June, 2020

In this Issue:

  • Governor's May Revise Responds to Budget Shortfall
  • Bills Impacting California Community Colleges
  • Fourth Round of Stimulus Funding Begins
  • Advocacy Under New Circumstances
  • Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, June 16
  • Federal Grant Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events

Governor's May Revise Responds to Budget Shortfall 

On May 14, the Governor released his May Revision to the budget, which addresses a projected $54.3 billion shortfall through a combination of revenue enhancements, deferrals, reserves, and reductions. In contrast to the Legislature’s proposal described below, the Administration’s plan relies on deep cuts to Proposition 98 (K-12 and community colleges) absent federal intervention.

Essential Components of the May Revise for California Community Colleges:

  1. Reduction of $593 million in base apportionment absent federal assistance.
  2. Reduction of $135.6 million for the Strong Workforce Program absent federal assistance.
  3. Removal of proposed 2.31% COLA and $31 million for enrollment growth.
  4. Cash deferrals of $330 million in 2019-2020 and $662.1 in 2020-2021.
  5. Two-year postponement of increased district-side payments to address long-term unfunded liabilities of CalPERS and CalSTRS.
  6. Two-year extension of Hold Harmless provision of SCFF.
  7. Exempt COVID-19 related costs from Fifty Percent Law equation.
  8. Continued commitment to funding $223.1 million in capital outlay projects supported by Proposition 51.

Joint Legislative Proposal
In a break with the past, the Senate and Assembly have embraced a consolidated budget proposal instead of each developing their own. While their proposal relies on the same revenue assumptions as the Administration, they take a strategically different approach to the use of federal assistance. Where the Administration starts with the presumption of cuts and then uses the possibility of federal dollars to backfill, the Legislature assumes the receipt of federal assistance while relying on deferrals if those funds do not materialize.

Highlights in the Legislature’s Proposal for California Community Colleges:

  • Relies on additional $674 million in deferrals in the absence of federal funding.
  • Moves anticipated date for federal funding from July 1 to September 1 (trigger would take effect October 1).
  • Restores cuts to apportionment, COLA, growth, Strong Workforce Program, and Student Equity and Achievement Program.
  • Eliminates Calbright College, shifting $75 million in one-time funds to support a basic needs/learning loss/COVID-19 response block to fund such items as mental health services, housing and food insecurity, re-engagement for students who left college in Spring 2020, technology and development of online courses and student supports.

Next Steps
Negotiations are underway to reconcile the different proposals to meet the June 15 constitutional deadline for a budget. Even after this Budget Act is signed, a “Budget Bill Junior” is anticipated in August or September reflecting the tally of cash receipts after the extended July 15 tax deadline.

Bills Impacting California Community Colleges

In the last few weeks, the California State Legislature has returned to the Capitol. Committee hearings following social distance procedures have begun, a few bills are moving forward, and the new legislative calendar has been released. However, it is clear that the last year of the 2019-2020 legislative session will be quite different than was anticipated in January.

Roughly 185 of the bills introduced at the start of the session that impact education have been shelved, legislators are meeting on a condensed legislative schedule, and many legislators have received excused absences due to COVID-19. Committees have limited time to meet and members of the public are strongly being encouraged to testify via telephone or written comment.

It is important to note that while the majority of the bills the League has been tracking have been held, this was not due to policy or fiscal concerns. Thus, League staff expects many if not most of the bills that were held this year will be re-introduced in the next legislative session.

Earlier this month, the Assembly Appropriations Committee met to consider 300 bills regarding all subject matters, with a little over 140 passing. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take similar action this week.

Below are bills of interest to community colleges that are currently still active:

ACA 5 (Weber) Repeal of Proposition 209 – SUPPORT
Would authorize a ballot measure that would repeal the remaining provisions of Prop 209 that prevent government entities from crafting affirmative action policies and programs in public education, public employment, and public contracting.

AB 2019 (Holden) County Offices of Education – SUPPORT
Would permit County Offices of Education to enter into College and Career Access Pathways partnerships with community college districts.

AB 2288 (Low) Nursing Programs – SUPPORT if AMENDED
Would provide more flexibility to our nursing programs if their access to clinical training slots are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

AB 2884 (Berman) Lottery Funds - SUPPORT
Expands acceptable use of restricted lottery dollars to pay for housing and food assistance for students.

SB 1173 (Durazo) Employee Relations – OPPOSE
Would make colleges liable for mistakes made when transmitting employee contact information to collective bargaining units.

Below is an overview of bills that were held as a result of the pandemic:

AB 2452 (Garcia) State Auditor – OPPOSE
Would have permitted the State Auditor to audit the finances of organizations supporting local governments.

