August 16 is also the day that ballot mailing begins to all registered voters in California. The official California Gubernatorial Recall Election is scheduled for September 14. The following link will supply information about recall voting Recall/quick-facts-2021

The September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election ballot will have two parts.

The first part will be a recall question listed on the ballot as: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”

Following the recall question, all qualified replacement candidates for the office of Governor will be listed. A list of those qualified replacement candidates can be found at 2021-recall/certified-list. Voters will be asked to make a choice for a replacement in the case of a recall. If a majority of the votes on the recall question are “Yes,” Governor Newsom will be removed from office, and the replacement candidate receiving the highest number of votes will be declared elected for the remainder of the Governor’s term of office (ending January 2, 2023).

COVID-19 

Governor Newsom announced a state mask mandate for all students and teachers as in-person instruction resumes across the state. This requirement would require both staff and students to mask during all indoor activities for grades K-12. This announcement has been met with several legal challenges across the state. 

Both the California State University system and the University of California system have mandated that students and faculty be vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall. However, details on enforcement and repercussions have yet to be finalized. 

Vaccination stats are something that is reported daily around Sacramento. For reference, currently, 63.6% of Californians are fully vaccinated, 9.8% are partially vaccinated, and 26.6% have had no vaccination. 

Conclusion 

It will be an interesting fall as new school policies roll out, students go back to in-person instruction, bills are brought to the legislative floor, and ballots for the second-ever California gubernatorial recall are cast. 

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/