Tuesday, Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R- Palm Desert) and Assembly Education Budget Chair Al Muratuschi (D- Torrance) sent a letter to Governor Brown urging him to provide a long-term solution for keeping Career Technical Education (CTE) in California high schools. Changes to public school financing enacted last year removed dedicated funding to career tech programs and instead left local districts the discretion to decide whether they would continue providing them.
However, pressures placed on local districts after several years of budget cuts and a lack of incentive by the State to provide Career Tech programs, has industry-wide concern. The future of these programs is critical to the economy.
“While it is important that our public education system prepares students to attend college, it is equally important that we provide relevant job training for students that would prefer to directly enter the workforce,” said Nestande. “The idea of public education rests on the principal that is must effectively serve all students. If Career Tech programs disappear from our schools, then we are ignoring the needs of an entire population of students. Giving students a chance to learn career-ready skills while still is high school is the right thing to do and enjoys strong bipartisan support.”
Many industries have begun to partner with local school districts to provide relevant job training to students. This is particularly important for developing employees for the jobs companies are struggling to fill due to lack of skills.
Implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which made changes to public school financing, has placed districts in a difficult position to continue these types of Career Tech programs. A current state mandate requires districts to continue funding their CTE programs until 2015, but after that time the programs will be optional. Furthermore, districts will not realize the full benefit of the LCFF funding (that would have previously been dedicated to CTE programs) until the LCFF is fully implemented in 2021.
Any changes to preserve dedicated funding for Career Technical Education must be accomplished through the State’s budget process which will begin to move forward today with the release of the Governor’s May budget revision. Assembly Members Muratuschi and Nestande are both members of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.