AB 2764 (Gloria) Military Course Apportionment - SUPPORT
Would have permitted community college courses offered on military bases to be eligible for apportionment.

AB 2910 (Weber) Student Trustees – SUPPORT if AMENDED
Would have mandated specific rights for student trustees and provided the option for colleges to give them a full vote.

AB 3310 (Muratsuchi) Ethnic Studies – CEO OPPOSE
Would have mandated an ethnic studies course as a condition of graduating from a community college.

AB 2609 (Medina) Classified Employees – OPPOSE
Would have limited the time that a new classified employee could be placed on probation from one year to six months.

SB 796 (Leyva) Employee Sick Leave – OPPOSE
Would have required school and community college districts to pay 100% of a salary for an employee on medical leave who has exhausted all available sick leave for up to five months.

Fourth Round of Stimulus Funding Begins

In May, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act on a largely partisan vote. It is a spending package intended to support state and local governments during this crisis. The roughly $3 trillion package contains $26.72 billion for all public higher education institutions, including community colleges.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate will be considering its own stimulus package, which will be smaller than the HEROES Act and will primarily focus on jobs and educational institutions. The Senate is currently in recess and is expected to come back into session mid-July and attempt to reach a bipartisan deal.

League staff will be monitoring the discussions in both Houses and will be advocating for our colleges on the following three priorities:

Allocation Formula That Reflects the Students We Serve: While our colleges were thankful for the funding provided by the CARES Act, the allocation formula was based on full-time equivalent student enrollment rather than total headcount. Since California Community Colleges serve a significant amount of part-time community college students, this resulted in our institutions receiving a disproportionately smaller share of those dollars. Therefore, the League will be advocating that additional stimulus dollars be distributed on a college’s total headcount.

Support for Workforce Programs: While our workforce programs are critical to helping those displaced by the recession, they can be expensive to run and have been targeted in the Governor’s budget for reduction. Our colleges need support from the federal government to maintain these programs if the Governor’s projected budget cuts are enacted.

Clear but Flexible Guidance on Allowable Spending: Over the past month, the U.S. Department of Education has issued multiple guidelines on allowable use of CARES dollars and financial eligibility for aid to students. The League will be asking for clear guidelines on federal dollars to address any confusion resulting from these varying messages.

Advocacy Under New Circumstances

Service to the Districts
With developments in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. unfolding at a rapid pace, the League has compiled essential state and federal budget documents on a single web page, which allows you to quickly and efficiently access critical information. We encourage you to continue visiting our website as new information is being posted on a regular basis.

The League’s Government Relations (GR) team is available for remote presentations to your district on budget, legislation, and/or advocacy. This past week, the League spoke with the trustee boards of the Gavilan Community College District and the Los Angeles Community College District on developments in Sacramento and grassroots advocacy to Congress and the Legislature. This is an essential function of the League’s mission, and we encourage you to connect with us on how we can help keep you informed during these turbulent times.

Coalition Advocacy on the Budget
During economic expansion, different strata of the community colleges will occasionally coalesce on an ad hoc basis to promote or oppose policies and/or budget items. When community colleges are threatened with fiscal reduction, coalition efforts are more critical to maximize political effectiveness, share information, and unify around common themes.

The League has once again taken the role of convener for many community college interest groups as we collectively advocate for budgetary survival. For the past two months, the League has hosted a weekly Zoom session to allow for cross conversation and strategy development by organizations that might otherwise have competing agendas and limited interaction with one another. These conversations continue to inform the discussion and allow for more consistency of messaging, which has been noted by elected officials as helpful to our System’s advocacy.

As an outgrowth of this effort, the League joined with the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) for two virtual days of statewide advocacy with legislative leaders in both the Assembly and Senate, along with representatives of the Department of Finance and Legislative Analyst’s Office. After significant coordination and multiple discussions on the common message, the groups held 18 visits, plus two later ones with representatives of U.S. Senators Harris and Feinstein, focusing on base apportionment, faculty support, and student basic needs. While it is impossible to measure specific impact, the legislative offices each expressed appreciation for these conversations and complimented us on convening this group effort.

Additionally, the League has signed on to letters generated by the Chancellor’s Office and has generated other legislative correspondence which have been joined by such groups as the Association of Chief Business Officers (ACBO) and other district representatives. This all underscores the significance of coalition advocacy and the need to maintain it as one of the central strategies in the budget crisis.

Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, June 16 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, June 16
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

Preparing the Drone Workforce: Community and Technical College Professional Development Webinar Series
June 3, 10, 17, 24 | Webinar Series

Ellucian Live
June 8 | Virtual Conference

Consultation Council
June 18 

2020 CEO Leadership Academy
June 25-26 | Virtual Conference

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

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

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