Tag Archive: California Education

Feb 21 2013

The California Flap: February 21, 2013

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Santa Monica, CaliforniaSanta Monica, California looking towards Malibu

The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • California laws banning ‘one-stop’ optician shops withstands challenge – A decadelong legal fight that originated in Sacramento to scuttle California’s prohibition on “one-stop-shops” offering both eye examinations and prescription lenses has finally hit the wall with the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to accept the issue for review. Three entities representing “dispensing opticians” – Lenscrafters Inc., Eye Care Centers of America Inc., and the National Association of Optometrists & Opticians – had asked the high court to consider a federal appellate court’s rejection of their challenge to the laws. The plaintiffs went to Sacramento federal court in 2002 over California’s statutes and regulations that reserve to optometrists and ophthalmologists the ability to offer both eye exams and glasses while denying it to optical companies, many of them national chains. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are classified as health care providers, as opposed to opticians, who fill prescriptions for eyewear. The California Optometric Association, which supported the s…
  • In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials – Every year in California, public school administrators assign thousands of teachers to classes for which they lack the credentials or legal authorization to teach. Untrained teachers have been assigned to a variety of difficult classes, including those filled with English-language learners and others with special intellectual and physical needs. Or, in Parker’s case, to teach social studies when they’re credentialed for biology. Nearly 1 in 10 teachers or certificated personnel – more than 32,000 school employees – did not have the credentials or authorization for their positions from 2007 through 2011, according to data compiled by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The problem is greater at low-performing schools, where students are overwhelmingly low-income and Latino. The average rate of improperly assigned teachers at these schools was 16 percent over the same period.
  • California Field Poll: Gov. Brown’s approval rating up in poll – Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating has surged to its highest level since he was elected and, despite still giving the Legislature low marks, a strong majority of voters view the Democrats’ two-thirds supermajority as a positive, according to a Field Poll released Thursday. The survey also found the highest number of voters who think California is headed in the right direction since the summer of 2007. Brown’s approval rating has jumped to 57 percent among those surveyed, with 31 percent disapproving and 12 percent having no opinion. It’s the first time the poll has found that the governor has had a majority of voters approving of his performance since he took office in 2011. The previous Field Poll conducted last fall found 46 percent of voters approving his performance, and 37 percent disapproving. The uptick for the governor is due largely to his ability to erase the state’s chronic budget deficit that voters had become accustomed to, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Pol
  • 572 San Francisco city workers paid more than governor – No fewer than 572 San Francisco city workers and executives made more than Gov. Jerry Brown last year. More than 1,500 city workers made more than state Attorney General Kamala Harris. And that’s without overtime. “That’s pretty staggering,” said Tom Dalzell, head of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which sets pay for state lawmakers. With a salary of $173,987, Brown makes about as much as a senior police sergeant in San Francisco, once premium pay for the cop’s years of service, special training and the like are included.
  • California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’ – For three years, a private citizen named Steve LeBard has led the effort to build a privately funded memorial in Orcutt, California—a tranquil small town located on the Golden State’s gorgeous Central Coast—to honor military veterans. And for the better part of those three years, he has run into a toxic blend of political correctness, anti-Americanism, and bureaucratic senselessness. Today, the memorial, which was to be built with private funds on a small piece of public land, remains unbuilt.
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Feb 04 2013

The California Flap: February 4, 2013

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Victor Davis Hanson warns Californians of higher user fees and traffic tickets to pay for California government

The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • California Tax Move May be at the Local Level – Despite talk in Sacramento that pro-tax advocates might want to push for more statewide tax increases, the move to raise revenue through tax increases well could focus on local governments. Governor Jerry Brown has been clear that he wants the state to live within its means. The state already secured two tax increases through Propositions 30 and 39 last November.While the schools and state agencies will see revenue from those ballot propositions, local governments feel left out. Moreover, the governor’s pledge to keep a reign on the state finances does not reference local taxes.Already, legislation has been introduced to make it easier to raise local taxes. Bills to lower the two-thirds vote for earmarked local taxes have been introduced to allow for 55-percent votes for schools and libraries. Transportation interests are also waging a campaign to get a lower standard to pass transportation measures.
  • California lawmaker wants to banish sugary drinks from CalFresh menu – Californians who get help under CalFresh, the food stamps program, may soon be put on a diet by state lawmakers, who are considering barring use of the benefits to buy sugary sodas and other fattening beverages.State Sen. Michael J. Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) introduced legislation that proposes to modify the list of allowable food items that can be purchased under CalFresh to exclude many sweetened beverages containing more than 10 calories per cup.“With the diabetes and obesity epidemic in the Central Valley and throughout California, SB 134 is simply the first step in trying to reverse this alarming trend, particularly among children,” Rubio said.

