Appropriations Committees Take Action at Fiscal Deadline
Today marks the deadline for fiscal committees in both houses to meet and pass bills on to the floor. As we’ve mentioned before, many bills have been sitting in the “suspense files” of both Appropriations Committees while legislators weigh the policy and fiscal considerations that might limit the number of bills that continue to move through the process. To meet the fiscal deadline, yesterday afternoon the Assembly Appropriations Committee acted on 146 bills and the Senate Appropriations Committee and acted on 348 bills.
The actions taken by the Committees are rapidly announced by the Chairs without explanation. However, these actions come after weeks of jockeying by legislators and advocates to win support for their proposals or reduce cost estimates. Bills that were held in committee are effectively dead for the legislative session and can be reintroduced next year. Bills that passed out will go next to the floors.
Please note that this update is focused only on actions taken in the Appropriations Committees at the hearings yesterday. Other important bills have already moved to the floors of both houses, either through prior actions of the Appropriations Committees or directly from other committees, and we will provide an update next week identifying those bills.
Below, we have highlighted yesterday’s actions on some of the major education measures (bill numbers 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 bill titles in the attachment are also linked to the full text of the bill.
The summaries we provide describe the legislation prior to any amendments taken yesterday. The amendments we describe are anticipated, as actual language and full detail have not yet been provided.
Following is a review of actions taken on some of the more significant bills related to K-12 education:
Assessment and Accountability
Most of the action related to assessment and accountability is currently taking place at the State Board of Education (SBE), including finalizing the evaluation rubrics, revising the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) templates, and implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
AB 2548 (Weber) was passed this week to build on these efforts by requiring the SBE to establish performance standards for key indicators and adopt an accountability system for K-12 public schools. This system must be aligned to federal requirements. It will rely upon data from specified key indicators and ensure the creation of a data and reporting system that provides meaningful and accessible information on school and school district performance.
Curriculum and Instruction
After many years of limbo due to funding shortages during the Great Recession, the SBE has been moving forward with instructional materials adoptions and schools are making decisions to adopt and purchase materials and educational technology.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved AB 575 (O’Donnell) to reestablish a fee-supported process for the follow up adoption of instructional materials for grades 1 through 8. These materials may be submitted for adoption by the SBE at least once, but not more than twice, every eight years.
AB 2016 (Alejo) would require a model curriculum in ethnic studies to be developed by the Instructional Quality Commission and adopted by the SBE. The Senate Appropriations amended the bill to delay the deadline for model curriculum and reduce cost pressures.
Employee Evaluation, Training and Retention
While there is lots of talk about teacher pipeline and shortage issues, the response so far by the Legislature and Governor has been fairly limited. Assuming Proposition 98 funding continues to grow, we expect more activity on this issue over the next few years.
CDE was charged with the task of identifying and sharing culturally responsive professional development programs in AB 2353 (McCarty), which was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 933 (Allen), which was held in committee due to a $60 million price tag that was not accounted for in the Budget, would have established the California Teacher Corps to create or expand teacher residency programs, e.g., master teacher stipends, stipends and tuition for residents, and costs of mentoring and induction.
A number of school districts and county offices of education, including those in the San Diego area, raised concerns about the fairness of energy rates imposed on K-12 school entities. Unfortunately, bills to address this issue stalled in the legislative process.
AB 2120 (Weber) would have expanded the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) intervenor compensation program to include county offices of education or similar K-12 consortia to participate in gas or electricity rate proceeding. It was held in committee. Likewise, SB 1041 (Hueso) would have required the CPUC to consider the effects of establishing a rate for electric service for public elementary and secondary schools.
As we recently reported, labor groups made a major push to get management organizations to support a mandatory orientation bill that would require employers to provide for an in-person meeting between all new employees and their union representative.
Not surprisingly, labor was able to continue to move their bill, AB 2835 (Cooper), even after virtually all city, county, and K-12 management groups remained opposed to the new requirements. This bill will require all public employers to provide mandatory orientation sessions for new employees that would include time for the exclusive bargaining representative to present (see attached for a full description of amendments to AB 2835).
The battle on this issue will likely shift to the Governor and advocacy by labor and management to attempt to persuade him to sign or veto the bill.
Labor had equal success in moving AB 2197 (Garcia), which would allow classified employees to be eligible for unemployment insurance between academic years (provided there is a budget appropriation made for that purpose).
Other Key Bills
The following bills were passed out by their respective Appropriations Committee:
- AB 1014 (Thurmond) and SB 527 (Liu) will both move forward to implement new K-12 programs stemming from Proposition 47’s “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund.”
- AB 2246 (O’Donnell) requires schools to adopt a policy on student suicide prevention.
- AB 2785 (O’Donnell) requires CDE to develop an LEA manual for identifying, assessing, and reclassifying English learners who may qualify for special education services.
- SB 123 (Liu) amends the School-Based Medi-Cal Administrative Activities program by developing an appeals process and creating a workgroup to advise the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Education on future program changes.
- SB 1072 (Mendoza) requires LEAs to ensure various bus safety requirements are met, including the installation of a child safety alarm to ensure that a student is not left unattended on a bus.
- SB 1156 (Huff) amends the Open Enrollment Act and extending its sunset date to 2023.
- SB 1113 (Beall) authorizes LEAs to establish partnerships for the purpose of providing mental health services to students.
The following bills were held in committee and will not move forward this year:
- AB 1426 (Cooper) would have increased the per-student daily and weekly rates for the After School Education and Safety program and eliminated the requirement for the after school component of the program to operate at least until 6 p.m. on regular schooldays.
- SB 1225 (Mendoza) would have created the Teachers Bill of Rights Act and requiring the principal of each school to post these rights in a common area of administrative offices.
- SB 1432 (Huff) would have revised and recast the District of Choice program and extended it through 2023.