charter school financingThis week the legislature reconvenes for the 2015-16 legislative session and below we have outlined how committee changes may impact California charter schools.
The first day of session was actually the first Monday in December when both houses of the legislature met for an organizational session, electing their leadership and swearing in new members.
In addition, on Monday Governor Jerry Brown was sworn in to office for an unprecedented fourth term. If he finishes out his final term in office he will be the longest serving Governor in California’s history. In his inaugural address the Governor did not lay out many specifics for the state but did discuss the state’s overall fiscal situation and some of his long term objectives which include continuing to build the state’s high speed rail line. The Governor also made it clear that he was proud of the work that the state had accomplished with the Local Control Funding Formula and looked forward to continuing to provide more resources for education.
Additionally legislative committee assignments have been made in both houses of the legislature.
For education interests and advocates the chairmanship of education policy and budget subcommittees are very important. The Assembly Education Committee will be chaired by Patrick O’Donnell, a freshman Democratic member and former teacher from Long Beach. Rounding out this committee will be Democrats: McCarty, Santiago, Thurmond and Weber. The Republican Vice-Chair of this committee is Rocky Chavez from San Diego and Young Kim is the other Republican on the committee.
The Assembly Budget Subcommittee with jurisdiction over education issues will be chaired by freshman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento who previously worked for Early Edge California. In the Senate, Carol Liu of Los Angeles County will continue her chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee and Marty Block from San Diego will continue to chair Budget Subcommittee with jurisdiction over education issues. Additional members of the Senate Education Committee include Democrats Block, Hancock, Leyva, Mendoza and Pan with Republican leader Bob Huff serving as the committee’s Vice Chair and Senator Vidak being the other Republican on the committee. This means continuity in the Senate on education and early learning issues while there will be a learning curve for the new chairs in the Assembly.
Also, in the Assembly Shirley Weber will assume the chair of the powerful Budget Committee which could be an excellent sign for educational advocates. Ms. Weber is one of the most knowledgeable and capable members of the Assembly and was formerly a San Diego School Board and charter school board member.
The Governor’s budget is due to come out later this week and you can expect a detailed analysis next week. Once the Governor’s budget is produced legislative budget subcommittees will begin hearing on its policy and fiscal provisions until the beginning of May. After that the Governor will propose a May revision of his January Budget proposal and the full Budget Committees will begin hearing those changes and forwarding items of disagreement to the Joint Budget Conference Committee.
Check back in the coming weeks for more in-depth legislative information focused on California.

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