Crucial Legislative Hurdle For Key Bills Today

Today, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees acted on a number of major K-12 education bills. Of particular interest are the actions taken on key education legislation in the areas of accountability and assessment, early education, human resources, and teacher shortage and support.

 In total, the committees addressed 730 bills on their “suspense files.” Bills are placed on the suspense file by the Senate when costs exceed $50,000 (General Fund) and by the Assembly when costs exceed $150,000 (General Fund). Today’s committee actions reflect the winners and losers in terms of members working to reduce the cost of their proposals and/or securing enough political support to keep their bills moving. The just under 460 bills that passed out of committee will now head to the Senate and Assembly floors for debate and action. Bills held by the committee today are effectively dead for the year, pending extraordinary politics to secure rule waivers.

 Below, we have highlighted actions on some of the major education measures (bill titles are linked to the full text of the bill). We have also attached a list of actions on the remaining K-12 education bills, sorted by subject area.

 The summaries we provide describe the legislation prior to any amendments taken today. Also, the amendments indicated are anticipated, as actual language and full detail have not yet been provided.

 Following is a review of actions taken on some of the major K-12 education bills:

 

ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT

 The high number of bills related to accountability and assessment reflects the Legislature’s concern over the degree of local flexibility provided and the perceived lack of input- or compliance-based measures currently included in the state’s new accountability system. 

 AB 2548 - Weber (D): School Accountability System

This bill requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt a statewide accountability system aligned to California's local framework and that satisfies the federal accountability system requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Among other things, the SBE would be required to use data from key indicators (addressed in the bill).

Action: Passed with amendments to limit the bill’s scope (striking Sections 2 through 5)

 AB 2680 - Bonilla (D): Parent, Guardian, Pupil, and Family Engagement Support

This bill requires local education agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement a strategic plan to address parent engagement, subject to one-time funding being provided in the budget act. 

Action: Held in Committee

 AB 2698 - Weber (D): School Climate: Assessments

Requires low-achieving schools to conduct a school climate assessment. Requires the results to be posted on the schools' Internet Web site and other notifications, and prohibits personal identifications. Requires the establishment of specific professional development activities in low-performing schools to provide a more competent and knowledgeable environment within such schools. Requires the Department of Education to post such assessments on its Internet Web site. Requires an advisory committee.

Action: Held in Committee

 SB 871 - Liu (D): California Collaborative for Educational Excellence: Professional Development Training: Pilot Program

Requires the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to establish a statewide infrastructure to provide professional development training to local educational agencies (LEAs) to successfully implement forthcoming evaluation rubrics to be adopted by the State Board of Education (Board). Also requires the CCEE to implement a pilot program that will inform its long-term efforts to advise and assist LEAs in achieving the goals set forth in their local control and accountability plans (LCAP). Contingent upon funding provided in the budget or another enacted statute.

Action: Passed with amendments to encourage inclusion of stakeholders and make clarifying changes

Establishes the K-12 College Readiness Block Grant, contingent upon funding provided by statute or the annual budget act, to provide one-time funding to K-12 districts to prepare high school pupils for admission to college. Requires the University of California develop and implement a plan and timeline for increasing the enrollment of resident students, especially those from high schools which have 75 percent or greater enrollment of students that are English learners, low-income, or foster youth.

Action: Passed

Requires public schools with less than 50 percent of 4th grade students demonstrating proficiency on English language arts standards to ensure that each student’s reading  proficiency is measured throughout the school year using a formative reading diagnostic tool. Also requires a reading plan, as specified, to be created for a student in grades 1-3 who is not at the appropriate developmental reading level for his or her grade.

Action: Held in Committee

 

EARLY EDUCATION

 Although a top priority for the Assembly, its Appropriations Committee held the most significant bills related to early education. It appears, instead, that the Assembly will focus efforts on moving forward a comprehensive early education package through the budget process.

 AB 2410 - Bonta (D): Early Learning: School Readiness

This bill establishes a 10-member advisory committee to develop recommendations for defining kindergarten readiness. This definition is intended to inform future efforts focused on child outcomes.

Action: Held in Committee

 AB 2660 - McCarty (D): Early Education: Multiyear Plan

This bill establishes the Quality Early Education and Development Act of 2016, and requires the California Department of Education (CDE), on or before January 1, 2018, to submit a multi-year plan for providing access to high quality prekindergarten programs to the Legislature and the Department of Finance.

Action: Held in Committee

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

 The heightened focus on and attention to poverty, the working middle class, and election year politics are illustrated by the number of significant and wide-ranging bills related to human resources acted upon and, in most cases, approved in committee today. Earlier this year, the Governor and Legislature approved legislation to increase the minimum wage, further exemplifying this commitment to such issues.

 AB 1878 - Jones-Sawyer (D): Retirement System: School Members: Death Benefit

This bill increases the postretirement death benefit paid to the beneficiary of a school member of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) from $2,000 to not less than $5,000, starting on January 1, 2017, and authorizes the CalPERS Board of Administration to adjust the death benefit after each actuarial valuation based on changes in the All Urban California Consumer Price Index.

Action: Passed with amendments to remove the increased death benefit amount

 AB 2197 - Garcia (D): Unemployment Insurance: Classified Employees

This bill allows classified school employees to collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits between school years.

