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Legislative Update - Hot Bills

Wednesday, March 6, 2019   (0 Comments)

Friday, February 22nd was the deadline for legislators to introduce bills. Since December, lawmakers have introduced 2,589 bills. Our team has now sorted through all the introductions and have identified nearly 500 as addressing issues of potential interest.

While this update looks at some key bills, a comprehensive list of all the education-related bills we are tracking, sorted by category, can be found here. As you look through the list, it is worth noting that at this point, many bills are “spot bills,” i.e. works in progress. These are placeholder bills that often just state an author’s intent to do something in the area of education and which will likely be significantly amended in the coming week, if the author decides to pursue it.

One notable theme is the return of a number of bills that were vetoed under the previous Administration, including efforts to allow the administration of cannabis-products on campus to students with severe disabilities and to require that schools start no earlier than 8:30 am. With Governor Newsom in office, many Legislators will now try and see if they will have more success under the new Administration.

Below you will find a summary of some key measures, sorted by broad category, that we have identified at this early point in the process.

 

Assessment & Accountability

The key bills in the area of assessment and accountability center around how the state measures student achievement. Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell has reintroduced his effort to reduce student test fatigue and remove a barrier to college attendance, a bill to provide school districts with the option of offering a nationally recognized high school assessment, like the SAT, in lieu of the 11th grade state assessment. The Assembly Member ran a similar bill last year but it was vetoed by Governor Brown, who favored first waiting to see if state universities would start accepting the 11th grade assessment for admission purposes.

Another bill, by Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), would change the formula used to measure student achievement for purposes of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) priorities. The bill would separate out the percentage of students who have successfully completed courses required for admission to the University of California or California State University and who have successfully completed Career Technical Education (CTE) courses of study as two individual measures but also add the percentage of students who successfully complete both types of courses as an new, additional measure.

·     AB 751 (O’Donnell) – Pupil assessment: Pathways to College Act - This bill would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to approve a nationally recognized high school assessment that a local educational agency (LEA), may, at its own discretion, administer, if the alternative assessment is approved by the local educational agency’s governing board or body in a public meeting, commencing with the 2021–22 school year, and each school year thereafter, in lieu of the consortium summative assessment in English language arts and mathematics for grade 11.

·     AB 908 (O’Donnell) – Pupil assessment: interim and formative assessments - Current law requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to acquire, and offer at no cost to LEAs, interim and formative assessment tools for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, as provided through membership in that consortium. This bill would require formative assessments, like interim assessments, to also be designed to provide timely feedback to teachers that they may use to continually adjust instruction to improve pupil learning.

·     AB 1240 (Weber) – School accountability: local control and accountability plans: state priorities: pupil achievement - This bill would require pupil achievement to be measured by, separate calculations for (1) the percentage of pupils who have successfully completed courses that satisfy the requirements for entrance to the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU), (2) the percentage of pupils who have successfully completed courses that satisfy the requirements for career technical education (CTE) sequences or programs of study that align with state board-approved CTE standards and frameworks, as prescribed, and (3) the percentage of pupils who have successfully completed both types of courses described in (1) and (2).

 

Charter Schools

With charter reform virtually non-existent under Jerry Brown’s time in office, the election of Gavin Newsom has presented members of the Legislature with new opportunities to seek changes to the law. While backed by CTA in the election, it is still unclear just how far Governor Newsom is willing to go when it comes to charters. While the lone Senate proposal on charter schools, which would explicitly apply the same conflict of interest requirements for school districts to charter schools, has already been fast-tracked through the process and is now on the Governor’s desk, the Assembly has taken a more sweeping, overhaul approach to the issue.

Assembly proposals include changing whether school districts approve a charter from “shall” to “may”, removing authority to appeal charter denials to the county boards and state board of education, capping the total number of charters in the state, and prohibiting charters from locating outside the boundaries of the authorizing school district, among other. It is still early in the process, so we will have to wait to see what shape these proposals are in if, and when, they reach the Governor’s desk.

·     AB 967 (Smith) – Local control and accountability plans - This bill would provide that the development, adoption, and transparency requirements for local control and accountability plans and the updates to those plans that are applicable to the governing boards of school districts and superintendents of school districts, are also applicable to the governing bodies of charter schools and administrators of charter schools, as specified. This bill would also revise and impose additional requirements on superintendents of school districts and administrators for charter schools in regards to presenting the local control and accountability plan and the annual update to the local control and accountability plan to certain parent advisory committees.

