I read an interesting editorial in the San Bernardino Sun posted 7/4/11, Bill handcuffs school districts. The article describes AB 114 as follows:
The so-called education trailer bill contains giveaways to teachers unions and outrageous restrictions on school districts' ability to manage their finances, making a mockery of Gov. Jerry Brown's commitment to local control.
This caught my attention so I tried to do a little research.
I went to the state’s website with links to the documentation for AB 114, click here for the link.
After spending a few minutes looking over the bill, I came to the conclusion I have no idea what it actually says. I’m sure the true meaning is buried in all the legal speak.
The Sun editorial supports the California School Boards Association’s (CSBA) request to Gov. Brown to “support repeal of these troubling provisions”. The CSBA says “the state should not be substituting its judgment for that of those who live in the communities affected.”
I will hold off on my judgment until I am able to learn more about it but the claims by Sun’s editorial writer (some are listed below) makes me think anyone who is interested in the direction of our kids’ education should take notice.
- It was passed in the dark of night with nary a committee hearing - probably because it could not have survived public scrutiny.
- A.B.114 bars further teacher layoffs in the coming school year due to state budget cuts, and it requires districts to assume funding will remain at its current level next year; they can't cut programs.
- It also means that if revenue doesn't materialize in January, school officials' hands will be tied. Their only real option for closing a big gap will be up to seven furlough days, but those must be negotiated in each of more than 1,000 districts. With layoffs off the table, districts will have no leverage in those talks. Cuts could instead fall heavily on those who are not teachers.
- The bill suspends the law requiring county superintendents to ensure district budgets are balanced in the current year and in the future, identifying problems before they become crises.
It would be helpful to hear opinions from school board members and teachers who might have a better understanding of this legislation. I found a link on the CSBA website with their analysis and a letter from Governor Brown blaming Republicans because they wouldn't allow "the people of California to vote on tax extensions." (See links below)
I was unable to find any direct comment on the California Teachers Association's wbesite. There was a link to the governor's "Signing message" and to a couple other articles regarding AB 114. These links are also in the list below.