Action: Passed with amendments to make the bill contingent upon an appropriation in the budget

 AB 2405 - Gatto (D): Employment: Employees: Time Off

Requires an employer to annually provide at least 24 hours of paid, job-protected time off for the purposes of absence under the Family School Partnership Act, unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement.

Action: Passed with amendments to provide 8 hours of paid time off

 SB 1166 - Jackson (D): Unlawful Employment Practice: Parental Leave

Establishes the New Parent Leave Act, making it an unlawful employment practice for specified employers to refuse to allow specified employees to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement, and prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave. 

Action: Passed

 

TEACHER SHORTAGE AND SUPPORT

 In response to the growing public awareness and detrimental impact of the state’s increasing teacher shortage, several state budget proposals, as well as over twenty bills, have been introduced this legislative session. Several of the most notable measures were acted upon today.

 AB 1756 - Bonilla (D): Teacher Credentialing: Professional Preparation

This bill establishes a grant program at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to assist postsecondary institutions with implementation or transition to an integrated program of professional preparation. These programs allow a student to earn a bachelor's degree and a multiple or single subject teaching credential, including student teaching requirements, concurrently within a four or five year period. 

Action: Passed

 AB 2122 - McCarty (D): Classified School Employee Teacher Credential Program

This bill re-establishes the Paraprofessional Teacher Training Program (“PTTP”) as the “California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.” The purpose of the original PTTP (established in 1990) was to create local career ladders that enable school paraprofessionals (teacher assistants, library, media aides, and instructional assistants) to become certificated classroom teachers in K-12 public schools. This bill differs from the original PTTP in two ways. First, it increases the grant amount for participants from $3,500 to $4,000. Second, all classified employees, not just paraprofessionals, are eligible to participate in the program.

Action: Passed with technical amendments

 AB 2200 - Thurmond (D): School Employee Housing Assistance Grant Program

Requires California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to administer a program to provide financing assistance to qualified school districts and qualified developers for the creation of affordable rental housing for school districts employees, including teachers. Only school districts with a high average cost for recruiting teachers, a low retention rate, and with 60% of their students participating in the National School Lunch Program would be eligible. This bill appropriates $100 million from the General Fund to fund the program and allows for reimbursements to affected agencies and departments.

Action: Held in Committee

 AB 2401 - O'Donnell (D): Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System

Makes an appropriation of an unspecified amount from the General Fund to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the 2016-17 fiscal year to fund the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment System. Requires the allocation made to a school district or consortium of school districts for each beginning teacher participating in a local teacher induction program to be adjusted each fiscal year by a specified inflation factor.

Action: Held in Committee

 SB 915 - Liu (D): Teacher Recruitment: Center on Teaching Careers

Reestablishes the California Center on Teaching Careers (Center) to recruit individuals into the teaching profession. Specifically, bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), subject to an appropriation, to contract with a local educational agency to administer the program, with the concurrence of various institutions of higher education. 

Action: Passed with amendments to change the administering entity and make clarifying changes

 
SB 933 - Allen (D): Teachers: Teacher Corps Act of 2016: Teacher Residency

Establishes the California Teacher Act of 2016, a grant program to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in establishing and maintaining teacher residency programs. Contingent upon funding provided in the budget or another enacted statute.

Action: Passed with amendments to allocate funding for the grant program and make clarifying changes

 

SB 1413 - Leno (D): School Districts: Employee Housing

Authorizes a school district to establish and implement programs that address the housing needs of teachers and school district employees who face challenges in securing affordable housing.

Action: Passed

 

OTHER KEY BILLS

 AB 1572 - Campos (D): School Transportation

This bill requires a public, noncharter school, to provide free transportation to a pupil attending a school that receives Title 1 federal funding.

Action: Held in Committee

Authorizes “intervenor compensation” for participation in the Public Utilities Commission proceedings for a county office of education, or a consortium of public school district or agencies participating or intervening on behalf of local K-12 educational agencies in such proceeding relating to gas or electricity rates. Requires that a representative of a consortium not have any direct financial interest in the proceeding resolution for specified time periods prior to and following any resolution.

Action: Passed

 AB 2476 - Daly (D): Local Governments: Parcel Taxes: Notice

This bill requires a local agency, within one week following a legislative body's vote to place a proposed parcel tax on the ballot, to provide specified notice to all property owners affected by the tax. 

Action: Passed with amendments to extend the notice requirement to 30 days, and to make the requirements of the bill only applicable to those property owners outside the local agency’s jurisdiction

 AB 2663 - Cooper (D): After School Programs and Grant Amounts

Continuously appropriates $73.3 million for the After School Education and Safety program (ASES) beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal year (FY) and adjusts the appropriation annually thereafter based on the California Consumer Price Index (CA-CPI).

Action: Held in Committee

 SB 1432 - Huff (R): Pupil Transfer Options; School Districts of Choice

Extends the sunset of the “school district of choice” program to July 1, 2022. Allows a 10 percent cap on the total number of students enrolled in a  district of choice at a point in time. Requires the Legislative Analyst’s office (LAO) to submit an evolution of the program to the Legislature and the Governor. Reassigns certain reporting requirements to the SPI. Expands various oversight responsibilities to county superintendents.

Action: Passed with amendments to remove mandated costs and make clarifying changes

 
Kevin Gordon, Caitlin Jung, Derick Lennox, and Nick Romley contributed to this update