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Improving Outcomes for California Conservation Corpsmembers


[PDF] The 2016-17 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 16, 2016 - The Governor’s budget for 2016–17 proposes a total of $9 billion in expenditures from various sources for programs administered by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.


[PDF] Options for Creating a Forestry Management Training Center

January 4, 2022 - Prepared in response to a requirement in the Supplemental Report of the 2021-22 Budget Act, this report identifies key design choices and options for establishing a forestry management training center in Northern California. Additionally, this report discusses some other strategies that the Legislature could consider pursuing—either in addition to or instead of establishing a new training center—to meet its policy goals.


The 2018-19 Budget: Resources and Environmental Protection

February 14, 2018 - In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the resources and environmental protection areas and recommend various changes. Below, we summarize our major findings and recommendations. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of this report.


The 2018-19 Budget: Criminal Justice Proposals

February 27, 2018 - The Governor’s budget proposes a total of $17.2 billion from various fund sources for judicial and criminal justice programs in 2018‑19. This is an increase of $302 million, or 2 percent, above estimated expenditures for the current year. The budget includes General Fund support for judicial and criminal justice programs of $13.9 billion in 2018‑19, which is an increase of $270 million, or 2 percent, over the current‑year level. In this report, we assess many of the Governor’s budget proposals in the judicial and criminal justice area and recommend various changes. We provide a complete listing of our recommendations at the end of the report.


California Community Colleges: Interim Evaluation of Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program

December 19, 2017 - Chapter 747 of 2014 (SB 850, Block) authorizes California Community Colleges (CCC) to offer baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degrees on a pilot basis at 15 community college districts. It also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct an interim evaluation of the pilot program. This report fulfills that statutory requirement. In this report, we provide background on CCC’s role in California’s higher education system and describe the main components of the statewide pilot program. We then (1) describe and evaluate the selection of the pilot bachelor’s degree programs, (2) provide initial information about students participating in the pilot programs, and (3) discuss the financing of these programs. We conclude by identifying issues for the Legislature to consider as the 15 colleges continue implementing the pilot program.


The 2019-20 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 21, 2019 - In this report, we analyze the Governor's higher education budget proposals.


[PDF] Improving Higher Education Oversight

January 6, 2012 - Supplemental report language approved in the 2011 legislative session seeks the LAO's recommendations on the structure and duties of a statewide higher education coordinating body for California. The state currently has no coordinating body, following the Governor’s veto of funding for the California Postsecondary Education Commission in the 2011-12 budget. This report finds a need for robust and deliberate state oversight that enables policymakers to monitor how efficiently and effectively the postsecondary system is serving the state’s needs, and to make changes to improve its performance. This report includes both longer-term recommendations for creating a new state oversight structure as well as interim steps the Legislature could take to help guide the state’s postsecondary policy in the absence of a new agency. In the accompanying video, the LAO's Steve Boilard and Judy Heiman discuss the topic further.


Narrowing California’s K-12 Student Achievement Gaps

January 31, 2020 - In response to concerns over K‑12 student achievement gaps, the Legislature tasked our office with convening a work group on the topic and submitting a report. The required report needed to: (1) examine data on K‑12 student achievement gaps, (2) identify funding provided for disadvantaged and low‑performing students, (3) assess existing state efforts to serve these students, and (4) develop options for better supporting these students. This report responds to these requirements.


Interim Evaluation of Community College Basic Skills Transformation Grants

December 5, 2019 - Chapter 22 of 2015 (SB 81, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) created a Basic Skills Transformation Grant initiative to improve basic skills education at the community colleges. The legislation directed our office to submit an interim evaluation by December 1, 2019 and a final evaluation by December 1, 2021. This brief fulfills the interim reporting requirement.


[PDF] Improving Workforce Education and Training Data in California

August 18, 2016 - In 2016-17, eight state agencies are receiving more than $6 billion in state and federal funding to administer almost 30 workforce education and training programs. Historically, state and federal laws have required service providers to report different types of outcome information even for similar workforce programs, making comparing programs and assessing the overall system's performance difficult. In addition, to collect information about program participants’ longer-term outcomes, state agencies often must share and link data with one another. Currently, the state's method for linking data is inefficient and administratively burdensome. To address these concerns, we recommend the Legislature direct the California Workforce Development Board to determine a set of common outcome measures for workforce programs and require programs to collect and report data for those measures. We also recommend the Legislature replace the state’s existing method of linking data with a streamlined, systemwide method. To increase the value of workforce data, we further recommend the board present the data in a few workforce reports each year, with the intent of informing policy makers’ policy and funding decisions and improving the overall quality of the state’s workforce system.

Correction (8/18/16): CalWORKs employment and training services funding levels corrected in Figure 1.


[PDF] A Review of the California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program

September 27, 2016 - Chapter 12 of 2009 (AB4X 12, Evans) created the California National Guard Education Assistance Award program as part of the 2009-10 budget package. The program provides financial aid to members of the California National Guard and the State Military Reserve to pay for postsecondary education. The legislation sunsets the program July 1, 2019 and requires our office to review the program prior to this sunset. Because the Military Department does not track certain data, we were unable to evaluate whether the program is helping the department retain members with critical skills or whether it is increasing the number of members enrolled in postsecondary education or increasing the units they take. Given the available data does not show that the program is effective at retaining members or increasing their skills and education, we recommend allowing it to sunset. Because the program’s ineffectiveness appears to stem in part from a lack of a clear focus, we recommend the Legislature consider as a next step developing a more thorough understanding of the Military Department’s most pressing personnel problem and identifying a new solution tailored to that specific problem. Though the evidence does not support extension of the existing version of the program, we also suggest several modifications for the Legislature to consider if it decides to continue the program.


[PDF] The Master Plan at 50: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts--Coordinating Higher Education in California

January 28, 2010 - California’s approach to coordination of the state's higher education system over the past 50 years has been indirect, resting mostly on well–defined missions and eligibility pools to guide the development of higher education institutions. This approach worked well during several decades of expansion, producing arguably the greatest higher education system in the world. The effectiveness of this approach has declined over the last quarter century, however, and institutions have been left to pursue their separate interests with insufficient mechanisms to advance the state’s priorities. This report examines the need for a systemwide approach to planning and coordination of California’s system of higher education, and proposes strategies for improvement.


[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

February 4, 2021 - This publication discusses the Governor's 2021-22 January budget proposals for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including $143 million for hand crews, $8 million for defensible space inspectors, and $54 million for various capital outlay projects.


[PDF] An Initial Review of the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program

December 13, 2021 - In recent years, as wildfires have increased in severity and damage, the Legislature has shown growing interest in state support of wildfire prevention efforts, including regional planning for forest health activities. The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program (RFFC)—created in 2018—provides non‑competitive block grants to state conservancies, resource conservation districts, and other entities to facilitate regional coordination for forest health and wildfire resilience. These grants are intended to support regional planning, project development, demonstration projects, and community outreach. To implement these activities, grant recipients coordinate with and distribute funds to partnering entities within their regions. We prepared this report to provide an early review of RFFC’s implementation.