In this Issue:
- California State Legislature Returns to Work
- California Faces a Steep Decline in Revenues
- A Federal Update from the Community College Association Executives (CCAE)
- Department of Education Releases New Title IX Protections
- Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, May 19
- Federal Grant Opportunities
- Upcoming Events
California State Legislature Returns to Work
After an extended recess due to social distancing concerns, the State Assembly reconvened in Sacramento on Monday, May 4th, and will be joined by their State Senate colleagues next week. Legislative and budget hearings will start again but are expected to largely be focused on issues raised by COVID-19.
Legislators will be asked to significantly cut down the number of bills they are carrying this year. League staff is working with authors who are carrying legislation that impacts community colleges to identify which bills are going forward. We hope to update the field on which bills are still active once we identify them.
For example, of the nearly 100 bills that have been introduced in the Assembly that impact higher education, only 14 have been noticed by the committee for a hearing next week. For a full list of legislation to be considered by the committee next week click here.
Additionally, there is a split between both of the houses on whether or not lawmakers can vote remotely. The State Senate believes that legislators can vote remotely while the State Assembly has determined that legislation passed via remote may be open to legal challenges. Thus, the State Senate has passed new rules permitting remote voting while the State Assembly has not. Instead of remote voting, the State Assembly has provided excused absences to any lawmakers over the age of 65.
Regardless of how they vote, the legislative process is going to look very different compared to years past. Lawmakers are being asked to restrict their activities to committee rooms and their offices; committees will only meet in large hearing rooms to maintain safe social distance procedures, and members of the public will have restricted access to the State Capitol.
California Faces a Steep Decline in Revenues
On May 7, the Department of Finance delivered the grim news we had expected but also feared.
California will be facing an estimated $54.3 budget shortfall resulting from $41.2 billion in revenue loss, $7.1 billion in health and human service caseload growth and $6 billion in other, mostly COVID-19, expenditure increases. Of the $54.3 billion, $13.4 billion is attributable to the current fiscal year with $40.9 billion occurring in 2020-21. According to the Department of Finance, “Under Proposition 98’s constitutional calculation, this revenue decline results in a lower required funding level by $18.3 billion General Fund for K-12 schools and community colleges.”
Upon learning this news, League President & CEO Larry Galizio released the following statement:
"While the Community College League of California recognizes the severity of the state’s fiscal shortfall, we want to assure local communities across California that our community colleges remain open to all who seek quality, affordable career and transfer education and especially to those dislocated by the crisis. California Community Colleges are a catalyst for economic development and we are strategically poised to maintain our emphasis on access, student success and equity. The Community College League of California stands ready to work with Governor Newsom and legislative leaders to craft a responsible budget that honors its commitment to funding high quality, affordable public higher education through its 115 indispensable locally-governed community colleges. We also call upon our federal policymakers to substantially increase the nation’s investment in higher education through another round of stimulus funding to help mitigate the effects of the state's budget shortfall and to more quickly facilitate moving those from joblessness to gainful employment."
While there is no way to minimize the seriousness of this crisis, it is still important to recognize the state has built up some reserves which will slightly cushion the blow. Additionally, Governor Newsom has called upon federal leaders to provide more financial assistance to help California and other states to keep essential services intact.
In anticipation of the May 14 release of the Governor’s May Revise and subsequent budget hearings, the League is continuing its advocacy to mitigate the effects of the shortfall and minimize the impact on districts. This effort has resulted in a variety of letters to state and federal officials, both on League letterhead and as part of larger coalitions, to urge greater financial support and recognition for our institutions. We continually stress our primary themes of stability, predictability, and flexibility in budget relief, while emphasizing that community colleges not only train the majority respiratory therapists, nurses and other professionals needed in today’s economy, we are also poised to absorb the recently unemployed who were dislocated by the crisis if funded to do so. Throughout all this, our colleges have never strayed from their critical focus on student access, success, and equity.
Utilizing the experience of prior downturns, the League will be urging lawmakers to employ a full complement of mitigation strategies, including deferrals of district-side pension increases and year-over-year budget allocations, before engaging in any discussion of fiscal reduction. Our top priority will be protection of base allocation while also calling for a two-year extension of the Hold Harmless provision of the funding formula. Moreover, in these extraordinary times, it is extremely critical for elected and appointed officials in state and federal governments to maximize local decision-making by allowing for statutory and regulatory flexibility wherever possible.
While no one looks forward to engaging in difficult conversations, the League is grateful to the outpouring of participation and input from across the districts as we collectively navigate the crisis. We encourage you to maintain communication with us and to visit our updated website for relevant information on the budget.
There are still steps along the way before lawmakers vote on a budget and we will need everyone’s voice in this process as we face our challenges together.