    He said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “reports that over 20% of Californians are obese, but could well exceed 45% if trends continue.”

  • California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders – By falling in line with other states, California is abandoning its push for all eighth-graders to take algebra.Last month, the State Board of Education unanimously shifted away from a 15-year policy of expecting eighth-graders to take Algebra I. The state will allow them to take either Algebra I or an alternate course that includes some algebra. New state standardized tests will focus on the alternate course — the same one adopted by most states under the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all. They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they’re prepared.

    The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor…

  • Bill would allow charging commercial properties a bigger parcel tax – A newly elected assemblymember has introduced a bill that could make parcel taxes more attractive to school districts by allowing them to impose different tax rates on residential and commercial properties.The bill, AB 59, by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would nullify a state Appeals Court ruling in December overturning an Alameda Unified School District parcel tax that levied one rate for residential and small commercial properties, and another for larger commercial properties. Bonta also represents Alameda.A product of Proposition 13, parcel taxes typically are a flat tax imposed on every real estate parcel regardless of its size or use. They are one of the few ways school districts can raise additional revenues on their own. Parcel taxes require a two-thirds majority to pass, although this year the Legislature will consider a constitutional amendment lowering the requirement to 55 percent.
  • Kevin L. James a Long Shot in Race for Mayor of Los Angeles – Kevin L. James, a conservative talk show host running for mayor of Los Angeles, was sitting in his campaign office recently pondering which was his bigger obstacle to victory: being openly Republican, or being openly gay.
  • California teachers pension fund faces $64 billion deficit – The trust fund that provides pensions to retired teachers has a $64 billion deficit and would need a $4.5 billion per year infusion of revenue to become fully solvent, according to a new internal study.The California State Teachers Retirement System produced the report in response to a legislative resolution.Its release came just days after the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, indirectly chided Gov. Jerry Brown for ignoring “huge unfunded liabilities associated with the teachers’ retirement system and state retiree health benefits” in his new budget.
  • Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up – Secure in this state’s history and mythology, the venerable Midway-Sunset oil field near here keeps producing crude more than a century after Southern California’s oil boom. Many of its bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize.
  • Cardinal in Los Angeles Is Removed From Duties – Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who retired less than two years ago as the leader of the nation’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, was removed from all public duties by his successor, Archbishop José H. Gomez, as the church complied with a court order to release thousands of pages of internal documents that show how the cardinal shielded priests who sexually abused children.
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Jan 31 2013

The California Flap: January 31, 2013

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The California Legislature is in session.

Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

Around the Capitol today:

