Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 9, 2014

Expansion pack

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

As you know, Alameda Unified has been offering Transitional Kindergarten for kids that have birthdays that fall after the cut off date.   Transitional Kindergarten was offered after state legislation that moved the Kindergarten cut off date from December to September.  The Transitional Kindergarten program was supposed to be phased out after the shift was complete from December to September but now new legislation may make Transitional Kindergarten, permanent.

From the Fresno Bee:

California lawmakers have embraced the idea of allowing every 4-year-old in the state to attend pre-kindergarten classes, greatly expanding a much smaller program to make what would be the most comprehensive pre-kindergarten curriculum in the country.

While some states, such as Oklahoma, have adopted universal preschool, no state has adopted universal pre-kindergarten. Transitional kindergarten involves more specialized curriculum and the classes are taught by credentialed teachers. The Senate plan, for example, would create 8,000 teaching slots for class sizes of 20 children or fewer.

In its November fiscal outlook, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said there would be $7.7 billion in new money for schools by 2014-15. Senate Democrats pegged the cost of their program at about $1 billion by 2020, which would create slots for an estimated 350,000 children.

Tuesday’s proposal would phase in all 4-year-olds over five years, at an estimated cost of $198 million annually. By June 2020, there would be slots for all of the estimated 350,000 eligible children.

It also appears that while the old language made Transitional Kindergarten voluntary for school districts and charter schools, the current language of this bill would require school districts AND charter schools that provide server Kindergarteners to also include Transitional Kindergarten:

This bill, the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2014, would instead require each school district or charter school that offers kindergarten to offer transitional kindergarten, and would require a child that meets specified minimum age requirements to be admitted to transitional kindergarten.

The language shows that it strikes out current language that indicates that the Transitional Kindergarten program not be a “new program” or “higher level of service” which means that districts and charter schools that don’t have TK programs will have to create ones.

What’s the Alameda hook?  Well obviously any educational changes will affect Alameda Unified School District, but the other Alameda hook is that this bill was co-authored by Alameda’s Assemblymember Rob Bonta.    Given that Alameda already has a TK program in place, there really won’t be much more to do except possibly expand it if all four year olds will be eligible.   Some local pre schools will be affected because it will make the whole “Pre-Kindergarten” offering unnecessary.   If the legislation passes the NCLC family of charter schools will probably need to start thinking about how to incorporate TK into their programs as well. Personally it’s a great idea to get all four year old children into some sort of Pre Kindergarten program, the earlier the exposure to education, even in a Pre-K setting is great.


  1. On a policy level, the push to implement TK is sound. Research has shown that the Early Childhood Education benefits especially for underserved populations outweigh the cost, so it is a good investment.

    However, from a state fiscal perspective it is disingenuous. During every recession during K-12 education suffers severe funding reductions and the Legislature lets local school districts to figure how to make program cuts. But once the economy recovers and revenues start to recover the Legislature steps in and begins to dictate how to spend those new revenues and does not give local school districts an opportunity to choose to restore cut programs. After the early 1990s recession, new monies were directed to Class Size Reduction. After the 2003 recession, new monies were directed to a Quality Education Initiative which only benefited certain school districts.

    In 2014, the proposal to direct new monies to TK is even more perplexing. The great recession of 2008 was the most severe reduction in K-12 funding ever. Only after the passage of Prop 30, a temporary tax hike has funding for K-12 stabilized. It will be 2015 before funding levels reach pre-recession levels of 2008. The Governor took the opportunity of projected future revenues to radically change how school districts will be funded and it is called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The central premise of LCFF is that local school districts will given greater local control. However, the transition to this new funding formula is planned to take eight years. After the Governor leaves office the taxes will expire, and there are no assurances there will be enough revenues to continue the transition. And now the Legislature is proposing to divert one billion dollars of ongoing cost away from the implementation of LCFF.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 9, 2014 @ 7:49 am

  2. Here is the “good news” about the leaked Governor’s budget for 2014/15. The Governor is not adding any new programs like TK in his proposal.

    Once again one should recognize that this projected funding surge has not reached 2007/08 funding levels.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 9, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  3. Pension costs rose 2,000% from 1999 to 2009 for the State during the recession. How much have they increased for Administrators and teachers in the District.

    How many raises have the Administrators and Teachers received in last 14 years…..What years did they receive a raise and what years didn’t they….Seems like every contract they get yearly raise..Maybe I’m wrong.

    Did we increase every year the money directly spent on students for new pools,sports equipment , Technology, Extra Curricular activity, and classroom supplies for a better school experience for the students in last 14 years?

