Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rally against cuts to Stage 3 funding for child care

For more information, please contact Fred Munoz at 323.421.2602 or

Para mas informacion, pongase en contacto con Fred Munoz al 323.421.2602 o

Friday, October 8, 2010

California Budget Deal Done -- Finally

On the 100th day of the fiscal year, California lawmakers approved the tardiest budget in state history this morning after a marathon session at the Capitol.
The $87.5 billion spending plan relies on rosy assumptions about revenues from taxpayers and the federal government, as well as reductions to state worker pay, prisons, and social services. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expects to sign it as soon as today, enacting the final budget of his gubernatorial career.

The last vote was cast in the Senate at 8:25 a.m. The package of spending bills had been held up in the upper house for hours as Democratic leaders tried to overcome the loss of three of their members - two to illness and one to a court date in Los Angeles.

State leaders faced a $19 billion deficit that the result of faulty solutions in last year's budget, as well as a prolonged economic downturn and a permanent imbalance between how much California spends and how much it receives in revenues.

Republicans and Democrats disagreed for months over how much spending to cut and whether to raise taxes. But their debate in the final days ultimately seemed to hinge on whether Democrats and labor unions would agree to cut pensions for future state workers, which Schwarzenegger demanded all year.

In the end, Democrats helped broker a deal between Schwarzenegger and the largest state worker union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, to establish a lower tier of pension benefits for workers hired starting in mid-November.

By Kevin Yamamura and Torey Van Oot
Published: Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 - 8:57 am

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Budget Update

The State Level

The Legislature and the Governor broke another record this year. This year’s budget impasse is the longest in history. As it turns out, the second week of October and a budget deal seems imminent.

The Budget Conference Committee is meeting today to finalize the last negotiations put forth by the Big 5. It is assumed that an announcement will be made later today or tomorrow about a final deal and that the Governor will sign the bill by week’s end.

No one seems to be excited about this year’s budget deal, and in fact, additional reductions were offered in an effort to close the $19 Billion budget deficit. These reductions, include a $48 million reduction to child care (although we have yet to see what those reductions are).

The Governor did sign and veto child care legislation. Below is a summary of those bills:

A summary of the bills that resulted in action by the Governor:

Approved by Governor with Chapter Number:

AB 222 (Adams) (Chapter 431) – As of January 1, 2011, would require Trustline registry of persons 18 years and older providing care or supervision in an ancillary child care center (i.e. athletic club, business for children of clients or customers). Fees consistent with the cost of processing the applications and maintaining the Trustline registry would be imposed.

AB 434 (Block) (Chapter 229) – Would allow the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program site supervisor to be included under the direct service costs as long s 85 percent of their time is spent at the program site. Approved by the Governor on September 23, 2010.

AB 2084 (Brownley) (Chapter 593) – Would require licensed child care facilities to follow guidelines relating to serving beverages. When milk is served to children two years of age and older, is to be one percent or nonfat, would limit juice servings, and prohibit serving beverages with sweetener additives. Certain exemptions with physician notice would apply and amendments would not apply to beverages provided by a parent or legal guardian for their child.

AB 2178 (Torlackson) (Chapter 462) – Would allow local education agencies (LEAs) to share pupil data with their contracted ASES Programs and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLCs). Data in the aggregate to include information on school attendance, standardized test scores, high school exit exam scores, English language development test placement or reclassification score, and California Health Survey results.

SB 798 (DeSaulnier) (Chapter 479) – With respect to 21st Century CLCs, would require the reallocation of excess funds in a fiscal year as follows: 35 percent to centers serving high school students; 50 percent to centers serving elementary and middle school students; and 15 percent to summer programs serving elementary and middle school students. Priority would go to programs with expiring grants if the programs have satisfactorily met their projected student outcomes.

SB 1116 (Huff) (Chapter 286) – Would define heritage schools that offer foreign language education for children from 4 years, 9 months to 18 years old for purposes of requiring fingerprinting and background checks on staff, attendance at health and safety training of director, and notifying parents if school does not hold a child care license. Approved by the Governor on September 23, 2010.

SB 1381 (Simitian) (Chapter 705) – Will change the required birthday for kindergarten and 1st grade entry to November 1 for the 2012-13 school year, October 1 for the 2013-14 school year and September 1 for the 2014-15 school year and thereafter. Children whose admission to a traditional kindergarten would be delayed would be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program maintained by the school district. Children enrolled in the transitional kindergarten program will be computed in the average daily attendance of the school district. The district will be limited to counting the child’s attendance for up to two years in kindergarten or two years of transitional kindergarten combined.

