Letter from California Fellows in Support of SB 1214

Letter from California Fellows in Support of SB 1214
The Honorable Ricardo Lara 
Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2206
Sacramento, California 95814
RE: SB 1214 (Portantino) as amended May 9, 2018 – SUPPORT
Dear Chairman Lara:
As classroom teachers and Teach Plus Policy Fellows, we are writing to express our support for SB 1214, which would allow teachers to claim up to $2,500 in tax deductions on their state income taxes for fees incurred toward the completion of a Professional Development (e.g. Induction Program) for up to three years.
Research has shown that comprehensive, multi-year induction programs accelerate the professional growth of new teachers. Further, access to a quality induction program ensures they build their competence and confidence, and helps stave off the possibility they become part of the large number of teachers who leave the profession within their first five years. However, stipulations in the funding formula have created inequitable accessibility to quality induction programs.
Until 2008-2009, the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System (BTSA) was funded as a state categorical program.  In 2009, districts were no longer obligated to fund BTSA.  Currently, California policy requires new teachers complete an Induction Program.  However, the state does not require districts or schools to provide or pay for such programs.  As a new teacher at the bottom of the salary scale, this cost is often prohibitive, ranging from $2,000 for LEA based programs to as much as $5,000 for university based programs.
SB 1214 addresses this issue by allowing teachers to claim a modest tax deduction on their state income taxes for induction related expenses, which will make the cost of the program less prohibitive. This is a small step to relieve the fiscal burden on teachers for this essential support. We ultimately hope that the Legislature considers reinvesting in this critical support for all teachers in future years.
We are pleased to support SB 1214 and hope to continue to work with the author to ensure all new teachers have the support they need to develop and succeed. Should an amendment be made to the current bill, we would hope that the language would also include National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification as another form of eligible teacher professional development/induction.
If you have any questions about our position, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our names and email addresses are below.
Ron Anaya
High School Career Technical Education Teacher
Western Sierra Collegiate Academy
Rocklin Academy, Rocklin, CA
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
Spencer Burrows
Middle School History Teacher
The City School, Los Angeles
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
Heather Fitzgerald
Fourth Grade Math and Science Teacher
Hickory Elementary School
Torrance Unified School District, California
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
V. Xavier Nguyen
High School Special Education Teacher
Norwalk La-Mirada Unified School District
2018-19 Teach Plus Fellow
Christina Nitsos
First Grade Teacher
Lafayette Elementary School
Lafayette, California
2018-2019 Teach Plus Fellow
CC: Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Senator Anthony Portantino