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Student health bills on the move; start time, transportation COLA and reserve cap up next week 

After approval in the Senate Education Committee last week, Assembly Bill 834 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) today passed the Senate Health Committee and will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill would establish an Office of School-Based Health Programs within the California Department of Education to help administer and support school-based health programs operated by public schools. If passed, this newly created office would help support local education agencies with delivery of school-based health services (as well as processing of Medi-Cal reimbursement for those services), and improve coordination between school districts, county offices of education and the Department of Health Care Services. CSBA supports the bill.

The Senate Health Committee also passed AB 254 (Thurmond, D-Richmond), supported by CSBA, which would establish a Local Educational Agency Behavioral Health Integration Pilot Program to provide grants to schools for the provision of behavioral health services. The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.

In the Assembly Environmental Quality Committee today, AB 746 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego), a bill related to drinking water quality, advanced to Appropriations after also passing the Senate Education Committee last week. The measure would require drinking water at school sites to be tested regularly for lead contamination; CSBA has a Support if Amended position on the bill and is seeking amendments to improve implementation, including adjusting the trigger required for testing to an EPA-recognized standard and limiting testing requirements to areas of the state that have tested positive for corrosive water supplies.

The Assembly Education Committee will meet on July 12 to consider several key education bills, including two CSBA-sponsored bills: Senate Bill 527 (Galgiani, D-Stockton) to add a statutory cost-of-living adjustment for home-to-school transportation, and SB 751 (Hill & Glazer) to fix the school district reserve cap. The committee will also hear SB 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge), the highly publicized school start time bill that would prohibit any middle or high school in California from starting classes before 8:30 a.m. CSBA opposes the bill.

View all 2017–18 legislation with CSBA Positions | View all 2017-18 bills CSBA is monitoring

Bills reviewed by the Senate Education Committee today include:

AB 1528 (Acosta, R-Santa Clarita)Held. 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. The bill would significantly limit, if not eliminate, access to critical support and teacher interaction, which are critical components of student success. CSBA testified during the hearing in opposition to the bill, which failed passage and will likely be a 2-year bill.

AB 23 (Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles)Passed. After a very lengthy discussion on the issue, AB 23 was passed by the Senate Education Committee. CSBA supports the bill, which authorizes a school district (of more than 400,000 average daily attendance) to implement a pilot single-gender school or program, if certain criteria are met.

AB 189 (Low, D-Campbell)Passed. CSBA recently amended its position from Support if Amended, and now supports this bill, which would direct the Instructional Quality Commission to develop and the State Board of Education to adopt model service learning curriculum. With recent amendments to the bill, school boards now may adopt these policies if they so choose, but will not be required to do so.

AB 318 (Caballero, D-Salinas)Passed. CSBA’s position on this bill has also moved from Support if Amended to Support, following amendments made by the Senate Education Committee today. This bill, as originally written, addressed student safety concerns by requiring weekly in-person or visual contact between certificated employees and pupils enrolled in independent study. While CSBA is fully supportive of ensuring student safety, the original parameters of the bill would provide hardships for small and rural districts to meet weekly check-in requirements. With today’s amendments, the bill maintains the current requirement for bimonthly check-ins, but requires that all contact be in-person or visual, no longer allowing audio-only contact.