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Education Coalition May Revision Letter - May 2020

The Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators.

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EDUCATION COALITION POSITION PAPER: 2020-21 STATE BUDGET 2 Education Coalition Responses to the May Revision for K-12 Education Schools cannot physically reopen safely with the funding level proposed in the May Revision. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous upheaval in the K-12 public education system. The movement to distance learning required school districts to ensure equal access to instruction, which required emergency purchases of electronic devices and internet connectivity. School district and county offices of education leaders were expected to move to distance learning models for all students, including students with disabilities, at a speed to transition with limited access to sufficient tools and professional development needed to ensure a seamless process. Classified staff were also called into action to redesign the methods of delivering school meals while maintaining a new standard of cleaning and safety protocols with insufficient supplies, equipment, and adequate training. As school districts and county offices of education prepare to re-open safely in the fall, it will require significant resources, as unprecedented challenges will remain due to COVID-19. Social distancing will require smaller class sizes and master schedule changes to provide healthy and safe environments for students and staff. Properly disinfecting schools and maintaining safe learning environments will be a top priority for students, staff, and parents. All these efforts will require additional staff and increase costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the state's economy and reduced the state's general fund revenues. This economic downturn creates a negative impact on the Proposition 98 guarantee. For K-14 education, the May Revision estimates a total decline of $19 billion from the Governor's January Budget proposal. The reduction in the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee, when combined with statutory technical adjustments, creates a shortfall of $15.1 billion for K-12 schools over the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 fiscal years. The Education Coalition appreciates the efforts the Governor is making to mitigate the erosion of the Proposition 98 guarantee. Even with these efforts, the May Revision proposes drastic cuts to K-12 education at a time when schools face significant costs related to COVID-19 and as they prepare for re-opening in the fall. It is for these reasons that the Education Coalition must respectfully oppose the proposed cuts in the May Revision to K-12 education and ask that both the Administration and the Legislature look to alternate revenue sources to ensure K-12 schools can provide quality and safe educational environments for its six million students. This is an urgent matter and should be addressed in the June budget to provide enough time for schools to physically reopen safely.

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