July, 2020

In this Issue:

  • Action Alert: Ask Congress for More Federal Relief for Community Colleges
  • California Budget for Community Colleges Embraces Deferrals Over Cuts
  • Extended Recess Due to Six Positive COVID-19 Cases in the Capitol 
  • Community College Related Ballot Measures Head to November 2020 Ballot
  • Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, July 21 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Federal Grant Opportunities 
  • Upcoming Events

ACTION ALERT: Ask Congress for More Federal Relief for Community Colleges

The recently approved California State Budget for community colleges defers $330.1 million in payments to community colleges from 2019-20 to 2020-21 and $662.1 million from 2020-21 to 2021-22. In the absence of further federal assistance, it will also defer an additional $791.1 million from 2020-21 to 2021-22.

While Senators Feinstein and Harris have both expressed support for more federal assistance, they need to hear from community colleges on why this is urgent. Explain to them how your college or district has migrated courses and programs to serve students remotely and is keeping the doors open to absorb those dislocated by the economy.

California government did its best to fill a $54.3 billion deficit, but it cannot sustain the predicted level of multiple shortfalls without further federal assistance. Our colleges are poised to be engines of economic recovery if funded to do so.

Tell U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (and your Congressional Representative) to support today’s students NOW by supporting legislation that would provide more federal relief for California Community Colleges. 

Take Action Now!

California Budget for Community Colleges Embraces Deferrals Over Cuts

On June 29th, Governor Newsom signed the $202.1 billion spending plan in the California Budget. Facing a showdown with a determined Legislature on the appropriate balance of cuts, reserves, deferrals, and revenue enhancements, the two parties struck a compromise which largely spared community colleges from the draconian reductions proposed in the May Revise, relying instead on a significantly larger deferral in the absence of further federal assistance.

While the Legislature had already adopted the Administration’s plan to defer $330.1 million in payments to community colleges from 2019-20 to 2020-21 and $662.1 million from 2020-21 to 2021-22, it added $791.1 million in deferrals in the absence of further federal assistance by October 15, 2020. The increased deferrals replace the proposed cuts to base apportionment, the Strong Workforce Program, and other categorical programs.

The enacted budget reflects many of the League’s priorities, including:

Reliance on deferrals over cuts. Although the magnitude of the deferrals in the absence of further federal assistance is extremely high, the League insisted that the cuts proposed in the May Revise would destabilize the districts and impede the ability of the colleges to help communities recover from the recession.

Restoration of base allocation and Strong Workforce Program. Both of these would have been cut under the May Revise but were restored in the final deal with deferrals absent further federal assistance.

Deferral hardship waiver for districts. Once deferrals were introduced as a major component of the budget package, the League actively supported a waiver provision for districts unable to meet the cash requirements.

Modification of the Fifty Percent Law. The League pushed for a change in the law to remove COVID-19 expenses from the equation allowing for greater local flexibility in budgeting.

Temporary deferral on district-side increases to public pensions. The League’s message was echoed by the K-12 community and granted to both segments for two years.

Two-year extension of the Hold Harmless provision in the funding formula. The dual impact of the transition to the new funding formula and pandemic-induced recession created too great of a hardship for many districts. This provision provides our districts with more stability and flexibility moving forward.

Provision for a one-time COVID-19 block grant. The League made this a priority to assist districts in managing the extraordinary expenses of the pandemic.

Continued inclusion of Proposition 51-funded capital outlay projects. The League contended that these specially-funded projects represent voter intent and serve as an economic stimulus for local communities and the state.

Moving Forward
The League’s budget priorities are focused on advocating for greater federal relief and remaining in contact with state lawmakers as they prepare for a post-August Revise of the budget, reflecting delayed tax collection, and the upcoming January release of the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget.

With unemployment rates at double to triple their pre-COVID levels, the League is planning on multiple years of state budget shortfalls. As such, the League strongly supports the Schools & Communities First Initiative, appearing on the ballot as Proposition 15, which will annually raise between $6.5 billion - $11.5 billion annually, divided between community colleges and K-12 (40 percent) and local governments (60 percent).  