Lawmakers are holding a press conference pledging their support for a federal immigration overhaul. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will be joined by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens; Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella; Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo; Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento; and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in room 317 of the State Capitol.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ – The Napa Valley Unified School District had a quandary: The district needed a new high school in American Canyon, but taxpayers appeared unwilling to take the financial hit required to build it.So in 2009, the district took out an unusual loan – $22 million with no payments due for 21 years. By 2049, when the debt is paid, it will have cost taxpayers $154 million – seven times the amount borrowed.School board member Jose Hurtado said he stands by the deal. But if it were a mortgage, he acknowledged, “we would run.”Napa is one of at least 1,350 school districts and government agencies across the nation that have turned to a controversial form of borrowing called capital appreciation bonds to finance major projects, a California Watch analysis shows. Relying on these bonds has allowed districts to borrow billions of dollars while postponing payments in some cases for decades.
  • California taxes surge in January, report says – California was flooded with tax dollars in January, according to a new report, and the state received $5 billion more revenue this month than Gov. Jerry Brown had anticipated.The Wednesday report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows a stark reversal for the state budget. At the end of November, tax revenue had fallen almost $1 billion short in the current fiscal year, according to figures from Brown’s Department of Finance.Now the state appears to be $5 billion ahead, which could provide further evidence for the governor’s declaration that California has emerged from its financial crisis.The analyst’s office floated three possible causes for the surge in tax revenue. The most positive theory is also the simplest — the economy has improved and there’s more income to tax.The others are less optimistic. It’s possible that wealthy residents, fearful that federal budget negotiations would increase their taxes, decided to cash out investments early. If so, that means the s…
  • PPIC Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship – A new statewide poll finds Californians fearful of mass shootings and strongly in favor of more gun control, while also supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday night also finds more optimism about the state’s economy than at anytime since 2007.”Still,” says PPIC pollster and president Mark Baldassare, “many Californians are expressing concerns about the direction of the economy and the state budget situation.”But it’s the California reaction to recent news headlines that offers an early view on what could become potent political issues during the 2013 legislative season in Sacramento and next year’s statewide elections.65 percent of those polled say the government is not doing enough to regulate access to guns, and an equal number support a nationwide ban on semi-automatic style assault weapons.
  • PPIC Poll: Californians upbeat over future, budget plan – Californians are more optimistic about the future of the state than at any time since before the recession and are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budgeting approach after voters approved higher taxes to help balance the state budget, according to a poll released Wednesday.The Democratic governor’s job approval rating reached a record high 51 percent in the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, with even a slim majority of Republicans giving a thumbs-up to his recent budget proposal.The poll also found broad support for increased gun controls and changes to current immigration laws that would allow a path to citizenship. A majority support the federal health care overhaul that already is under way in California.The percentage of adults who said the state is headed in the right direction was 51 percent, the first time a majority of people said that since January 2007.
  • For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut – Is Lefty’s stance on California’s tax hikes a sign of things to come for millionaire athletes?The Golden State’s new 13.3 percent income tax on top earners prompted golfer Phil Mickelson to say earlier this month he was considering a move, and according to the accountants who advise millionaire athletes, he was just saying what a lot of jocks were already thinking. Federal taxes on the top income bracket just rose by roughly 5 percent, and, while there’s nothing rich athletes can do about that, they are paying attention to which states dip into their game checks — and how much they take.“They’re going to have an exodus of people,” said John Karaffa, president of ProSport CPA, a Virginia-based firm that represents nearly 300 professional athletes, primarily in basketball and football. “I think they’ll see some [leave California] for sure. They were already a very high tax state and it’s getting to a point where folks have to make a business decision as well as a lifestyle decision.”
  • Legislation proposed to help California launch healthcare overhaul – The state Legislature gaveled in a special session on healthcare Monday, pushing forward with sweeping proposals to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.The measures, including a major expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program for the poor, would cement the state’s status as the nation’s earliest and most aggressive adopter of the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in January 2014, the law requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session so healthcare bills that he signs can take effect within 90 days rather than next year.
  • Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion – As state lawmakers propose a major expansion of Medi-Cal to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, county officials are raising concerns that the proposal could siphon critical dollars from their safety-net programs.On Monday, legislative leaders in both houses sponsored bills that would dramatically expand the state’s public insurance program. Under the proposals, individuals earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level — or $15,415 a year — would be covered, potentially adding more than 1 million Californians to the Medi-Cal rolls.The federal government would subsidize costs for the first three years, phasing down to 90% afterward.Currently, counties receive state funding to care for the uninsured. But Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if the state were to administer the Medi-Cal expansion it may reduce the roughly $2 billion it gives to counties each year to cover the new costs. In his proposed budget, the governor said the state might also shift…
  • State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate – A state commission has ruled that the state must reimburse school districts about $1 billion in mandated special education costs dating back 20 years. But like many protracted mandate cases, the victory is largely one of principle. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to include a small payback in next year’s budget, and the dollars will come from funding within Proposition 98, so it will essentially involve shifting education dollars around.The unreimbursed expenses are for intervention plans for special education students identified with behavior problems. In the early 1990s the State Board of Education, under orders from the Legislature, prescribed interventions that teachers should incorporate into individual education plans, known as IEPs, according to Paul Golaszewski, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office who has followed the case.
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary – L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretaryThe departure of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised new questions over what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would do if he is offered the job – either now or after July 1, when his term as mayor expires. | Also: Doug McIntyre on the mayor’s next moveVillaraigosa was in South Korea for the Special Olympics and is not expected to return until Thursday.
  • Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!! – Richard Rider, the dean of the small-government/low-tax movement in San Diego County, has come up with some stunning number-crunching on his blog:“Here’s the fact that EVERYONE (including me) initially undervalued concerning [Rancho Santa Fe pro golfer Phil] Mickelson and CA state income taxes. Starting in 2013, Mickelson’s NET state income tax has jumped 83.6%! And yes, this huge increase hits most Californians making more than $2 million income.“Here’s why. Until 2013, state income taxes were deductible for federalincome tax purposes. Starting in 2013, for the really rich, this deductibility largely goes away (as does deducting property taxes and many other deductions). For people with over $2 million of income, they lose 80% of such deductions.“With Proposition 30 passed in November, CA has raised its income tax on the wealthy by 29%. The combined tax increase is breathtaking. Do the math, and you find that in 2011 the net CA income tax for Mickelson was 6.7% In 2013 his net CA income tax is 12.3% — an increase of 83.6%.”This is mind-boggling. No wonder Phil said he was contemplating “drastic changes.”
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May 07 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 7, 2012

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Mission San Fernando

Good Monday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

California Governor Jerry Brown will be attending a memorial honoring fallen police officers.

