Legislation

December
2006
Dan Crump, Chair Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee

The Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee hosted two breakouts at our recent Plenary Session in beautiful Newport Beach-one on sources of funding for community colleges and the other on current legislation approved (or disapproved) by the Legislature and Governor in Sacramento.

The first breakout was entitled "Where's the Money?"-a look at funding sources for community colleges. When I was a local senate president, one of the questions I had was "How much money is my college getting and how can I find out about it?" I wanted this breakout to inform faculty leadership of some of the funding sources available.

The passage of SB 361 (authored by Senator Jack Scott) provides for a new funding allocation for the colleges, and focuses on areas such as equalization and noncredit instruction. This bill and its consequences have been a widely talked-about issue throughout the system. I was fortunate to have two veteran faculty leaders join me in a discussion about SB 361-Rich Hansen (math-DeAnza College), president of California Community College Independent (CCCI) bargaining units, and Marty Hittelman (math-LA Valley College) and president of the Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers (CCC/CFT). Both gentlemen have been involved at the system level in discussions about budgets and funding in general and with SB 361 in particular. Marty provided copies of SB 361 with his annotated comments on issues and concerns that would particularly affect faculty (note: electronic copies of most of the handouts from both breakouts are available on the ASCCC website www.asccc.org). It was noted that many of the implementation processes for SB 361 have been completed, but there is still work to be done on determination of noncredit courses eligible for the "enhanced" noncredit rate of funding.

Another purpose of the breakout was to alert faculty leadership that budget legislation was passed this year that provided $5 million for faculty and staff professional development. This funding is one-time only and must be expended in the 2006-07 academic year. It is important for faculty leadership to be aware of this funding and to ensure that it is allocated at the college level by agreed-upon budgeting processes (thanks also to Executive Director Julie Adams for sending out an email alert on this issue to local senate presidents). Colleges also received a one-time allocation of basic skills funds.

An important source of funding opportunities for colleges is the grants that are authorized and funded by legislation and administered by the System Office.

There has been an emphasis on career technical education (aka vocational education or technical education or occupational education) with both legislators and the Governor. This was especially evident with the passage of SB 70 (another bill authored by Senator Jack Scott), which provided funding opportunities for career technical education in community college and K-12 systems (including the Academic Senate's Statewide Career Pathways project-see www.statewidepathways. org). Many of these opportunities are listed on the Career Technical Education division page of the System Office website (www.cccco.edu). Other grants and funding allocations (e.g. Basic Skills and Faculty Staff Training, Career Advancement Academy, Baccalaureate Partnership Program, Teacher Preparation Pipeline, CAHSEE Preparation Program, Unused Basic Skills Funding, Unused Articulation Funding) are listed on the Academic Affairs division page of the System Office website.

The breakout on legislation was to inform attendees on issues and concerns that have been addressed by the legislators throughout the 2005-06 legislative session and to give a preview of what might happen next year. Judy Michaels, CFT legislative director (and a former faculty member), gave us her perspective on the politics involved in the evolution of several bills of interest to faculty, especially SB 361 and other budget bills. An issue that has been in legislation for several years (and will come back again, no doubt) is the Academic Bill of Rights. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, (political science-Santa Monica College) and a member of the legislative committee, provided background and updates on the issue. He also pointed out the importance of local senate leadership communicating with legislators in their area. A final purpose of the breakout was to provide a legislative update and final disposition of bills of interest-did they fail in committee and never come to a vote of the Assembly or House, were they approved by both houses of the Legislature, but were vetoed by the Governor, or were they chaptered (i.e. approved by both the Legislature and signed by the Governor) and therefore became law? As we say throughout the year, information on legislation is available in a variety of places (Legislative Counsel, FACCC, CFT, CTA, CCLC-these are all listed on the Legislative Issues page of the Senate website) and we urge you to check the Senate's website on a regular basis for legislative information.

ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE NOTES

The deadline for this article is before Election Day in November. And there will be plenty of news coverage on the results of the general election. I will devote a later article in the Rostrum (or a Legislative Update) to talk about how the election results might affect the community colleges. Ring out the old and in with the new! January 2007 is the beginning of a new year and it is also the beginning of a new two-year legislative session. As usual, many ideas in bills that did not pass last session will show up again in this session. Plus, we will be seeing new ideas and bills also cropping up. Stay tuned!

The articles published in the Rostrum do not necessarily represent the adopted positions of the academic senate. For adopted positions and recommendations, please browse this website.