    Thanks Mike I look forward to your response.

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 9, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Pension costs for teachers and classified employees are controlled at the State level. CALSTRS (teacher pensions) employer contribution rates are set by the California legislature. CALPERS (classified employees) are set by a State board. School districts have no control over those costs.

    I joined in Board in 2003. As for employees raises my best recollection is the following:
    03/04 2% increase
    04/05 ?
    05/06 4.7% increase
    06/07 0%
    07/08 1% increase
    08/09 4% increase
    09/10 0% increase
    10/11 0% increase
    11/12 2% decrease
    12/13 2.5% increase
    13/14 .75% increase plus one time payment of 1.25%
    14/15 proposed 1.75% increase to be voted in January 2014 BOE meetings.

    As for AUSD finances, in the 2002/03 total revenues were $82 million ($60 million salaries and benefits) and $88 million ($66 million salaries and benefits) in 2011/12.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 9, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

  5. You forgot to add that employee contributions to medical insurance and medical costs exceeded all the pay raises, so that Alameda teachers still make less than five years ago even with the raises.

    Comment by commonsense — January 9, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  6. So employees in other school districts where their school district does not make any contribution for health care benefits experienced an even larger decline in take home pay.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 10, 2014 @ 8:14 am

  7. Thanks Mike……..I appreciate your recap of the Increases in Compensation for the Employees and I know the Pensions are Controlled by the State through Heavy lobbying by the Teachers and Employee Unions….Hence our 2000% increase in Pension Contributions from 1999–2009 for State employees. I don’t know the exact increases from Calsters are, but sure they are significant…I just thought you might have answer.

    Reading where we had a decrease was when school days were cut…..Or Did the Teachers actually make less per School day Taught and took a actual cut in Pay?

    I know the Average Total compensation for a Teacher is about 550 a day and wish we could pay them alot more….2750 a week in Total compensation….I’m sure a few people in this City make less.

    What I was really interested in how much increase for the Students for new pools,sports equipment , Technology, Extra Curricular activity, and classroom supplies for a better school experience for the students in last 14 years?

    We seem to focus on what all the Administrators and Teachers pay needs are and seem to leave out the kids. I was just trying to change the focus and see where they have increased money directly spent on students to help some of the parents and families from absorbing all the costs of sports and extracurricular activities of their kids.

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 10, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

  8. He’s Back!

    Comment by MI — January 10, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

  9. Just clarify AUSD has not experienced any increase in the employer contribution cost for teacher pensions from 1999-2009. The employer contribution has remained the same for those years. In addition, school districts do not have make any employer contribution cost to Social Security since teachers are not enrolled in Social Security.

    In the 1970s, California school districts were able to do it all, fairly compensate teachers and provide all of the extras for a better school experience. California was ranked in the top ten nationally in per-pupil spending. Now California has slipped to mid 30s (49th when adjusted for cost of living) in per-pupil spending. When California creates the political will to once again invest in its future generation of children, then California school districts will be able to provide a better school experience.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 11, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  10. Here is a national educational report card that grades individual states. Click on California to get further breakdown on the components that make up CA below average grade.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 11, 2014 @ 11:03 am

  11. Thanks Mike.

    What I was really interested in how much was the increase in the budget for the Students for new pools,sports equipment , Technology, Extra Curricular activity, and classroom supplies for a better school experience for the students in last 14 years?

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 11, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

  12. The question is best answered by how much the Legislature provided each school district over the last 14 years for a better school experience.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 11, 2014 @ 10:30 pm

  13. note that when you teach and get CalSTRS pension it means no social security which would seem fair if you don’t pay any. Many government employers also pay social security on top of pensions as was always the case in private sector jobs with pensions. But if you have moved to teaching as second career phase it severely limits access to previous social security contributions, to prevent what is euphemistically referred to as “double dipping”. But is it? To my best understanding, which is not through, this is a state law even though social security is federal. In many states this is not the rule and the fact is that these employees have made the contributions to social security. anybody who understand this system better able to refine this?

    Comment by MI — January 12, 2014 @ 11:53 am

  14. Thanks Mike.

    So the AUSD has no control of where and how to spend and allocate their money……. only can be used for Raises for Employees is what i’m surmising.

    For the last 14 years It’s OK to Cut money going to Sports Programs, Sports Equipment, Technology , Classroom Supplies , Extra Curricular Activity, Classroom Supplies , that would benefit the students and parents directly so they wouldn’t have to dig deeper into their pockets when you have 40% of the Students that are living in poverty and getting free meals at school……

    Too bad we have NO control on any monies spent on the Students and can only be used for Raises for Employees…..Learn something everyday.

