Inside CFT: It’s up to us to fight for the resources our schools deserve (7/02/2020)

Three things you can do to get the funding our schools deserve

The state budget signed by the Governor this week avoids the cataclysmic cuts that were first proposed. But that doesn’t mean that our schools will have the resources we need to succeed in the months and years to come.

With the coronavirus surging throughout the state, our schools will need more resources, not less, in order to keep students, teachers, and school workers safe and to effectively meet the needs of our students and our communities.

Here are three things you can do right now to help us get the resources we need:

#1 Sign the CFT petition to tax billionaires  While our communities are struggling, California billionaires are reaping record profits. Sign this petition, urging California lawmakers to tax billionaires to fund our schools.

#2 Urge Governor Newsom to support Schools and Communities First  If passed in November, Schools and Communities First will bring in $12 billion a year for our schools and local governments by closing corporate property tax loopholes. Take a moment to urge Governor Newsom to endorse this critical initiative.

#3 Urge California’s senators to pass the HEROES Act  The federal government must step up with essential aid to our schools, colleges and universities, and state and local governments

CFT checklist for safely reopening schools and colleges

As schools and colleges across the state are discussing how best to open in the fall, the CFT has put together a checklist that we believe is critical to consider during those conversations. The CFT checklist for safely reopening schools and colleges identifies the growing number of issues that should be addressed prior to the physical reopening of a school district through a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between the local union and the district.

The checklist list was compiled through a collaborative process between the educational divisions of the CFT, the CFT standing committees, and the California Department of Education Taskforce on School Reopening.

We urge local AFT unions to tailor this checklist to local conditions to best assist you in ensuring a safe school environment for educators, school workers, and students now and in the near future.

Calbright College faces state audit following cuts in state budget

Thanks to all the CFT members and allies who urged California lawmakers to end the failed experiment of Calbright College, the state’s online-only community college. Because of your efforts, the recent state budget stripped $45 million from the troubled college, investing those critical resources back into our traditional community colleges.

While Calbright College continues, we are still demanding oversight and transparency. At CFT’s urging, this month the state of California will begin a formal audit of the college. The seven-month audit will focus on whether Calbright improperly duplicates courses already offered at other community colleges, examine the college’s struggles to become accredited, and judge whether it’s overspending on everything from salaries and consulting contracts to equipment and office space.

We will continue to keep a close eye on Calbright College, ensuring that it continues to be accountable and transparent.

AFT launches Summer – a free student loan management program

This month, the AFT is launching a new benefit called Summer, a free web-based student loan management platform. It will help CFT members enroll in and manage the paperwork for income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, find other debt relief programs, and tailor student loan repayment options to their individual needs. Thousands of AFT members have already joined Summer and, on average, are reducing their payments by about $170 a month and saving more than $57,769 over the life of their loans.

CFT members should receive an email this week with a link that will identify you as a CFT and AFT member so that you can enroll in Summer. You can also find Summer by creating and logging in to your AFT Member Benefits account. Have a family member or friend who might benefit from Summer’s online tools? By becoming an AFT associate member, they’ll be able to access Summer for free.

Happy Fourth of July!

We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!