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Update on the State Budget for Adult Education

Posted on 02/27/2009

A state budget has now been passed that reduces adult education funding by 15.4% this year, and also allows districts to use adult education funds for "any educational purpose," although they must make public their decisions about where how the money will be spent. Jeff Frost, lobbyist for CCAE and CATESOL as well as other organizations, provides the following Q & A about the current budget situation.

1. How will adult education be funded?

Unless otherwise prohibited by federal law, school district governing boards will have complete flexibility over funds for a number of categorical programs including adult education. What does this mean? It means that the State will determine, via the base year of 2008-09, the apportionment amount that will be sent to the district.  Funding for each program, including adult education will be reduced by 15.4% in 2008-09 and by an additional 4.9% in 2009-10.  The district will earn these funds whether any adult students are provided services or not. Section 15, Education Code section 42605(d)of SB 3x 4 states:"local education agencies that use the flexibility provision of the section shall be deemed to be in compliance with the program and funding requirements contained in statutory.... language."  This programmatic and funding process shall be in place through 2012-13.

2. How Will the Funding Reductions Be Made?

It has not yet been determined whether the 15% reduction to adult education will be made on the revenue limit or on the number of units of ADA within the district’s cap.  CCAE supports having the cut come off of the cap.

3.Will Adult Education Reserves Be Protected?

According to CDE, EC 52616.4 controls the use of all adult education funds, including reserves. SB 3x 4 waives the current Education Code provisions and would allow districts to divert adult education reserves. Additionally, CDE indicates that there is no provision in law to isolate any adult education funds into capitol outlay accounts or other accounts that would protect these funds from being transferred for other educational purposes.

4. Do adult education programs have to generate any ADA in order to receive funding in future years?

As stated above, the answer is no. Through the 2012-13 fiscal year, adult education apportionments will be based on the 2008-09 base year. No ADA needs to be earned. Having said that, all adult education funds can continue to be used for adult education purposes, as defined by the district. For example, if a district chooses to focus on high cost CTC programs, it can use its funds to educate fewer students and expend a higher per student rate or expend funds on equipment and teachers with specific expertise that the program cannot now afford under the current funding model.

5. How is this flexibility program different than the use of ending fund balances?

Section 42 of SB 3x 4 allows districts to use balances carried over from the 2007-08 fiscal year for any purpose. This authorization excludes 7 specific programs (including Economic Impact Aid, instructional materials and special education, from having ending balances used for other purposes.  Because this section refers to funds within the “general fund or cafeteria fund” it would exclude the use of adult education ending fund balances from being diverted.  Additionally, CDE has indicated that restricted “capitol outlay” funds do not include adult education funds that have been held in reserve for capital projects. Those funds would be controlled by EC section 52616.4 and would not be excluded.

6. Adult education is taking a 15% cut in 2008-09. How will this cut be made?

All of the adult education organizations have supported the policy that any cuts to adult education be taken off the cap rather than as a cut to the revenue limit.  Representatives of the Department of Finance and the Legislature have indicted a willingness to clarify this cut in clean up language this spring. I am confident that we develop language that will ensure than these cuts are on the cap and not the revenue limit.

7. What will happen to AB 23 redistribution?

AB 23 overcap funding from 2007-08 have been authorized for distribution.  AB 23 ADA  redistribution for 2008-09 has also been authorized.  Because the 2008-09 adult apportionment will not require that a cap be met, it is likely that the AB 23 will not be able to be calculated until the full adult education program is restored.

8. How will CalWORKS funding be apportioned under this new funding model?

This remains an open question. It is likely that with no cap requirement, an alternative approach will need to be developed for CalWORKS funds.  It is also likely that this issue, along with several others, will be the subject of clean up legislation later this spring.

9. What is the impact to CBET?

The Community Based English Tutoring program is one of the programs in the flexibility program. As a result, the CBET funds apportioned to districts can be used for any purpose - including CBET.  CBET funds are also subject to a 15.4% reduction in the current year.

Information provided by:
Jeff Frost of Frost and Donnelly
(916) 447-8420
jfrost3 at sbcglobal.net