5/21/24 Newsletter: May Revise and Student Behavior Updates

Governor’s May Revise and the Call to Protect Public School Funding

The “May Revise” is an updated draft of the California state budget for the next fiscal year (starting in July) that considers new information, including up-to-date state revenue data. We are always eager to see the May Revise because it gives us more information than the original Governor’s Budget from January about the resources that school districts will receive in the next school year.

For the last few years, tax revenues in our state have been above estimates, and we have had the challenge of deciding what to do with the surplus. Now, the opposite is true, and this 2024 May Revise shows even lower revenues than were predicted in January, putting more pressure on state budgets and each interest group fighting to keep the funding for their programs. This directly affects our schools, our students, and our ability to provide quality education.

In January, the Governor’s Budget predicted that the state budget would have a shortfall of $37.9 billion, and the situation has worsened. While the expected revenues dropped a further $7 billion, the May Revise includes a few budget solutions including drawing from the Public School System Stabilization Account to maintain school funding. The COLA is now calculated at slightly above 1%. (Remember that the COLA increases state funding to school districts but does not tell the districts that it has to be spent on increasing our salaries.)

One of the problems in the May Revise is a “maneuver” by the Governor (edit: the “maneuver” was in the January budget as well but the governor chose to keep it in the May Revise) to save money by retroactively changing the Education budget from last year to claim that part of the funding given to schools was “excess” and won’t be counted as the baseline for this year and the next. This is an indirect attempt to lower the amount that the schools receive, and frankly, is unconstitutional. Read more in CTA’s letter to legislators.

Rather than standing on the sidelines and complaining, CTA has been advocating year after year for our students and schools. These years of committed advocacy have resulted in steady growth in education spending that has benefited us here in Clovis.  This advocacy is even more important in difficult times when the Governor and Legislators face pressure from every side to cut our resources. Even if we have appreciated the unprecedented prioritization of K-12 funding from this Governor, we can still hold him accountable to the law and to the needs of our students when he gets it wrong.

In a press conference this past Friday, CTA President David Goldberg said it best, 

“We refuse to accept that our students’ educational experience will be defined by years of cuts. Students deserve more resources today – smaller class sizes, school counselors, nurses, and librarians – not less.”  

We agree with President Goldberg and our legal counsel that the “maneuver” is unconstitutional and runs counter to the initial intent of Proposition 98. That law was passed by California voters in 1988 and enshrined in the California constitution protections and mechanisms to ensure that funding for California’s schools is secure, even in times of economic downturn.  

ACE is proud to stand with the 300,000 educators who are members of CTA in a committed effort to secure more robust, consistent revenue in our state to support our public schools. The Union difference is that we can be part of the solution and not just passive . If we need to find cutbacks or efficiencies or if we should stand strong in preserving what students need – let’s make sure educators are heard. In a few days there will likely be a call for action for all California educators to step up and engage with our lawmakers to prioritize funding for education so that the stubborn academic gap and the historic behavior crisis students are experiencing in the classroom aren’t further eroded by the governor’s sleight of hand. We invite you to join. (edit: The CTA call to action is available here.)

The Growing Concern Over Student Behavior

A few months ago, ACE wrote an article about student behavior and the rights of classroom educators to address it. 

We created a survey for educators across the district to share their experiences and perspectives on the issue of student behavior and classroom management. The information coming in is confirming our own experience that student misbehavior is an urgent crisis in many classrooms. We encourage everyone, even those who aren’t experiencing behavior issues, to fill out the survey.

Along with that article and survey, we also began a conversation with the district admin about how we can collaborate on solutions. In those conversations, which included a specific example that may be representative of situations that happen across the district, it has become clear that the district is not following the law regarding teacher authority in classroom management. We have informed them formally that their policies are inconsistent with state and federal law. We are not sharing the specifics of this situation to protect the privacy of those involved, but we are asking other classroom educators who have similar experiences to share them with us so that we can hold admin accountable to the law. We will not take any action without your explicit agreement and participation.

In many instances, it is obvious that a student needs to be removed from a class for major behavior issues, especially violence against students and staff. 

California law makes it very clear that a teacher can remove a student from their classroom for behavior that crosses the line. This is described as “suspension from class,” which is often confused with “suspension from school.” We need to be clear that suspension from the classroom is part of the support process for students, not discipline. It allows for more appropriate support for both the student causing the disruption and the students experiencing the disruption. Most importantly, it is the clear and unambiguous right of the classroom teacher. Classroom suspension should only be used if other interventions are not working and should not be used for minor behavior such as disrespect, defiance, or failing to do classwork or homework. Verbal outbursts alone are usually not grounds for suspension from class. If you have a recent experience like this, or are facing an immediate need to remove a student and are being denied, please let us know.

Also since our last article, CTA has released a new resource on School Safety that includes the Grounds for Suspension and Expulsion (page 29) and Suspension from Class by Teacher (page 45). 

Faculty Senate and ICUE as organizations are not prepared to address these issues because they either cannot or will not do anything contrary to the will of Admin. ACE is the only organization that is seeking to enforce the laws that protect teachers and students when admin won’t. We fear that district admin will not prioritize any solutions to these issues because it comes at a cost to them while there is a solution in place right now that is only a cost to us: Letting teachers (and support staff) handle it. Clovis teachers have amazing talent and grit and will put up with a lot, but there is another group that also pays the price when classroom disruptions go unresolved: Students. 

We also emphasize that ACE is a union of all educators, including Psychologists, Mental Health Support Providers, Counselors, Nurses, and Teachers; all of whom play a role in supporting students’ behavior in and out of the classroom. Only through empowering all the professional educators to engage as equals about solutions can we make real progress on these issues. Sign our petition to vote for ACE as the union for all Clovis educators, and become a member to enjoy the protections only available to members of ACE/CTA.

We appreciate and value an that the district admin is engaging in this conversation with ACE and again call on them to work with us to develop clear and collaborative guidelines on the removal and return of students who need support outside of the classroom for behavioral issues.
For more information, please review our previous article on this subject and reach out to us at