Brown’s budget includes hike in teacher credentialing, exam fees

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has won the backing of the Brown administration for a pair of fee increases tied to examinations and credentialing.

But to close the agency's operating deficit of $5 million in 2012-13, the governor's office also proposed eliminating 17 positions and executing a loan from one of the CTC's special funds.

At the board's regular January meeting Thursday, commissioners expressed some concern about the magnitude of the staff reduction, given the workload and a staff already trimmed to about 160 members.

Crista Hill, director of administrative services at the CTC, told the board that agency staff continues to work with the governor's office on the spending plan and are preparing for legislative budget hearings in the coming months.

The commission is one of the few state agencies funded entirely by fees collected on the administration of certification exams and credential authorizations. But, because of teacher layoffs and falling enrollments at college training programs, the commission has seen its revenues fall over the past three years.

As part of Gov. Jerry Brown's January budget, the CTC would increase the teacher credentialing fee by $15 to $70 beginning in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The hike is projected to generate $3 million in additional revenue.

In addition, the governor has proposed to increase testing fees next year by 5 percent - a move that would generate another $500,000.

The governor has also said he wants the commission to work with the California State Board of Education to find ways to streamline the preparation and credentialing process. The aim is to cut operational costs, in particular by reducing technology costs.

Staff was unable to provide many additional details Thursday about the efficiency project, except that they will be meeting with the administration in the near future to begin that conversation.