·     AB 1505 (O’Donnell) – Charter schools: petitions - This bill would change the authority of a school district to approve a charter petition from “shall approve” to “may approve.” The bill would also repeal provisions authorizing a county board of education or the State Board of Education (SBE) to approve a petition to establish a charter school, and would specify that, on and after January 1, 2020, a petition to establish a charter school may be submitted only to the school district the boundaries within which the charter school would be located.

·     AB 1506 (McCarty) – Charter schools: statewide total - The Charter Schools Act of 1992 limits the number of charter schools authorized to operate in this state, as provided. This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to those provisions, including deleting an obsolete provision relating to a Legislative Analyst’s Office report.

·     AB 1507 (Smith) – Charter schools: location - This bill would delete the authority of a charter school to locate outside the jurisdiction or geographic boundaries of the chartering school district because the charter school has attempted to locate a single site or facility to house the entire program, but a site or facility is unavailable in the area in which the charter school chooses to locate, or the site is needed for temporary use during a construction or expansion project.

·      AB 1508 (Bonta) – Charter schools: petitions - This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would permit chartering authorities to consider, in determining whether to approve a new charter school petition, the financial, academic, and facilities impacts the new charter school would have on neighborhood public schools.

·     SB 126 (Leyva) – Charter Schools - This bill would expressly state that charter schools and entities managing charter schools are subject to the same conflict of interest requirements as school districts, including the Ralph M. Brown Act, the California Public Record Act, Government Code 1090, and the Political Reform Act of 1974.

 

Curriculum & Instruction

The adequacy of special education funding has been a long-running debate among the Governor, Legislature, and special education stakeholders. This year, along with Governor Newsom’s budget proposal to provide $576 million for special education concentration grants aimed at early intervention and school readiness efforts, both the Assembly and the Senate have put forth their own bills to address special education funding. While both proposals would keep the current AB 602 funding model in place, they each take different approaches to the issue.

The Assembly proposal is threefold and would equalize funding to the 95th percentile, provide supplemental funding for high cost services, and establish a funding formula within AB 602 for preschoolers with exceptional needs. The Senate proposal takes a narrower approach and focuses on providing early education programs with grants to school district based on its number of preschoolers with exceptional needs. Though introduced as legislative proposals, we expect both houses’ proposals to also be a part of ongoing budget negotiations as the budget committees in both houses hold hearings on the Governor’s proposal.

Another legislative measure we expect to be a part of the budget conversations is a proposal by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) to repeal the move in last year’s budget to split funding for the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Program between the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Strong Workforce Program, which is run out of the California Community Colleges. Assembly Member O’Donnell is proposing shifting funding completely back to the CDE as well as increasing the total allocation of funding by $150 million, for an annual total of $450 million.

·     AB 331 (Medina) – Pupil instruction: high school graduation requirements: ethnic studies - This bill would add the completion of a one-semester course in ethnic studies, in either the subject of social studies or English, based on the model curriculum in ethnic studies developed by the Instructional Quality Commission, to the high school graduation requirements commencing with the 2023–24 school year.

·     AB 428 (Medina) – Special education funding - This bill would increase the percentile to which special education funding rates must be equalized to the 95th percentile, establish a high cost service allowance for the purpose of providing supplemental finding to a Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) on the basis of the number of pupils with severe disabilities, and establish a funding formula within AB 602 for programs serving three and four-year-olds with disabilities.

·     AB 1303 (O’Donnell) – California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program: Strong Workforce Program - This bill would terminate the appropriation for the K-12 component of the Strong Workforce Program after the 2018-19 fiscal year and instead specify that, upon appropriation by the Legislature, $450,000,000 shall be made available for the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) Program to CDE for the 2018–19 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter. The bill would also add regional occupational centers or programs operated by county offices of education (COEs) to the entities authorized to be grant recipients under the program and, commencing with the 2019-20 fiscal year, reduce the required match from a grant recipient to a 1:1 match.

·     SB 217 (Portantino) – Special Education: individuals with exceptional needs: early education programs - This bill would establish the Special Education Early Intervention Grant Program and require, subject to an appropriation, the SPI to allocate to school districts $4,000 per child within the school district of residence who is 3 or 4 years of age, is an individual with exceptional needs, and is enrolled in an early education preschool program. The bill would also require, for the 2019–20 school year and each school year thereafter, a school district or charter school to admit a child to a transitional kindergarten (TK) program who will have their 5th birthday after December 2 but during that same school year, if the child is an individual with exceptional needs.