SCR 47 (DeSaulnier) (Chapter 78) – States legislative intent to increase funding for State-contracted child care and development centers and preschool programs eligible for the Standard Reimbursement Rate (SRR) as the resources become available to pay adequate staff salaries and benefits, support program quality, and keep programs open to serve low-income children and their families. Filed by Secretary of State on August 1, 2010.

Vetoed by the Governor with his veto message:
AB 1876 (Torlackson) – Would have allowed ASES Programs to operate on weekends, paid from the program’s maximum grant or supplemental grant. The Governor’s veto message stated, in part, “The need is so great for these valuable after school programs that there is still not enough funding to meet the long waiting list of schools and students seeking to have an after school program. As a result, with so many program applications pending on the waiting list to start offering services during the regular school week, I do not believe it is prudent to expand to weekend hours at this time. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill.”

AB 2478 (Mendoza) – Any person entering school property or its adjacent who is disruptive with the intent to threaten the immediate public safety of any student arriving, attending or leaving any preschool, kindergarten or grades 1 to 8 will be guilty of a public offense. The Governor’s veto message stated, ““I believe it is important to ensure the physical safety of all students, but the protection provisions of this bill do not include students in grades 9 through 12. I am also concerned that the provisions of this bill would likely be ineffective, limited to situations where the person charged with interfering with the peaceful conduct of a school would have to have the specific intent to physically harm students rather than causing a disruption that causes physical harm. Since this bill is too narrowly drawn and otherwise duplicates existing law governing the crime of making criminal threats, I am unable to sign this measure.”

Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield Announces Budget to Be Signed Today!

First, the big news - the legislature is meeting to vote on a budget today, and Bob is optimistic it will pass. Although the proposed budget is not as responsible as the California Jobs Budget Bob put together earlier this year, it is not as bad as many had feared it would be.

The budget is more significant for what it doesn't do than what it does. While it has contains some tough cuts, it does not decimate school funding, it does not cut college and university funds, it does not eviscerate health and social service programs, and it does not cause the loss of 430,000 public and private sector jobs that would have happened if the governor's budget plan had prevailed.

There are no new taxes on families, it has a prudent reserve, and it includes proposed reforms of the budget process itself.

More information to follow!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

California state budget deal has holes, analysts say!

The California state budget accord to be voted on Friday relies on $5 billion in federal money, $10 billion in Wall Street loans, and some pretty big assumptions, say some political observers.

October 4, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)-California officials are high-fiving themselves over the announcement that they have reached a compromise to close the state’s $19.1 billion budget deficit, ending a record-breaking impasse. The new “accord,” reached three months after the start of the fiscal year, doesn’t raise taxes as Democrats wished, but also doesn’t dismantle the state’s welfare system, as Republicans had proposed.

After a five-hour meeting Saturday between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic and Republican heads of the state Senate and Assembly, Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg told the press, “We have a comprehensive agreement.” More details, he said, would be released Thursday at a hearing and a vote could come as early as Friday.

There is only one problem, say several analysts: nothing is signed yet.

“Don’t count your chickens, yet,” says Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “The budget still has a long way to go before it is finally enacted.”

"A lot can still happen to derail this,” adds Sherry Jeffe, a political scientist at The University of Southern California.

Details which have trickled into various press accounts include $7.5 billion in spending cuts and the suspension of a corporate tax break valued about $1.4 billion. Alicia Trost, a spokesperson for Mr. Steinberg, says that the so-called “gang of five” also agreed to erase another $1.4 billion by accepting an independent legislative analyst's estimate of incoming revenue, which was that much higher than Governor Schwarzenegger’s. There is also the assumption of $5 billion in federal funds, and $10 billion in loans from Wall Street.

But one unknown is how legislators will respond to the sale of 11 state office buildings, which the state would rent for the long term. Two of the buildings are at San Francisco’s Civic Center, which would bring in over $1 billion immediately, but would cost $30 million annually to rent.

More questions surround what kind of long-term credit the state can arrange, given its falling bond ratings.

The budget plan reportedly relies on bogus economic assumptions and unrealistic expectations about federal aid, says Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “They debated, deliberated, and delayed – and then ended up faking it anyway," he says. "Never have so many Californians waited for so long for so little.”

One of the biggest reasons why California set an all-time record for budget lateness this year, says Ms. Trost, was that for each of the two previous years, the state has had to close the largest state deficits in American history.

“Both sides have already compromised and cut to deep bone,” says Trost, “which made getting this far harder than ever.” Schwarzenegger has come under criticism for his decision to furlough state workers three days a month, essentially cutting their pay 14 percent.

