Senator Cortese Secures Local Investments in State Budget

Senator Cortese (D-San Jose) has secured several local investments for Santa Clara County students and families in this year’s 2022-23 state budget agreement released today. Please review AB/SB 178 for details. Senator Cortese’s approved district budget requests are the following:

·      $5,000,000 for Martial Cottle Park Improvements

·      $5,000,000 toward Integrated Data for Student Mental Health Support

·      $2,200,000 for the Eastside Education Initiative

·      $2,000,000 for the Santa Clara County Youth Climate Initiative

The local investments I’ve secured this year endeavor to educate and empower our next generation”, says Senator Cortese. “Through an equity lens, this funding will provide students and families across our region equitable access to college and career readiness, project-based learning, environmental learning, opportunities to enjoy their local open spaces, as well as effective and integrated student mental health support systems, all with a goal of ensuring well-being and success in and outside of the classroom.”

Martial Cottle Park Improvements

The Cottle and Lester Historic Ranch (Historic Ranch) is part of Martial Cottle Park, a 287.54-acre State-County Park located in South San Jose. The Historic Ranch portion of the park is approximately 31 acres and includes a residence, outbuildings, and 25 acres of actively farmed land. The preservation of the cultural and environmental heritage of the Historic Ranch, while providing public access to a working farm and educational facility, is central to Santa Clara County Parks Department’s Cottle and Lester Historic Ranch Site Plan.

Senator Cortese has secured $5,000,000 for the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department to accelerate the completion of this project and ensure that the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to Martial Cottle Park will have the opportunity to enjoy the Historic Ranch well before 2038.

Don Rocha, Director of the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department said the following: “Senator Cortese has long been a champion of the county’s parks system. This investment of state funds in Martial Cottle Park compliments local Park Charter Funds expanding the department’s ability to engage families in the story of the Valley of Heart’s delight.”

Integrated Data for Student Mental Health Support

The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) will receive $5,000,000 to build an integrated data system that will streamline the referral process for student mental health services. This would create a much better and more efficient system for mental health providers who serve students to coordinate care and ensure that students receive the services and supports they need. It would allow SCCOE's student wellness center mental health professionals to more efficiently share information with the county's school coordinators, county behavioral health contractors and community-based organizations, and managed care plans. It would be built on SCCOE's “DataZone” technology and assist with LEA billing for eligible services when the new law that allows schools to bill managed care and commercial insurance for student mental health services goes into effect on January 1, 2024 and would serve as a statewide model. 

Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Ann Dewan said the following: “Senator Cortese's visionary leadership and commitment to youth is inspired. We are delighted to partner with Senator Cortese as we expand this important project. By understanding children's needs and aligning resources accordingly, we can achieve greater equity.”

The Eastside Education Initiative

The Silicon Valley Education Foundation, in partnership with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and the Latino Education Advancement Foundation will receive $2,200,000 to launch The Eastside Education Initiative (EEI). EEI’s mission is to promote a college and career readiness culture by (1) engaging Eastside students and families in a participatory process to promote parent and student voices, (2) improving core subject proficiency of Eastside students leading to an increase in Latinx graduates who pass A-G coursework, (3) providing college and career-aligned programming beginning in the 6th grade to increase enrollment and persistence in two-year colleges and four-year universities, and (4) advocating for equitable funding for East San José schools to be on par or above the highest per-pupil allocation in Santa Clara County. The EEI focuses on four key pillars of success: Student, Family, and Community Engagement, Core Subject Proficiency, College and Career Readiness, and Advocacy.

Dr. Lisa Andrew, CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation said the following: “The members of the collective impact coalition for the Eastside Education Initiative (EEI) are excited to partner with Senator Cortese in promoting a college and career readiness culture in East San Jose.  We look forward to continuing to advocate for equitable funding for East San José schools to be on par or above the highest per-pupil allocation in Santa Clara County.  Through our collaborative efforts with East San Jose families, advocacy groups, and school districts our shared vision of increased economic mobility for East San Jose residents through education pathways can be realized.

The Santa Clara County Youth Climate Initiative

The County of Santa Clara’s Office of Sustainability (OOS) will receive $2,000,000 to fund and launch a program called “The Santa Clara County Youth Climate Initiative” (YCI) that will empower youth in Santa Clara County to play a leadership role in taking action on climate change. In partnership with the school districts, regional colleges, local community choice energy providers, city governments and youth serving organizations in Santa Clara County. This initiative will provide Santa Clara County youth with the 1) knowledge and understanding of sustainability and environmental issues, 2) skills to craft innovative solutions, and 3) drive change through youth-centered place-based project application, outreach and education around climate change. The pilot, through in school curriculum, workshops and skill training programs, leadership development, as well as fellowships, will build individual skills, and regional capacity among youth to influence public policy and lead on/support local governments and partners achieve local and state sustainability goals. Resources and place-based strategies will be integrated to support youth from underserved communities participate in the program and enhance their college and career preparedness.