eduCAtion insider: Your Inside Connection to CA Education News
Published by Leader Services Logo Wednesday, January 18, 2012

State budget crisis could crush some school districts

Source: dailybreeze.com

Govenor BrownIf Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to increase taxes on sales and the wealthy fails to either make the ballot or win voter approval in November, he'll be asking that schools further reduce their budgets by $4.8 billion in 2012-2013.

One school district that may be hit the hardest in this scenario would be South Bay's Torrance Unified School District, whose annual budget over the past four years has already shrunk by $40 million to about $180 million. That has resulted in class sizes above 40 in the high schools and the elimination of the orchestra, summer school, and child care.

It's estimated that Torrance USD may stand to lose yet another $10 million in 2012-13 if Brown's proposal fails. On the plus side, the district has a large surplus it can draw from in such a scenario.

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Program gives potential drop-outs alterative way to keep pace with schoolwork

Source: Contra Costa Times

Frustrated student in library.An alternative education program at Los Angeles Unified School District lets high school students who are behind in their classes and likely to become drop-outs to catch up on coursework at their own pace and work toward their diploma.

Approximately 22,000 LAUSD students were considered dropouts in the beginning of the 2011-12 school year – 1,400 were considered recovered and rerouted into the alternative education program, known as the Alternative Education and Work Center (AEWC).

Graduation rates at LAUSD hover at around 62 percent. The district now has about 582,000 students, compared to 700,000 five years ago.

Some students may consider programs such as AEWC instead of the tuition-free charters.

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Proposal to pull transitional kindergarten meets with dissent

Source: Business Week

Young student looking sad.Gov. Brown wants to drop funding for transitional kindergarten in an effort to balance the state budget deficit, a move that CA educators and childcare advocates strongly oppose.

Transitional kindergarten is a new grade level enacted in 2010, which changes the required birthday for admission to kindergarten. The legislation established transitional kindergarten for kids who don't make the new cutoff date.

The plan would impact an estimated 40,000 children who will be eligible for transitional kindergarten this fall – and about 120,000 kids when the law takes full effect in fall 2014.

Brown expects that by not requiring districts to offer the program, the state would save an estimated $224 million in the coming fiscal year, and another $672 million in 2014-2015.

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In this issue...

A word from Leader Services

SLPs no longer require supervision under LEA Billing Option Program

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved California’s State Plan Amendment (SPA) 05-010, which removes the supervision requirements for credentialed speech-language pathologists who provide services in the CA LEA Billing Option Program.

The measure, designed to ease the administrative burden for LEAs, took effect July 1, 2011. It is unclear if CMS will allow schools to bill retroactively. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has not yet released policy instruction for implementation.

SPA 05-010, written in October 2009, was a joint venture between DHCS and the LEA Ad-Hoc Workgroup.  Approval for SPA 05-010 can be found here. Additional information for SPA 05-010 from DHCS can be found here.

CA school joins others to institute iPad program

Source:Education News

About 1,000 schools across the country have implemented an iPad program from grades K-8.

Tablet computers like the iPad are far more than electronic textbooks; Corpus Christi is among the latest to replace its classroom computers with iPads to teach language arts, social studies, math and science to their 255 students.

The program at Corpus Christi was sparked by a $30,000 donation from a parent to purchase 30 Apple laptops. After that, despite problems raising money, the school was able to lease 140 iPads for $22 per month, and install a fiberoptic cable network throughout the campus.

After three years, the school will own the currently leased iPads for a $1 buyout per unit.

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