Brown’s budget would give CTC some needed breathing room

After suffering through one of the most difficult budgets in agency history, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is looking forward to an increase in spending authority in 2013-14 of $653,000 and no reductions in staff positions.

The commission, which serves as California's standards board for educator training and professional conduct, faced a worst-case fiscal scenario last year.

As one of the state's few self-funded agencies, the CTC saw revenues from credentialing and test administration decline sharply as a result of the recession while workload jumped dramatically, thanks largely due to a system-wide educator misconduct review at Los Angeles Unified.

The result was a $5 million funding gap that prompted a hike in credentials and test administration fees.

This year, the CTC is looking to add to its self-sufficiency by imposing a new fee on universities and other teacher preparation entities for review of new credentialing programs. Additionally, the agency is looking at charging for extra accreditation efforts required when institutions fail to meet one or more standards.

The CTC budget, as proposed in Gov. Jerry Brown's January plan, authorizes slightly more than $19.5 million in spending next year - up from the $18.9 million provided last year.

The agency would have an authorized staff of 152.4 positions under the governor's plan.

There's an additional $26 million in Proposition 98 money that has traditionally gone to the CTC for support of internship certification programs and paraprofessional teacher training. But Brown has proposed eliminating those programs and absorbing the money into his weighted funding formula where local officials will have the final say in spending.

Of the $653,000 in higher spending authority that the governor proposes to give the CTC, the administration has set a goal of $200,000 to come from either of the two new review fees.

There are about 260 California teacher training programs, which are perpetually revising coursework and objectives to reflect changes in state law and policies.

Last year there were 75 new programs that required evaluation; another 81 were offered in 2010-11 and 30 more in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, 19 new institutions applied for accreditation from the CTC over the past three years.

The CTC currently provides the institutional accreditation process to college and universities at no charge.

At a hearing in December, the board discussed but did not take action on the idea - although given the signals that were already apparent from the administration, there did not appear to be any strong opponents.

The issue is expected to come back to the board this week.

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