Assemblymember O’Donnell Bill Releases Statement on 2015-2016 Budget

(SACRAMENTO) Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) released the following statement on the 2015-2016 California State Budget: 
“This year’s budget balances fiscal prudence with a firm commitment to making California’s students our highest priority.

By setting aside $4.6 billion in budget reserves and using $1.9 billion to pay down our debts, we’ve made our state far less vulnerable to the boom-and-bust volatility of past budget cycles while still maintaining the flexibility to properly invest in California’s future.

As a father, teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I know there is no better investment than the one we make in our children. That is why more than $14 billion in additional funding over last year’s budget will be dedicated to our schools and community colleges along with the necessary resources to accelerate the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula to promptly put these dollars to work for students.”

Assemblymember O’Donnell Honors 70th District Teachers, Hosts Education Forum

Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and Superintendent Tom Torlakson with honorees at the inaugural Teacher Appreciation Ceremony at the Long Beach Expo Arts Center.

(LONG BEACH) – Local educators who have gone the extra mile for their students received special recognition at a ceremony hosted by Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) yesterday. The inaugural Teacher Appreciation Ceremony, which took place at the Long Beach Expo Arts Center, honored 14 classroom teachers from across the 70th Assembly District.

"Few professions contribute as greatly to our society, carry as much responsibility, or have the ability to shape entire lives than that of the classroom teacher," said Assemblymember O'Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. "It is a tremendous opportunity to have everyone here to celebrate the men and women who dedicate their lives to educating our children."

Assemblymember O’Donnell Honors San Pedro’s Bagels Galore as Small Business of the Year

(SACRAMENTO) –Today, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) recognized local business owner Beth Leger and her San Pedro eatery, Bagels Galore, as the 70th District’s California Small Business of the Year. Bagels Galore, which has been serving customers since 1994, was presented with the award at a ceremony hosted by the California Small Business Association in Sacramento.

 “Bagels Galore is not only famous for their delicious bagels and spreads, but a reputation of giving back to the community,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “Whether it is by donating bagels and gift cards for local school fundraisers, supporting local non-profits, or simply serving a great breakfast to their customers, Beth and her family take every opportunity to serve as model business owners.”

Assemblymember O’Donnell Bill to Establish a New and Stronger Statewide Teacher Evaluation System Clears the Assembly

(SACRAMENTO) – Today the Assembly approved legislation modernizing the nearly 45 year old teacher evaluation law by making it more responsive to the needs of today’s students.   AB 575, by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach), requires school districts, county offices of education to implement a best practices teacher and administrator assessment system to improve teaching standards across the state.

The state’s current teacher evaluation system, governed by the 1971 Stull Act, has been criticized as antiquated and ineffective in today’s classroom. AB 575 aims to modernize this process and focuses not only on teacher effectiveness, but also on student performance.

Assemblymember O’Donnell’s Green Ports Bill Passes Assembly

(SACRAMENTO) – A bill by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) establishing an Energy Efficient Ports Program passed the Assembly today on a 66-0 vote.  AB 678 would allow investment in energy efficiency green technology aimed at cutting energy use at California’s ports.

“California provides financial incentives to most public entities in order to cut energy usage, but we have yet to provide the same assistance to our ports. The Energy Efficient Ports Program will ultimately make California ports more competitive and draw additional business to the state,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Ports.  “This bill will help Long Beach, San Pedro and other ports across the state reduce demand on their regional power grid, cut greenhouse gas emissions and ensure California continues leading the way in the implementation renewable energy.”

Assemblymember O’Donnell Welcomes Nominations for Inaugural Teacher Recognition Ceremony

(Long Beach, CA) Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) is requesting the public's assistance in identifying outstanding local teachers for his Teacher Recognition Reception, which is being co-hosted by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Thursday, June 11. Nominations for extraordinary teachers within the 70th Assembly District will be accepted until May 29th through email, fax or mail via the Assemblymember's website.

Assemblymember O’Donnell Releases Statement on Governor’s May Revise

(SACRAMENTO) Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) today released the following response to the Governor’s 2015-2016 May Revise budget proposal: 

As a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I am pleased to see the Governor’s May Revise budget includes an additional $5.5 billion for our schools.

Assemblymember O’Donnell Bill Easing Restrictive School Spending Caps Advances

(SACRAMENTO) – Assembly Bill 531, which grants school districts greater spending flexibility in the wake of a budget reserve cap enacted last year, passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a bi-partisan vote of 17 to 0. The legislation, authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach), addresses local school districts’ concerns that the cap leaves them unable to save for maintenance projects, instructional materials and technology upgrades.

Current law requires California school districts to spend down their reserves and ending balances when the state makes even a minimal contribution to the Proposition 98 reserve. Critics of the policy argue such a requirement prevents districts from setting aside funds for large expenditures, which range from new school buses to roof replacements. Under O’Donnell’s proposal, money set aside in a committed reserve requires a vote of the governing board, providing the public an opportunity to see how much and where the money is being allocated.