CSBA-sponsored reserve cap and transportation COLA bills advance
Other key legislation also advances after busy day in Senate and Assembly Education Committees
In advance of tomorrow’s deadline for policy committees to hear fiscal legislation, both the Senate and Assembly Education Committees heard several key bills yesterday, sending CSBA’s sponsored reserve cap and transportation COLA bills, along with one additional bill addressing the reserve cap, on to Appropriations Committees. A third bill that attempted to join the reserve cap issue to teacher probation was pulled from the Senate Education Committee agenda. In the Assembly, the school start time bill also advanced.
Click here for a list of 2017 bills with CSBA positions.
Reserve cap bills continue to move forward
SB 751 (Hill & Glazer), CSBA’s sponsored bill to fix the school district reserve cap, continues to move through the Legislature after passing the Assembly Education Committee and moving on to Assembly Appropriations.
AB 235 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), another bill addressing the reserve cap, also advanced to Senate Appropriations after passing the Senate Education Committee. CSBA’s position on AB 235 is Support if Amended.
Last week, CSBA reported that Senate leadership had amended AB 1164 (Thurmond, D-Richmond) to include provisions to potentially increase the teacher probationary period, as well as a merger of the two existing reserve cap bills, taking provisions from CSBA’s sponsored bill SB 751 and from AB 235. AB 1164 was pulled from the Senate Education Committee agenda yesterday morning due to conflicts over the teacher probation issue and will not advance in 2017. The bill remains in the Senate and will be what is known as a “two-year bill.”
With SB 751 and AB 235 both remaining active, it increases the likelihood that a legislative solution to the reserve cap will be reached in 2017.
Click here for background on the reserve cap issue and the two active bills.
Teacher probation issue
In addition to addressing the reserve cap, AB 1164 (Thurmond) would have also addressed the long-standing issue of probationary teachers by adding a third year of probation for newly-hired teachers – the current probationary period for new teachers is two years, making California one of only 12 states with a probation period of less than three years. AB 1220 (Weber, D-San Diego), a similar bill that would add a third probationary year, also was not heard by the Senate Education Committee and, like AB 1164, remains in the Senate and will be a two-year bill.
CSBA has been and will continue to work on details of the probationary issue in order to ensure that school districts and county offices of education are provided with a meaningful third year that is accessible and useful.
CSBA transportation COLA bill rolls on
SB 527 (Galgiani, D-Stockton), CSBA’s sponsored bill to add a statutory cost-of-living adjustment for home-to-school transportation, passed Assembly Education on consent with a unanimous vote. The bill seeks to provide significant relief for California school districts – in particular, small districts in rural areas – that are struggling with skyrocketing transportation costs. Home-to-school transportation funding has not seen a rate increase or a COLA since 2012.
School start time bill advances
After an extensive debate lasting more than 75 minutes, SB 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge) passed the Assembly Education Committee 5-2 and moves on to Appropriations. The bill would prohibit all middle and high schools in California from starting classes before 8:30 a.m.
CSBA testified in opposition to the bill (as did the California Teachers Association) and remains staunchly opposed to a one-size-fits-all mandate on school start times. CSBA encourages school districts to review the available research and examine the issue locally, but the ultimate decision on school start times must remain a matter of local control.
The committee passed the bill on a 5-2 vote, with the stipulated clarification that the bill would also apply to charter schools. There was significant discussion regarding this issue during the hearing; as currently written, the bill is silent on the inclusion of charter schools.
Assembly Bills (heard in Senate Education Committee)
AB 1217 (Bocanegra, D-Pacoima) – Passed – CSBA Position: Oppose – Recently amended in the Senate, CSBA has an Oppose position on this bill that would establish an independently run State STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school in Los Angeles County. AB 1217 raises strong local governance concerns, as it is essentially establishes a charter school without going through the existing process of charter authorization from a school district, county office of education or the State Board of Education, and could establish precedent of the Legislature acting as an authorizer. CSBA maintains that the decision to authorize new schools should be made by local school and county boards of education, and that the need for a curriculum-specific school should be based on local evidence that existing programs are not meeting the needs of existing students, and how existing programs can be better supported to meet those needs.