The California Supreme Court on Monday upheld Schwarzenegger's order to furlough state workers, handing him a victory for his current budget plans. State employee unions have been challenging Schwarzenegger's order since he implemented the furloughs for more than 200,000 state workers in February of 2009. He later expanded it to three days a month, which has translated to a pay cut of roughly 14 percent for government employees.

Furloughs saved the state's general fund $1.5 billion during the previous two fiscal years and an additional $80 million a month in the fiscal year that began July 1, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the governor's Department of Finance.

The record budget impasse should create new impetus for the passage of Prop. 25, experts say. The ballot initiative would change the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. It also would provide that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day it passes one.

California is one of three states to require two-thirds of legislators to agree before a budget can be passed. Many analysts have said that is one of the keys to why the state seems so dysfunctional and ungovernable.

“A two-thirds requirement enables a smaller group to hold the larger one hostage and demand concessions,” says David Fiorenza, a professor of public sector economics at the Villanova School of Business in Villanova, Pa. “It becomes more of a political science question than a budget issue. If California voters don’t see now how this measure could help its budget impasses, it would baffle me.”

At the moment Prop. 25 has less than 50 percent voter approval, according to the latest Field Poll of California voters.

“The conventional wisdom is that budget stalemate strengthens the argument for the proposition, but just the opposite could be true,” argues Claremont McKenna's Mr. Pitney. “Voters may think, ‘it’s already too easy for those guys to play games.' This measure would make it even easier.”

Article by By Daniel B. Wood

Monday, October 4, 2010

New austerity budget in California

By Olivier Richards

October 4, 2010 - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislative leaders said they had reached an agreement Friday evening to end the state’s budget stalemate by slashing social spending. A vote on the new budget will be held on Thursday.

California is currently entering into its fourth month without a budget, making this the longest stalemate in the state’s history. California currently faces a projected deficit of $19 billion, equivalent to 22 percent of the state’s $84.5 billion budget last year.

State lawmakers refused to provide any details of the agreement that was reached after hours of closed-door meetings in the governor’s office, stating that information on the deal would not come out until Wednesday. Their aim is to force through a quick vote to prevent any public discussion on what will no doubt be further devastating cuts in social programs.

The two main components of the budget, however, are clear: further cuts to social programs (on top of several years of record cuts) and an attack on pensions for state workers. Politicians of both parties agreed to reject any measures that increase taxes on the wealthy or corporations.

Anonymous sources report that the deal will involve $7.5 billion in cuts. Both Republicans and Democrats have agreed not to introduce any broad new taxes. The remainder of the budget deficit is said to consist mainly of accounting manipulations and rosy predictions of future economic growth and aid from the federal government. This means that further cuts in social programs will come with the next round of negotiations.

Republican lawmakers had been aiming to cut around $12 billion from the budget, including eliminating the state’s main welfare program and day care for 140,000 children in low-income families. As part of the agreement, Republicans also allowed a corporate tax break to be suspended for two years, but this was in exchange for a permanent tax break that will primarily benefit corporate giants like Comcast and Microsoft.

In enforcing this attack on California workers, state lawmakers are relying on the support of the trade unions. In particular, the budget deal assumes that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other unions will get their members to accept rollbacks of public employee benefits that were granted 11 years ago.

The 90,500 member SEIU Local 1000 represents nine of the fifteen bargaining units that currently do not have a contract. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers are counting on SEIU pushing through these pension cuts, with the other bargaining units following suit.

Schwarzenegger’s press secretary Aaron McLear said that the governor “came to an agreement on pension reform with the Legislature. [Schwarzenegger has] said since January that he won't sign a budget that doesn't include comprehensive pension reform. That remains the case."

The budget has been negotiated under increasing pressure from bond markets, with state officials warning of dire circumstances if a budget is not passed this week. The state controller, John Chiang, has said that without a budget he would have to start handing out IOUs again, for the third time since the Great Depression.

California is the largest issuer of bonds in the US municipal debt market. During last year’s budget standoff, IOUs were issued in order to maintain cash reserves to pay investors in the debt market. However, investors are beginning to become concerned about the bonds, and California may face yet another cut to its already low credit rating.

Since the state has not passed a budget before the end of the first fiscal quarter, US Bank can suspend the state’s CalCard and Voyager credit cards—used for buying supplies, routine purchases, and gasoline for the state’s fleet—for nonpayment.

More critically, without a state budget, the state cannot seek $10 billion in tax revenue anticipation notes, and then pursue the $7 billion in general obligation bonds. The latter are necessary to fund the construction of highways, schools, courthouses, and flood levees for this fall.

