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March 18, 2014 > Tell our legislators what you think

Tell our legislators what you think

By Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese

Last summer, the California Legislature approved the biggest changes to education funding in 40 years. The new Local Control Funding Formula gives counties and school districts more control over how they spend state funds. They no longer have to spend money in categories created by the state.

Governor Jerry BrownÕs reforms also:

Evened out the base amount of funding per student by increasing it by an average of $537, or $7,640 per student.

Provided more money for high-needs districts. Districts with low-income students, English learners and foster children will get $1,470 more. Districts with 55 percent of high-needs students will get an extra $1,360 for each of those students.

Required school districts to develop a Local Control Accountability Plan to show the state how the money is being spent and how students are doing in eight areas, including the Common Core Standards for English and Math. These standards, adopted by 48 states, spell out what high school graduates need to know to succeed in college and careers.

The reform plan, which will take eight years to fully implement, restores some of the money lost to education over the years through huge budget cuts. As different parts of the plan are rolled out, there are likely to be changes, as educators, parents and students figure out what works best.

ThatÕs why IÕm inviting you, once again, to travel with me to Sacramento to tell our state elected officials what you think about the changes and how they are working in Santa Clara County or any other topic you feel passionate about.

On Wednesday, April 30, the 12th annual Free Bus Trip to Sacramento, co-sponsored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, will leave at 6 a.m. from the VTA transit center at Eastridge Mall in San Jose and return to the same location at about 6 p.m.

As in other years, state senators and assembly members will visit our group, which will gather in a meeting room at the state capitol, to answer questions and hear opinions, ideas and concerns about California education. We usually fill two buses, bringing 120 to Sacramento for the daylong event that also includes a tour of the capitol and lunch.

Last year, Bus Trip participants heard explanations about the governorÕs education reforms and we were able to give our input before the final bill was approved in July 2013. This year, weÕre going a little earlier Ð end of April instead of the end of May Ð because more legislators will be available to meet with us.

Please join me and my staff on April 30 and make your voices heard!

For more information and to register, visit www.sccgov.org/bustrip or contact Lara McCabe at (508) 299-5030 or email lara.mccabe@bos.sccgov. You can also email me at dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org.

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