AB 1321 (Weber, D-San Diego) – Passed – CSBA Position: Support – With amendments accepted by the Committee on July 12, CSBA’s position moves from Support if Amended to Support for AB 1321, a fiscal transparency bill related to public reporting requirements for LCFF spending. Amendments made to the bill simplify the reporting requirements for school districts and will make data more easily accessible and understandable for the public by aligning with existing federal law, which requires disaggregated reporting of funds at the school site level, broken out by federal, state and local sources.
AB 1528 (Acosta, R-Santa Clarita) – Passed – CSBA Position: Oppose – This bill failed passage in the Senate Education Committee on July 5 but was granted reconsideration and passed to Appropriations on July 12 on a 5-1 vote with one abstention. AB 1528 would extend a provision enacted in 2014 that allows an online charter school to claim independent study average daily attendance for a pupil who moves outside the school’s boundaries mid-year.
AB 699 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) – Passed – CSBA Position: Support – AB 699 prohibits employees of LEAs from collecting information regarding the immigration status of pupils and their families or allowing an officer of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enter a schoolsite without meeting specified requirements. With amendments made on July 3 to adjust language pertaining to legal assistance referrals for parents and guardians, CSBA’s position has moved from Support if Amended to Support; the bill passed with a unanimous vote.
AB 254 (Thurmond, D-Richmond) – Passed – CSBA Position: Support – After passing the Senate Health Committee last week, AB 254 passed Senate Education on a 7-0 vote and heads to Appropriations. The bill would establish a Local Educational Agency Behavioral Health Integration Pilot Program to provide grants to schools for the provision of behavioral health services.
Senate Bills (Heard in Assembly Education Committee)
SB 257 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) – Passed – CSBA Position: Oppose Unless Amended – SB 257 would require local educational agencies (LEAs) to deem the children of deported individuals or those at risk of deportation, to be residents for purposes of school district residency and to admit them to any school or class of their choice. While CSBA is appreciative of the author’s interest in preventing disruptions in the education of students’ whose families are affected by deportation or the threat of deportation, CSBA is seeking important amendments to preserve school board authority regarding admittance to specific school sites, to clarify what documentation is available for LEAs to determine which students qualify for admission under the bill, to provide emergency funding for unanticipated enrollment increases and other important amendments.
SB 765 (Weiner, D-San Francisco) – Held (pulled from agenda) – CSBA Position: Oppose – This CSBA-opposed bill, which would grant charter schools the right of first refusal to acquire district real property which has been deemed “surplus,” was not heard by the Assembly Education Committee as scheduled, and will likely be a two-year bill.
SB 169 Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) – Passed (Asm. Higher Ed.) – CSBA Position: Support – Heard on July 11 in the Assembly Higher Education Committee, SB 169 now moves to Appropriations. The bill would address issues of sexual assault and sexual violence by codifying federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 standards into California law, thereby increasing state-level enforcement if federal standards or the enforcement of sex equity laws pertaining to sexual assault are undermined, amended or repealed.
SB 494 (Hueso, D-San Diego) – Passed – CSBA Position: Disapprove – CSBA has moved from an Oppose position to a Disapprove on SB 494, which would have mandated individual learning plans for all students not meeting proficiency on the 4th grade reading test. The bill has been amended to establish a pilot program to assist LEAs in ensuring that all students meet reading standards and language progressive skills by the end of grade 3, a program contingent on funding in the annual Budget Act; the program was not funded in the recently-enacted 2017-18 budget.
The Legislature will stand in recess on July 20 for its summer break and reconvene on August 21. Appropriations Committees in both houses will determine the fate of the majority of 2017 fiscal bills following the break when the committees take up their suspense files.