The nature of the State's budget building process can be characterized as fluid. We cannot predict what the Governor’s May Revised budget will look like since discussions on what to include are ongoing. What I can tell you is that as of the day this article is posted, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) released their in-depth report on the Governor’s January Proposed higher education budget plan.
The LAO is recommending that the Legislature approve the Governor’s proposed base adjustments for COLA and base increase and consider adding more to the base increase at the May Revise. They’re also recommending that the Legislature take a close look at system wide growth at the May Revise and possibly make adjustments due to low enrollment growth.
Additionally, the Department of Finance released their Monthly Cash Report and reported that the preliminary General Fund agency cash for January was $747 million above the 2017-18 Governor’s Budget forecast. Interestingly, the Department of Finance cash report is usually different from that of the State Controller; however, this time, both agencies had receipts significantly above projections.
Friday was the deadline to submit bills for introduction for the first year of the 2017-18 legislative sessions. There were hundreds of bills introduced. There were a number of pieces of legislation dealing with higher education. I want to share a few of the pertinent bills with you:
SB 577 (Dodd) would implement a community college teacher credentialing program.
SB 769 (Hill) would authorize the expansion of the Community College Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program by increasing the number of programs from 15 to 30, authorizing more than one program per district, and would limit the prohibition against duplicative degrees to those that occur at UC or CSU within 100 miles of the community college.
AB 504 (Medina) would require the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to establish standard definitions and measures of the terms “equity” and “significant underrepresentation” for use in the student equity plans of community college districts. This bill would also require that Student Success and Support Program funding be used to support the implementation of student equity plan goals and the coordination of services for the targeted student population through evidence-based practices.
AB 637 (Medina) would require the campus-based research to use a standard definition and measure of “equity” provided by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges. The bill would also require the issue of “significant underrepresentation” to be addressed based on a standard definition of that term provided by the chancellor.
AB 705 (Irwin) would require a community college district or college to use high school transcript data in the assessment and subsequent assignment of students to English and mathematics coursework. The bill would prohibit a community college district or college from requiring students to enroll in remedial coursework that lengthens their time to complete a degree unless research shows that those students are highly unlikely to succeed in college-level coursework. The bill would authorize a community college district or college to require students to enroll in additional concurrent support during the same semester that they take the college-level English or mathematics course.
The Federal Department of Education staff released their preliminary recommendation on the renewal of recognition of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). The staff recommended that an extension of recognition be granted for one and half years.
The Department had previously given ACCJC a year to address several issues that they identified, including concerns about the consistency of its decision-making process, acceptance of decisions by academics and its adherence to due process.
The staff's recommendation will go before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). The NACIQI decision is advisory and ultimately, the Secretary for Education will make the final decision.