Sacramento Road Trip 2012
Issue # 1 – Mental Health
With the repeal of AB 3632, Districts are now required to implement the provisions of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 and provide educationally related mental health services to all eligible students. In the past, these services were funded by LA County Department of Mental Health. The approximate projected cost for the Hart District to provide mental health services for students next year will be over $4 million.
Requested Action: Fully fund and support legally required mental health programs.
Issue # 2 – ACLU Lawsuit
In 2010 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of students, filed a class action suit against the State alleging that school districts have charged fees deemed impermissible under Hartzell v. Connell. As the result of the lawsuit, Assemblymen Lara authored AB 165 in an effort to provide school districts with an administrative remedy for dealing with impermissible fees. In October of 2011 Governor Brown vetoed AB 165 resulting in school districts increased vulnerability to individual lawsuits.
Requested Action: Require the California Department of Education (CDE), in conjunction with district superintendents, to develop guidelines and procedures for addressing claims against districts that have allegedly charged impermissible fees.
Issue #3 – Weighted Student Formula
Governor Brown has initiated changes to the funding formula which provides revenue to local school districts. The current method of funding schools, known as the Base Revenue Limit, has not kept pace with urban sprawl and the expansion of the suburban landscape. Governor Brown’s proposed weighted student formula is even more inequitable. The Hart District would lose $29.8 million in revenue based on preliminary figures derived from the proposed weighted student formula. The loss of $29.8 million would result in catastrophic cuts to programs and services for students in the Hart District.
Requested Action: Suspend any plans for implementation of the weighted student formula immediately. Assemble a statewide panel of chief business officers, superintendents, in addition to members of the Governor’s staff to study and develop a plan for the equitable distribution of revenue to local school districts.
Issue #4 – Impact of State Budget Cuts
The approval rating for the Governor’s tax initiative appears to be declining. If in fact the trigger is pulled mid-year 2012/13, Hart’s revenue limit funding will be further reduced by $8.1 million. In order to maintain fiscal solvency during the State’s fiscal crisis, the District has already increased class sizes; cut programs, instructional days, and employee benefits; and reduced employees in the classified, administrative, and certificated ranks. Options for reducing expenditures by $8.1 million could include laying-off 115 teachers, resulting in a class size of 43, or reducing the school year by 13 more days, bringing the instructional year down to 162 days. Additional lay-offs and reduced instructional days will be devastating, and the victims will be our students and the State of California. K-12 education has taken all the cuts it can withstand.
Requested Action: The Governor needs to restore funding to education to 2007/08 levels.