A Federal Update from the Community College Association Executives (CCAE)
By Larry Galizio, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Community College League of California
Within the national community college ecosystem, Community College Association Executives (formerly the National Association of Chief Executive Officers) is less well-known than its partner organizations: the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Yet CCAE’s utility is similar to the aforementioned in its convening role of state leaders, providing opportunities for information-sharing and comparison among states, as well as advocating for its colleges. In brief, the CCAE is comprised of CEOs and Executive Directors of the nation’s community college state associations.
I gain insight into California’s structure and approach to community college governance by comparing what my counterparts from Iowa, Texas, Ohio, and others are doing to support their member districts and college leaders; and this has been especially true during the pandemic.
As the current Chair of CCAE, I have had the good fortune to benefit from information-sharing and strategic discussions for how best to support and advocate for our respective state association members. While there are many similarities among community colleges throughout the U.S., there are some remarkable differences. One very recent case in point: my counterpart in Kansas was explaining that one of her districts was seeking advice for how to return unused student CARES Act funding to the federal government. Additionally, some of the community colleges in that state have already begun the process of reinstating face-to-face instruction.
CCAE members have been meeting weekly with AACC's David Baime and ACCT's Jee Hang Lee, to discuss COVID-19-related issues. At a recent meeting, we learned that federal guidance for institutions concerning student eligibility is very likely to be updated (read: changed) for the third time. While frustrating to all of us, the content of the changes is likely to expand the universe of students eligible for CARES Act support. Still, far too many CCC students will be excluded.
To that end, our CCAE letter to House and Senate Leadership details how the most recent CARES Act funding is overly restrictive, exclusionary, and inadequate for its stated goals, and advocates for a more inclusive fourth federal stimulus package to more effectively support community colleges. CCAE efforts will reinforce and strengthen efforts by the League, chancellor’s office, AACC, and ACCT in advocating for California’s community colleges.
Other updates that we received at our latest CCAE meeting:
- Title IX rules will likely be released. The mid-August compliance date that we are hearing will accompany the rules strike us as unrealistic, and we anticipate legal action based on the content of the rules;
- House Democrats set to unveil a new Workforce Proposal that seeks to enhance flexibility for public-private partnerships and other workforce collaborative efforts will likely include approximately $15 billion annually in competitive grants for workforce efforts over the next four years and will impact WIOA, Apprenticeship Grant Programs, Perkins, and Adult Basic Education.
Thank you for your continued leadership and student- and community-directed efforts.
Department of Education Releases New Title IX Protections
The Department of Education released its final Title IX regulations on May 6, 2020. This action came after the Department of Education withdrew its 2011 guidance letter to schools, commonly known as the "Dear Colleague" letter as the Department, expressed concerns over the lack of fairness associated with the guidance. The Department then provided their first draft of their newly drafted regulations in November of 2018 with a deadline for public comment of 60 days. That draft received a little less than 125,000 public comments.
The recently announced new regulations are significant in its size and scope as it comes in at 2,033 pages long. Given its breadth, and the fact that it was just released, here are some of the key takeaways:
- It changes the definition of sexual assault by adding dating violence.
- It may reduce the number of cases a school would have to investigate as it requires the school to have "actual knowledge."
- It establishes a requirement to have a live hearing with an opportunity for the respondent's advisor to cross-examine the complainant.
These rules will go into effect on August 14, 2020. The American Council on Education has expressed their frustration with a three-month window to enact change, and that this is not consistent with past practice of allowing institutions at least eight months to comply. However, The National Women's Law Center and the American Civil Liberty Union have both expressed their intent to challenge the new rules in court.
It also remains unclear how this will impact Senator Hannah Beth Jackson's SB 493 that is currently on the Assembly Appropriations Committee, awaiting further action. While Senator Jackson's bill is lengthy in its scope, her overarching goal was to ensure that California's existing sexual assault and harassment laws remain in place regardless of actions taken at the federal level. The Senator is considered a leader in the Capitol on Title IX and is in her last year in the Senate.
Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, May 19 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.
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, May 19
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
Board of Governor’s Meeting
May 18-19, 2020
May 21, 2020
2020 CEO Leadership Academy
Virtual Conference via Zoom | June 25-26, 2020
PLEASE NOTE DATES HAVE CHANGED FOR THIS EVENT.
For more information, contact the League's Government Relations and Communications staff:
Andrew Martinez, Director of Government Relations | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan McElhinney, Policy and Advocacy Manager | email@example.com
Laura Murrell, Communications Manager | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rina Kasim, Member Resources Associate | email@example.com
Gerson Liahut-Sanchez, Government Relations & Communications Fellow | firstname.lastname@example.org