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 12, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

  15. You are welcome.

    You are beginning to understand school districts dilemma. We can only spend the monies we receive and the monies we receive are not sufficient to fairly compensate teachers and pay for Sports programs, Sports Equipment, Technology, Classroom Supplies, and Extra Curricular Activities. Over the past 40 years the removal of local control on how the monies are generated and spent have diminished the school experience for Students.

    Perhaps there is a school district in California that has been able to improve the school experience in the past 14 years but I am not personally aware of any.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 13, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

  16. Thanks Mike……It’s not only the Teachers that have received raises every year according to contracts that I looked at , its everyone in the District….So really AEA and all the others should have been passing out Coal every year to the Kids and Parents for subsidizing all these essentials for students….. Would be nice someday when we can focus some of the money directly on the Students and their families…..There seems to be No one really looking out for them and money that would benefit their school experience .

    Thanks for all that you do…..I’m glad I am finally starting to understand …..I hope the Board and the District start focusing some dollars to the students and their needs…Just thought I would ask.

    Comment by Just thought I would ask — January 14, 2014 @ 3:10 am

  17. Once upon a time there was a family. They had a budget that allowed them to provide food, shelter and other basics. The parents made choices but for the most part they attempted to provide as best as they could for their children. However, the children did not have all of society’s extras that richer children had. Would the parents had preferred that their children have more of society’s extras? Sure. But they had to live within their means and make choices. So they did their best to make sure that basics of food and shelter were the best they could provide.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 14, 2014 @ 7:37 am

  18. and in your analogy Mike, would food be teachers in the classroom teaching?

    Comment by MI — January 14, 2014 @ 9:02 am

  19. Mike,….We might as well live in the present……Reality is 52% of California Students live in poverty and receive free meals at school ..70% in Oakland…60% in San Francisco…..40% in Alameda….With that being the situation I just think it makes it hard on students and families to come up with monies to pay for Sports programs, Sports Equipment, Technology, Classroom Supplies, and Extra Curricular Activities. Those are where all the cuts have come from to pay raises….I wish we could pay everyone more……and it seems we are..because that’s where we seem to focus….

    Thanks anyway…I know you are between rock and hard place.

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 14, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

  20. 13)

    In simple terms Social Security for someone that retires at 62 has Maximum Payout of 1991.00 a month with Employer contributing 6.25 % of Wages and Employee contributing 6.25 % of Wages to fund for last 40 years.

    Teacher that retires at 62 Receives average of 3800.00 a month and could be a lot higher depending on their level of pay and how long they worked in District…. If they also worked in private sector can also receive Social Security.

    Social Security maxes out at 1991.00 no matter what level of dollars they contributed or made.

    Comment by Thanks Mike — January 14, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  21. 13)
    There are 15 states where public employees are not covered by SS (California is one of those states). Public employees in those 15 states, when they retire, are subject to the double dipping law (Windfall Elimination Provision) which means that if they receive a state or local government pension and they also qualify for SS the SS amount will be reduced in accordance with the Federal WEP law.

    Comment by CPD — January 14, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  22. 21. thanks. 15 out of 50. can you explain the why or how this inconsistency has come to pass? Also not familiar with Federal WEP law. If you work at McDonalds until you graduate college and then work a public job for 35 years the loss of s.s. money is no big deal, but if you work twenty years in private sector, 15 in teaching until it is a burn out and then return to private sector, both the pension and S.S. become muddy. no good deed goes unpunished.

    Comment by MI — January 14, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

  23. 22)
    The simple answer is that public employees in 35 states have SS deducted from their pay checks therefore they get full SS benefits when they are eligible. It’s not inconsistent because if those same government employees quit their SS covered government job and were hired for another government job that had its own (non SS) retirement system they would fall under the WEP law. However, if the same public employees who were paying SS quit their government job and were hired by a private company with its own non-SS retirement system there would be no offset.

    You should discuss your own situation with a SS specialist because these laws are intricate and complicated.

    Comment by CPD — January 14, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

  24. 23. right. thanks

    Comment by MI — January 15, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  25. While I sympathize with all the concerns about spending priorities, there is more involved here, the lack of funding caused by the base closing which still affects us, and sadly our teachers are still some of the lowest paid in the bay area, and spend hundreds of dollars on their classrooms from their own pockets. I wish there were simple answers but am afraid there are not any.

    Comment by Cturner — January 17, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  26. Getting to back to big picture on early childhood education options, here is a opinion piece that policy makers need to consider before implementing any programs for children under the age of 5:

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — February 1, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

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