Governor's Proposed Budget --Items Related to Education by Kay Bertken, Education Director

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News

Governor Brown’s new budget proposals include increases in school district allocations, advancing the schedule for full implementation of the state’s local control funding goals.  In addition, the governor has proposed specific increases in special education funding and accountability provisions based on the poor performance of the state’s disabled students under California’s new accountability system.  Under that system, districts are required to get technical assistance from their county Office of Education when any designated subgroup gets multiple failing grades.
Two-thirds of the 228 districts in the state that were identified as needing that technical assistance were identified on the basis of the poor performance of their special education students.   In Fresno Unified, disabled students are in the lowest evaluative category for very high suspension rates, very low graduation rates, and English Language Arts  test scores. They were in the next to the lowest category in math.  As part of its bargaining agreement with FTA the district has agreed to fund additional special education staff, fund a specific recruitment and retention effort, plus establish a labor-management committee to make recommendations for the improvement of special education. It has designated two million dollars to fund those recommendations. The State’s accountability model requires assistance when multiple low measures are associated with any designated subgroup; but if an ethnic subgroup receives either the lowest (red) or the next lowest (orange) designation in math or language arts testing, the district must address that failing and its planned amelioration in its Local Control funding plan. Fresno Unified’s African American students tested poorly in both language arts and math.  Several months ago, the district hired a coordinator for its African American Academic Acceleration Plan to develop and provide services that would specifically target the  needs of those students.  The new contract with FTA provides for resource counseling assistants at eight elementary schools and teachers at middle and high schools who will work with that coordinator in providing guidance and support.

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Education Committee