Gov. Jerry Brown joins law enforcement officials from throughout the state at Capitol Mall to remember fallen peace officers, including eight who died in 2011.

This is the 36th year for the annual memorial ceremony. In a statement released before last year’s memorial, Brown called it “a somber reminder of the bravery and valor of the men and women behind the badge who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe.”

On to today’s California headlines:

 Schwarzenegger vs. GOP, for old times’ sake

Arnold Schwarzenegger has mostly stayed out of the political ring in California since packing his boxes and moving out of the state Capitol 16 months ago.

But he decided to throw a punch over the weekend at his fellow California Republicans — and the GOP faithful jabbed back.  In truth, both sides doth protest too much… and have done so already.  Multiple times, in fact.

Everything Schwarzenegger said in his weekend op-ed column in the Los Angeles Times had a familiar ring to it.  Even his anecdote about falling in love with the Republican party in the late 1960s, via a Richard Nixon speech, was a throwback to the rousing open of his August 2004 prime time speech to the Republican National Convention.

California controller seeks return of redevelopment agency property, assets transferred last year

Last November, San Jose gave the Oakland A’s an option to buy downtown land for a new ballpark. But the deal wasn’t intended simply to boost the stadium plan; it also aimed to protect the land from the state, which was seeking to nab the assets of city redevelopment agencies in order to plug its budget holes.

Now it appears the move may have come too late.

Other cities around the Bay Area made similar maneuvers to keep threatened projects alive, and they all may find those redevelopment-related deals in the state’s cross hairs as officials argue over the effective date of the law passed last year that ultimately killed the agencies.

Oakland city officials could be on the hook, although they insist they aren’t worried by their decision in March to sign a $3.5 million redevelopment-funded contract for planning work and an environmental impact review on a new coliseum project.

And in Santa Clara, officials say they are confident their contracts for the $1.2 billion 49ers stadium project that recently broke ground — and depended initially on up to $40 million in redevelopment agency funding — made it under an allowable time frame.

But state officials charged with implementing the law that shifted redevelopment agency property tax revenue from city projects to schools and other government programs say the law is clear: Any asset transferred last year from the redevelopment agencies to other government entities after Jan. 1, 2011,

about the time Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to kill the agencies became known, through June 28, 2011, must be returned. And any contracts that redevelopment agencies signed with outside parties after June 28, the date Brown signed the law, also aren’t viable.

Californians to vote once again on modifying term-limits law

For the third time since Californians embraced some of the strictest term limits in the nation 22 years ago, opponents are imploring voters to loosen them.

This time, a carefully crafted initiative on the June ballot — one of only two statewide measures — has fans of the term-limits law worried.

At first glance, the measure appears strict: It would reduce the overall amount of time a lawmaker can serve in Sacramento from 14 years to 12. And its greatest political selling point is it wouldn’t benefit any current politicians, unlike two previous initiatives that voters rejected.

“This design carries with it less appearance of self-dealing and self-interest,” said Lew Uhler, a leading proponent of the 1990 term-limits initiative. “It will be more difficult to defeat.”

By shaving two years off the existing lifetime limit, Proposition 28 proponents were able to list it on the ballot as “Limits on Legislators’ Terms” — an alluring title, given the public’s continuing support for limits.

It certainly sounded good to Gilroy Republican Edwin Natividad. “I’m for it because I’m for term limits,” said Natividad, a 49-year-old postal carrier.

But the measure also allows lawmakers to spend all 12 years in one legislative house, doubling the amount of time Assembly members could serve there. They’re now limited to three two-year terms; senators are restricted to two four-year terms.

CEO Mag Taps CA Worst State to do Business – Again

Chief Executive Magazine’s annual survey of the Best & Worst states for business puts California in a familiar spot: #50. California was named the worst place to do business while Texas retained its position as the best.

The survey was conducted with 650 CEOs from across the country who were asked to evaluate states on a number of issues such as regulations, tax policies, workforce quality, educational resources, quality of living and infrastructure.

The magazine’s editor–in-chief, J.P. Donlon said, “CEOs tell us that California seems to be doing everything possible to drive business from the state.”

Enjoy your morning and here is Dan Walters Daily Video: California’s school system is languishing

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May 02 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 2, 2012

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Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, California

Good Wednesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session. California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions will begin at noon.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

California Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles today promoting a Pet Lover’s License Plate.