 

Early Childhood

Early education efforts will likely take the forefront this year as both the new Governor and Legislature have indicated their intent to increase support for early childhood services. Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) has introduced a package of bills that would expand access to the state preschool program, place a bond on the next statewide ballot to fund a preschool facilities grant program, and establish a single regionalized state reimbursement rate system for childcare, preschool, and early learning. A similar bill to establish a single regionalized state reimbursement rate has also been introduced on the Senate side.

Additionally, Assembly Member Weber has also introduced legislation in this area, this time focusing on kindergarten access. Having previously authored unsuccessful legislation to make kindergarten mandatory, her new proposal would require universal full-day kindergarten by the 2021-22 school year. The bill would provide that a minimum schoolday for full-day kindergarten is the same number of minutes per schoolday that is offered to pupils in 1st grade.

·     AB 123 (McCarty) – Early childhood education: state preschool program: transitional kindergarten: access standards - This bill makes various findings and declarations regarding early childhood education and provides that it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would do certain things relating to early childhood education, including expanding the state preschool program and enabling local educational agencies to blend the program with transitional kindergarten.

·     AB 125 (McCarty) – Early childhood education: reimbursement rates - This bill provides that it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a single regionalized state reimbursement rate system for childcare, preschool, and early learning services that would achieve specified objectives.

 

·     AB 197 (Weber) – Full-day kindergarten - This bill would require, commencing with the 2021–22 school year, school districts offering kindergarten to implement a full-day kindergarten program, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program.

·     SB 174 (Leyva) – Early childhood education: reimbursement rates - This bill provides that it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a single regionalized state reimbursement rate system for childcare, preschool, and early learning services to achieve specified objectives. The bill would require CDE, on or before January 1, 2021, to create a plan for the single regionalized state reimbursement rate system described above and ensure that the plan’s methodology includes certain things, including that the state’s diverse early childhood education teachers and providers will be competitively compensated.

·     SB 443 (Rubio) – Transitional kindergarten: average daily attendance - This bill would delete the provision that prohibits a pupil admitted to a transitional kindergarten who has their birthday after December 2 from generating average daily attendance or being included in the enrollment or unduplicated pupil count.

 

Facilities

With all of the bond funding provided under Proposition 51 (2016) already accounted for, the Legislature has now turned its attention towards the new bond opportunities on future ballots. One proposal would place bonds of unspecified amounts on the 2020 and 2022 ballots to fund, like with Prop. 51, the construction and modernization of K-12 and community college facilities. Another proposal would place a $500 million bond on the 2020 ballot to finance a preschool facilities grant program. While these efforts are currently house in different legislative vehicles, it is more than likely they could be merged into a single bond proposal.

·     AB 48 (O’Donnell) – Kindergarten- Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Acts of 2020 and 2022 - This bill would set forth the Kindergarten-Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Acts of 2020 and 2022 as state general obligation bond acts that would provide unspecified amounts of funds to construct and modernize education facilities, as specified. These respective bond acts would become operative only if approved by the voters at unspecified 2020 and 2022 statewide elections.

·     AB 124 (McCarty) – Preschool Facilities Bond Act of 2020 - This bill would enact the Preschool Facilities Bond Act of 2020 which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $500,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance a preschool facility grant program.

Governance & Operations

One of the biggest bills related to school governance introduced this year is actually a remnant from the previous legislative session. Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has reintroduced his school start-time bill, which would require schools to start no earlier than 8:30 am, excluding zero period. Last year, a nearly identical bill faced opposition from schools as well as other legislative members before it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brown, who preferred to defer to local school boards to make the decisions around school start-time.

Another returning bill would prohibit the suspension of a student for willful defiance permanently for grades 4-8 and until 2025 for grades 9-12. Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) authored a similar bill last year but it was also vetoed by Governor Brown, who felt teachers and principals, not legislators, were in the best position to make decisions about suspensions.

·     AB 177 (Low) – Election day holiday - This bill would add the day on which a statewide general election is held, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of any even-numbered year, to these lists of holidays. The bill would require community colleges and public schools to close on any day on which a statewide general election is held. The bill would require that state employees, with specified exceptions, be given time off with pay for days on which a statewide general election is held.

·     AB 1127 (Rivas, Luz) – Interdistrict attendance: prohibition on transfers by a school district of residence - This bill would prohibit a school district of residence from prohibiting the transfer of a pupil to the school district of proposed enrollment if the school district of proposed enrollment approves the transfer application and the pupil is a homeless child or youth or has been a homeless child or youth within the previous 5 school years, a currently migratory child or former migratory child, a foster youth, or a victim of an act of bullying.