“You can look at the calendar and see that’s getting tight,” Joe Deanda, spokesman for Treasurer Bill Lockyer, said last week. “If nothing happens by next week, it’s really going to make it difficult for our office to access the market. We really risk shutting down all the infrastructure projects and the public works projects and all the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are associated with that.”

The budget stalemate has further exacerbated the funding crisis for education and other public services. The state owes community colleges $840 million, K-12 schools are scrambling for funds, and state employees continue to face furloughs.

Although Californians continue to face record levels of unemployment and social services are needed more than ever, the Republicans and Democrats of the state legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger speak with a single voice on the need to cut spending.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming November elections, the political establishment in California, and nationwide, is moving to the right. The trade unions are rallying behind the gubernatorial campaign of current Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat. Brown has repeatedly insisted on his budget cutting credentials. In addition to promising to “do things that that labor doesn’t like,” Brown has asserted, “If you’re looking for frugality, I’m your man.”

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, has pledged that one of her first acts would be to lay off at least 20,000 state workers. As if to underscore the lack of difference between the two candidates, the headline of the Sacramento Bee the day after the first debate read, “What would they cut?”

Behind these state politicians stands the Obama administration, which has repeatedly rejected federal aid to the states, and in particular to California. After bailing out the banks with trillions of dollars, the universal call throughout the country, and indeed internationally, is for austerity. California is leading the way.

Health Reform Law Made Simple

Friday, October 1, 2010

State Schools Chief O’Connell Joins Educators to Urge End to Budget Impasse

Thousands of Families and Workers are Impacted by Lack of Funding for Child Care

September 30, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA) — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, child care providers, charter school operators, after-school programs, and public school educators today urged the state Legislature and the Governor to immediately pass a state budget that is now a record 92 days late. The budget impasse has resulted in the reduction or loss of early education and child care services for more than 28,000 children and their families, the reduction of hours or layoff of 1,141 child care workers, and the closure or reduction in services at 234 preschool centers or sites.

“Many vital programs and hard-working individuals are being affected by the standoff between the Legislature and the Governor,” said O’Connell. “But none touches the most vulnerable — our children — or creates more havoc with thousands of working parents and their employers than the closure of child care centers. They don’t deserve the anxiety, lost wages, lost educational opportunities, and upheaval caused by the failure to enact a budget. State leaders must do better because Californians need a responsible budget passed now, not later, that protects education.”

About 230,000 children are currently being served in 4,000 centers across the state. Also, about 120,000 children are currently receiving state-subsidized services from private providers, such as family child care homes.

“People up and down the state of California should be outraged by this historic budget impasse,” said Gisselle Acevedo, President and CEO of Para Los NiƱos that operates early childhood education centers, a charter elementary school, after-school programs, and supportive family services in greater Los Angeles. “Leaders in Sacramento should be ashamed of themselves for playing political football with vulnerable children and families. Real people are facing really tragic circumstances. We implore the Governor and the Legislature to do the right thing, right now, by passing a responsible budget immediately!”

O’Connell released preliminary results of a survey conducted last week by the California Department of Education (CDE) on agencies that deliver subsidized part- or full-day child care. Of those agencies that responded:

• 9,917 children are not being served by their full- or part-time preschool programs because of the budget impasse;

• 1,141 adults serving these children at full-day agencies have been laid off or had their hours reduced;

• 18,366 children are in jeopardy of losing their care because their provider is not being reimbursed because of the budget impasse;

• 90 staff serving children whose services are in jeopardy have been laid off or suffered reduced hours of employment at those agencies or providers;

The preliminary survey also revealed that some child care providers have closed and may not reopen even after the budget has been signed:

• 24 full-day preschool programs involving 81 sites closed or did not open on or before July 1;

• 29 full-day preschool programs involving 74 sites are currently operating with reduced hours; and

• 18 part-day preschool programs involving 79 sites also closed or did not open after July 1.

The CDE has no legislative authority to pay preschool programs until the 2010–11 state budget is enacted. Although agencies with CDE contracts are encouraged to have a reserve fund, agencies have difficulty managing the fiscal burden of operating a program over an extended period of time with no income from the state to cover costs. Some preschool centers that have shut down or are about to shut down have exhausted their cash reserves and have borrowed against future state funding.

For information on child care and development programs in California, please visit

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The California Department of Education (CDE) is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. The core purpose of CDE is to lead and support the continuous improvement of student achievement, with a specific focus on closing achievement gaps. For more information, please visit or by mobile device at You may also follow Superintendent O'Connell (@SSPIJack) on Twitter at