California’s first dog, Sutter Brown, has a barking gig in Los Angeles today.

Sutter is joining Gov. Jerry Brown, actor Pierce Brosnan and dog whisperer Cesar Millan to promote the state’s Pet Lover’s License Plate, which would help fund spay and neuter programs. The presser starts at 2:30 p.m. at Petco, 1873 Westwood Blvd.

How is Sutter getting to L.A.? “FedEx,” joked Brown spokesman Gil Duran via Twitter.

Yeah, right. The Humane Society’s Jennifer Fearing tweeted: “Gas up the @HumaneSociety Prius! Road trip with @SutterBrown! I’m bringing sandwiches, per his request.”

The governor, who recently signed Assembly Bill 610 to extend the period of time for pre-ordering the plate, will take part later this afternoon in a Milken Institute 2012 Global Conference discussion on attracting and keeping out-of-state investment.

On to today’s California headlines:

California tax revenue $3 billion less than target, report says

The legislative analyst’s office has a new number that is adding to California’s financial headache: $3 billion. That’s the total amount that tax revenue has lagged behind goals set by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration in the current fiscal year.

The shortfall was detailed in a report released on Tuesday by the nonpartisan office, which provides budget advice to lawmakers.

Much of that gap comes from a disappointing April, the most important month for income taxes. Income taxes were $2.07 billion short of the $9.43-billion goal, and corporate taxes fell $143 million short of an expected $1.53 billion, according to the report.

When April’s poor results are tacked on to earlier shortfalls, the state has fallen about $3 billion behind tax goals, the LAO said. The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s already cautioned Tuesday that poor tax revenue was imperiling California’s financial recovery.

Dan Walters: California’s school finance system is both convoluted and irrational

Thousands of California teachers were given layoff notices a few weeks ago because state law requires the slips to be sent out each spring if administrators and trustees believe cuts are needed to balance their budgets.

Later this month, the districts must decide whether to continue or rescind those layoffs on the assumption that by then they’ll know the state of their 2012-13 finances.

That’s problematic in any year, because the Legislature, which supplies most of the schools’ money, typically doesn’t settle the state budget until weeks or even months later.

A law passed by voters in 1988 is supposed to govern what schools receive, but its numbers are subject to annual manipulation, such as “deferring” payments for a year or more.

State and local school financing has dropped by about $700 per pupil since 2008 and 20 percent of state appropriations are being deferred, thus requiring districts to use their reserves or borrow money.

24 San Fernando Valley schools seek charter status

Two dozen high-performing Los Angeles schools are seeking to become charter campuses in search of more money and increased flexibility.

The list reads like an honor roll of academic excellence. Every school has surpassed the state’s target score of 800 on the Academic Performance Index, which is based on standardized tests.

Although many of the schools considered the move in hopes of greater funding, campus officials said they also began to see the benefits of increased freedom over such things as curriculum, testing and schedules.

“Finance is one key factor but not the only one,” said Jose Cole-Gutierrez, who directs the charter school division of the L.A. Unified School District.

The Board of Education heard from several supporters of the schools’ plans Tuesday; it’s expected to vote on the proposals in June.

Charter schools are free from some restrictions that govern traditional schools. Independent charters sever most ties with the school system; L.A. Unified provides periodic oversight.

The 24 San Fernando Valley schools don’t want to go that far. They are seeking to become “affiliated” or “dependent” charters. Affiliated charters are still bound by the district’s union contracts, for example.Becoming a charter of any sort results in a key advantage: The schools get a block grant from the state — about $385 per student — that can deliver more dollars with fewer rules.

“It’s quite positive” for the schools, said L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy, adding that the increased money comes from the state, not from district resources, during a period of sweeping budget cuts.

Herdt: Attack of the independent voters?

Steve Peace is a former Democratic lawmaker from San Diego, producer of the cult satire film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” and co-chairman of the Independent Voter Project.

He also was the behind-the-scenes architect of Proposition 14, the measure that created the top-two primary system in California that will debut in June. Under its rules, the major parties are no longer guaranteed a ticket on November’s general election ballot.

Only the top two finishers in each race will move on, and candidates’ party labels guarantee them nothing. Every voter can vote for any candidate. It is a jungle-style system that Democratic and Republican party leaders abhor.

Peace likes that last aspect just fine. In fact, it’s largely what led him to embrace the independent voter movement and to advocate for the top-two primary.

Unless they adapt, Peace believes that political parties are destined to go the way of landline telephones and 2D movies.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily Video: The Golden State’s population slows:

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