·     AB 1761 (Jones-Sawyer) – Public schools: accountability: county superintendents of schools - This bill would recast and revise the duties of the county superintendent by requiring the county superintendent to identify a list of schools based on the schools identified for support and assistance under the state’s multiple measures public school accountability system and the single system of support established under a specified statute, and submit a report as to the state of those schools. The bill would also require the county superintendent, as part of compliance with accountability requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, to review those identified schools at least annually as priority schools.

·     SB 328 (Portantino) – Pupil attendance: school start time - This bill would require the schoolday for middle schools and high schools, including those operated as charter schools, to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m. by July 1, 2022, or the date on which a school district’s or charter school’s respective collective bargaining agreement that is operative on January 1, 2020, expires, whichever is later, except for rural school districts that obtain a waiver from the SBE to delay implementation.

·     SB 419 (Skinner) – Pupil discipline: suspensions: willful defiance - This bill would prohibit the suspension of a pupil enrolled in a school district or charter school in kindergarten or any of grades 4 to 8, inclusive, for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of those school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. The bill would also, until January 1, 2025, prohibit the suspension of a pupil enrolled in a school district or charter school in any of grades 9 to 12, inclusive, for those acts.

Human Resources

As part of his January Budget proposal, Governor Newsom proposed shifting the responsibility of monitoring teacher misassignment from COEs to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). While budget trailer bill language has been drafted for this shift, legislation has also been introduced by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) to require the CTC to oversee a State Assignment Accountability System to provide LEAs with a data system for assignment monitoring.

Additionally, Assembly Member Weber has re-upped her efforts to extend the probationary period for certificated staff from two consecutive years to three. The Assembly Member has unsuccessfully run similar legislation the previous two years. Legislation has also been introduced by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) that would make changes to the probationary period for classified staff as well.

·     AB 196 (Gonzalez) – Paid Family Leave - This bill would state the Legislature’s intent to enact legislation that would expand the paid family leave program in order to provide a 100% wage replacement benefit for workers earning $100,000 or less annually.

·     AB 221 (Garcia, Christina) – Teach for America teachers: assignment prohibition in low-income schools - This bill would prohibit, commencing with the 2020–21 school year, Teach for America teachers from being assigned, pursuant to the Teach for America program, to teach at any California public school, including a charter school, that has at least 40% of its pupils being from low-income families, as specified pursuant to Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965. To the extent that this bill would increase duties on school districts and charter schools, it would impose a state-mandated local program.

·     AB 1078 (Weber) – Certificated school employees: permanent status - This bill would extend the time of employment after which a certificated employee of a county superintendent of schools, and an employee of the governing board of a school district, must be classified as a permanent employee of the county superintendent of schools or the school district from two complete consecutive school years in a position requiring certification equalizations to three complete consecutive school years.

·     AB 1119 (Garcia, Eduardo) – Substitute teachers: small school districts - This bill expresses the intent of the Legislature to later enact legislation that would require the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to work with stakeholders to explore opportunities for small school districts, defined as a school district with fewer than 2,501 units of average daily attendance, to expand their pools of eligible substitute teachers.

·     AB 1219 (Jones-Sawyer) – Teacher credentialing: certificated employee assignment monitoring - This bill would repeal the current provisions related to teacher assignment monitoring and would instead require the commission to administer a State Assignment Accountability System for purposes of assignment monitoring.

·     AB 1353 (Wicks) – Classified employees: probationary period - This bill would shorten the maximum length of a prescribed period of probation for classified employees before they are designated as permanent employees of a school district from not exceeding one year to not exceeding six months or 130 days of paid service, whichever is longer.

 

School Finance

Despite the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) being fully funded following the 2018-19 budget, California still ranks near the bottom in per pupil funding. Recognizing this, the Legislature’s focus has now turned to the future of education funding in a post-LCFF transition world.

Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) has once again introduced a bill that would increase the base grants of LCFF and, in doing so, also increase the supplemental and concentration grants for low income, English learner, foster, and homeless students. Like his AB 2808 from last year, which ultimately failed to make it to Governor Brown’s desk, this year’s proposal would raise LCFF base grants and bring California within the top ten of states in per pupil funding.

Assembly Member Weber has also reintroduced her bill from last year to expand the definition of “unduplicated pupil” to also include pupils in the lowest performing subgroup, based on the math and English language arts scores from the most recent administration of the state assessment. 

The Legislature is also looking at ways to increase education funding outside of LCFF. A constitutional amendment by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) would lower the voter threshold for school parcel taxes to 55%. This effort is nearly identical to an effort by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) from last year, SCA 22, that ultimately died in the Senate Appropriations committee.

