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CSBA introduces bills to establish home-to-school transportation COLA, fix the reserve cap and address additional issues 

On Feb. 17, Senate Bill 751 (Hill & Glazer) was introduced by CSBA to fix the school district reserve cap. 

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) are the primary authors of the bill, with Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) serving as principal coauthor and Senators Ben Allen, Cathleen Galgiani and Richard Roth and Asm. Jacqui Irwin all signed on as coauthors – the list of coauthors is likely to grow.

SB 751 will:

  • Raise the level of the statutory reserve limit from 6 percent to 17 percent (a nationally-recognized standard for government agency reserves);
  • Clarify that the reserve cap law would apply only to unassigned ending balances in the school district’s general fund and special reserve fund for other than capital outlay projects, and;
  • Exempt all small districts (2,501 ADA or less) and basic aid districts from the reserve cap law

If triggered, the current reserve cap law would leave all California schools dangerously vulnerable to another economic downtown and would limit districts’ ability to make basic classroom purchases such as textbooks and technology upgrades. Fixing the reserve cap remains atop CSBA’s list of legislative priorities.

SB 751  can be heard in policy committee as early as mid-March.

Additional bills sponsored by CSBA include:

SB 527 (Galgiani, D-Stockton) – SB 527 would, beginning in 2018-19, require that funds received by school districts, COEs and charter schools for home-to-school transportation include an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

AB 1354 (Kiley, R-Roseville) – This education code “cleanup bill” is similar to bills previously sponsored by CSBA to remove categorical programs no longer necessary under LCFF. This bill specifically repeals provisions related to the Bill Bradley Human Relations Pilot Project (which requires teaching a course on human relations) and Conservation Education Service grants made by the SBE.

CSBA is also likely co-sponsoring Assembly Bill 165 (Cooper, D-Elk Grove), which amends the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), originally enacted by SB 178 (Leno) in 2015. CalEPCA prohibits police and public agencies from accessing electronic equipment without establishing probable cause and obtaining a warrant – however, the original bill did not clearly define the role of schools in enforcing school rules and student discipline. AB 165 amends CalECPA to allow LEAs to access student electronic equipment without obtaining a warrant in instances of bullying and other violations of school rules.

Friday, Feb. 17, marked the introduction deadline for new 2017 legislation, with the Senate and Assembly introducing a combined total of nearly 2,500 bills. CSBA will announce its positions on several 2017-18 bills affecting K-12 education in early March. 

For a list of bills CSBA is monitoring in 2017, click here