California Educator

August 2016

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SETTLEMENT Attorney General Ensures K12, Other Virtual Charter Schools Play by the Rules I N J U L Y, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that the Bureau of Chil- dren's Justice and False Claims Unit of the California Department of Justice reached a $168.5 million settlement agreement with online charter school operator K12 Inc. over alleged violations of California's false claims, false advertising and unfair competition laws. Harris' office said that K12, a for-profit Virginia company that manages 11 non- profit schools known as California Virtual Academies (CAVA), misrepresented students' progress, test scores, class size, individualized instruction and parent satisfaction. It also said that K12 inflated attendance figures to collect more state funding than it was due. As part of the settlement — subject to court approval — K12 will forgive about $160 million in debt accrued by CAVA, a result of the fee structure in the K12 contract. K12 will also pay $8.5 million in settlement of all claims. In addition, K12 has agreed to imple- ment significant reforms of its CAVA contracts, undergo independent reviews of its services for students with disabilities, ensure accuracy of all advertisements, and provide teachers with information and training to prevent improper claiming of attendance dollars. CAVA teachers have been fighting to unionize for more than two years. In June, the state's Public Employment Relations Board decided that CAVA schools are one bargaining unit, and that CTA is the exclu- sive representative. (See story, next page.) And CAVA still could face action from the California Department of Education, which has brought in the state controller to conduct an audit. Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 1084 (Bonilla, D-Concord) would ban online charter schools from hiring for-profit firms to provide instructional services. The bill, introduced aer a Mercury News exposé of K12 in April, is likely to come up for a vote in mid-August when the state Legisla- ture convenes. If it is not amended, it may go directly to Gov. Jerry Brown. For details on the K12 case, see the attorney general's announcement at Education Funding in the State Budget 2016-17 T H E $ 1 7 1 B I L L I O N California state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 includes $71.9 billion for K-12 schools, community colleges and the state pre- school program — thanks to Proposition 98, the initiative approved by voters in 1988 that constitutionally guarantees a minimum level of funding for education. Education funding increases by 4 per- cent over last year for K-12 school districts, to $63.5 billion. Per-student funding rises to $10,657, up 4.3 percent from $10,217 in 2015-16, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office. Fiscal analysts warn that if Prop. 55 fails to pass this November, state public schools will face $4 billion in cuts. Among the highlights are $2.9 billion to continue implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing total LCFF funding to $55.8 billion and 95.7 percent full implementation. LCFF pro- vides districts a base grant per student, and additional grants for the costs of educating English learners, students from low-income families, and foster youth. Also, to address the teacher short- age, the budget allocates $10 million in grants for colleges and universities to establish integrated/blended teacher programs leading to a bachelor's degree and credential in four years. Funding for California's community colleges from Prop. 98 is $8.3 billion, up from $7.9 billion in 2015-16. Each of the University of California and California State University base budgets increases by $125 million. UC receives an additional $39 million, and CSU $63 million, for enrollment growth and other programs. — Len Feldman LEGISLATIVE UPDATE Revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges from Prop. 98 has grown by 52 percent since 2011-12 — the low point following the recession. State budget education funding in 2016-17 totals $71.9 billion, compared to $47.3 billion in 2011-12. Chart source: EdSource 35 August 2016 $56.6 Proposition 98 Revenue 2007–08 to 2016–17 Dollars in Billions 2007–08 $45 $50 $55 $60 $65 $70 $75 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 $49.2 $51.6 $49.6 $47.3 $58.0 $58.9 $67.2 $69.1 $71.9

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