·     AB 39 (Muratsuchi) – Education finance: local control funding formula: funding increase - This bill would specify new, higher base grant amounts for the 2019–20 fiscal year, which would also increase the supplemental and concentration grant amounts and result in various other changes to funding calculations for purposes of the local control funding formula.

·     AB 575 (Weber) – Education finance: local control funding formula: supplemental grants lowest performing pupil subgroup or subgroups - This bill would, commencing with the 2019–20 fiscal year, adjust the definition of “unduplicated pupils” to include pupils who are included in the lowest performing subgroup or subgroups, as defined, based on the most recently available mathematics or language arts results on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

·     SCA 3 (Hill) – Property taxation: change in ownership: inheritance exclusion - The California Constitution specifies various transfers that are not deemed to be a “purchase” or “change in ownership” of a property for purposes of ad valorem taxes on real property, including the purchase or transfer of a principal residence from parents to their children, or, under certain circumstances, from grandparents to their grandchildren, and the purchase or transfer of the first $1,000,000 of the full cash value of all other real property transferred from parents or grandparents to their children or grandchildren. This measure would limit the above-described $1,000,000 exclusion for purchases or transfers of real property other than a principal residence to purchases or transfers of nonresidential real property.

·     SCA 5 (Hill) – Taxation: school districts: parcel tax - This measure would condition the imposition, extension, or increase of a parcel tax by a school district upon the approval of 55% of its voters voting on the proposition, if the proposition meets specified requirements.

School Safety

Two of the key efforts around school safety this yer are actually proposals returning from the previous legislative session after being vetoed by then-Governor Brown. Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has reintroduced her bill that would extend the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault by 14 years, revive lapsed claims for three years, and increase penalties for such crimes. Governor Brown vetoed the previous version of this bill because he believed a 2008 law, SB 630 (Simitian), already adequately addressed this issue.

Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) has also reintroduced his bill to allow the governing boards of school districts, COEs, and charter schools to adopt policies to allow parents to administer medically necessary cannabis-derived products on a school campus to a child with severe medical conditions. Governor Brown vetoed the previous effort over concerns he had around the use of cannabis by children, even for medicinal purposes.

·     AB 218 (Gonzalez) – Damages: childhood sexual assault: statute of limitations - This bill would expand the definition of childhood sexual abuse, which would instead be referred to as childhood sexual assault. This bill would also increase the time limit for commencing an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual assault to 22 years from the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority or within 5 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by sexual assault, whichever is later.

·     AB 223 (Hill) – Pupil health: administration of medicinal cannabis: schoolsites - This bill would enact Jojo’s Act, which would authorize school governing boards to adopt a policy that allows a parent or guardian of a pupil to possess and administer to the pupil who is a qualified patient entitled to the protections of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, medicinal cannabis, excluding cannabis in a smokeable or vapeable form, at a schoolsite. The bill would authorize the policy to be rescinded for any reason, as provided.

·     SB 541 (Bates) – School safety: lockdown drills - This bill would require every public, charter, and private, as provided, school that provides educational services to pupils in kindergarten or in any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to conduct a lockdown drill in response to a situation that presents an immediate and ongoing danger to the safety of pupils, faculty, staff, and visitors by a person using firearms or other types of weapons or displaying erratic behavior, at least twice per school year. By expanding the duties of a public school, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

 

Student Services

The demand for pupil mental health services, particularly on the school site, continues to grow across the state. That need is reflected in the increased number of bills introduced this year in the area of student and youth mental health. While many of these bills only contain intent language at the moment, one early proposal would require schools to have one mental health professional available on campus for every 600 students. As the legislative process moves along, we expect a number of these other bills to be amended with substantive proposals to address youth mental health issues.

·     AB 8 (Chu) – Pupil health: mental health professionals - This bill would require, on or before December 31, 2022, a school of a school district or COE and a charter school to have at least one mental health professional, as defined, for every 600 pupils generally accessible to pupils on campus during school hours. The bill would also require, on or before December 31, 2022, a school of a school district or COE and a charter school with fewer than 600 pupils to have at least one mental health professional generally accessible to pupils on campus during school hours, to employ at least one mental health professional to serve multiple schools.

·     AB 265 (Hertzberg) – Pupil meals: Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017 - This bill would require local educational agencies to ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed, treated differently, or served a meal that differs from what a pupil paying for a school meal would receive.

What’s Next?

Bills need to be in print for 30 days before they can be acted on. Legislative policy hearings will start ramping up in the next few weeks and we expect significant amendments to most bills as they make their way through the legislative process.