Extended Recess Due to Six Positive COVID-19 Cases in the Capitol 

As of Wednesday, July 8th, six positive COVID-19 cases, including lawmakers and staffers, have been reported by the Legislature. Earlier this week, Assemblymember Autumn Burke announced she contracted COVID-19 while at the State Capitol. Since then, the Capitol has closed its doors for deep cleaning. While lawmakers were scheduled to return from recess on Monday, July 13th, to finish the legislative session, both the Assembly and Senate have announced they will not be coming back next week. 

This has put the current schedule for the rest of the legislative calendar into doubt. It is unknown when the Legislature could reconvene, and we do not know how this will impact active legislation and committee hearings. The State Legislature was already meeting on an accelerated schedule, and lawmakers had significantly scaled back their legislative packages. A delay in returning to the Capitol could result in a further prioritization of various bills and a new, even more, abbreviated legislative calendar.

Community College Related Ballot Measures Head to November 2020 Ballot

Two ballot measures that could significantly impact California Community Colleges head to the November 2020 ballot.  Prop 15 would generate additional revenue for our institutions, and Prop 16 would permit affirmative action policies. A short description for both is below:

Proposition 15: Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative would reform a property tax loophole by requiring the value of large commercial properties to be assessed at commercial rates. Currently, they are only assessed at the value of when that property changed hands, which happens much less often compared to privately owned homes. By closing this loophole, Prop 15 would generate much-needed revenue for our colleges. Read the full text here.

Proposition 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment would repeal Proposition 209, which prevents governmental bodies from granting preferential treatment based on a person’s ethnicity, race, gender, or other characteristics. Passed in 1996, it famously resulted in the reduction of the University of California and the California State Universities from pursuing affirmative action-orientated admissions policies.  For community colleges, it has made it harder to hire a diverse faculty that reflects the ethnic makeup of our students. Read the full text here.

Propositions 15 and 16 will be joined by 10 other measures on the November ballot.  For a full list of those other measures and links to their summaries, click here.  

Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, July 21 at 11:00 a.m.

Join the League's Government Relations Team for our monthly webinars. Receive important information regarding legislation and proposals discussed in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. that will impact you, your students, and your institution.

Every Third Tuesday of the Month, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Webinar Details 
Telephone Number: (646) 876-9923 or (669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 623 780 059

Be sure to register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

2020 Webinar Schedule:
Tuesday, July 21
Tuesday, August 18
Tuesday, September 15
Tuesday, October 20
Tuesday, November 17

Federal Grant Opportunities

Presented by Downs Government Affairs

The League, in partnership with Downs Government Affairs, provides a list of federal grants to assist your community college in improving its programs and services. If you have any questions about the following grants, please feel free to reach out to Thomas Downs at TCDowns@downsgovaffairs.com.

For a full list of federal grants available to community colleges, visit our Federal Grants page at www.ccleague.org/federal-grant-opportunites

Upcoming Events

Board of Governor’s Meeting
July 20-21 | Zoom Webinar

Governance Leadership Institute for New Trustees
August 3-6 | Virtual Conference

Student Trustees Workshop
August 6-7 | Virtual Conference

ACCT Leadership Congress
Sep. 30- Oct. 3 | Hyatt Regency Chicago

For more information, contact the League's Government Relations and Communications staff:

Andrew Martinez, Director of Government Relations | amartinez@ccleague.org
Ryan McElhinney, Policy and Advocacy Manager | ryan@ccleague.org
Laura Murrell, Communications Manager | laura@ccleague.org
Rina Kasim, Member Resources Associate | rina@ccleague.org
Gerson Liahut-Sanchez, Government Relations & Communications Fellow | fellow@ccleague.org

Follow League Tracked Bills at: www.ccleague.org/advocacy/bill-tracking
For news related to the State Budget and Policy visit: www.ccleague.org/advocacy