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Legislative Update: Reserve cap, transportation COLA bills await concurrence votes in Senate; several bills headed to Gov. Brown 

After passing the Assembly with 73 “Aye” votes and zero “No” votes late Monday evening, Senate Bill 751 (Hill & Glazer) is awaiting concurrence in the Senate, a vote which would send the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. SB 751 was amended on Sept. 5 and now represents a legislative agreement on a solution to the reserve cap. Asm. Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) is now a coauthor of SB 751, and the California Teachers Association supports the bill. Read more about SB 751.

The CSBA-sponsored SB 527 (Galgiani, D-Stockton), which would add a statutory cost-of-living adjustment for home-to-school transportation, also awaits a concurrence vote in the Senate and is on the Senate special consent calendar. Like SB 751, the bill has yet to receive a single “No” vote in any committee or floor vote thus far.

The Senate and Assembly both have until Friday, Sept. 15 to pass legislation and send those bills to Gov. Brown for his signature.

View all 2017-18 bills with CSBA positions.

Other key legislation:

Start time bill:

As of this writing, SB 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge), a bill which would prohibit all California middle and high schools from beginning classes before 8:30 a.m., is still awaiting a vote on the Assembly Floor. CSBA opposes the bill.

Assembly Bill 1217, state STEM school:

A coalition including CSBA, CTA, ACSA, CASBO, PTA, SSDA and several others issued a press release on Sept. 8 opposing AB 1217 (Bocanegra, D-Pacoima), a bill which would establish a state STEM school in Los Angeles County but raises serious governance concerns by circumventing existing processes for school authorizations at the local school board, county board of education and State Board of Education levels and would establish a precedent of the Legislature serving as an authorizer. Read the press release here.

“AB 1217 is another attempt to deliver our public schools into the hands of unaccountable private actors,” CSBA President Susan Henry said in the press release. “There are plenty of ways to establish new schools under existing law, but instead of using one of them, this bill sets a precedent that undermines local control of public schools. We encourage the Legislature to defeat AB 1217 and to focus on supporting and strengthening all public schools.”

Water testing for lead:

AB 746 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego), a bill related to testing for lead in school-site water supplies, was significantly amended to address concerns raised by CSBA as well as concerns from the Governor’s office. The amendments align provisions of the bill with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water safety standards and also alleviate some of the costs burden on local education agencies related to testing. AB 746 stipulates that community water systems would be required to test all school sites that they serve before July 1, 2019. LEAs would still be required to notify parents and guardians if an elevated lead level is found, and would be required to shut down any faucets or fixtures if a lead level is found that exceeds 15 parts per billion (the U.S. EPA safety standard). Some concerns still remain regarding availability of funding for replacement of pipes and other fixtures if tests reveal that such repairs are needed. The bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting concurrence on the amendments in the Assembly.

Title IX:

SB 169 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara), supported by CSBA, passed the Assembly Floor today and now awaits concurrence in the Senate. The bill address issues of sexual assault and sexual violence by codifying federal Title IX standards into California law, thereby increasing state-level enforcement if federal standards or the enforcement of sex equity laws pertaining to sexual assault are undermined, amended or repealed. In a prepared speech on Sept. 7, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the U.S. Department of Education has begun the process of revising existing Title IX protections on sexual assault.

Voting age:

The Assembly is also considering Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10 (Low, D-Campbell), which would lower California’s voting age from 18 to 17. The bill failed passage on the Assembly Floor on Sept. 12, but was granted reconsideration, which means that the bill could potentially receive another floor vote before the end of the session. CSBA does not have an official position on ACA 10. Last year, ACA 7 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego) stalled in the Legislature; ACA 7 would have lowered the voting age to 16, but was limited to only local school or community college governing board election. ACA 10, if passed, would be an across-the-board change.

Bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor:

In advance of the Sept. 15 deadline, several bills have already been sent to the Governor’s desk, including AB 233 (Gloria, D-San Diego), which was sent to the Governor on Sept. 7.

While AB 233 endeavors to solidify a student’s “right to wear religious, ceremonial, or cultural adornments at school graduation ceremonies,” this legislation would have a much bigger impact by severely limiting the authority of LEA’s to establish a cohesive graduation dress code that maintains a focus on students’ academic and co-curricular accomplishments.

Of particular concern with AB 233 is that its definition of “cultural” as “relating to the habits, practices, beliefs, and traditions of a certain group of people” may prove to be unintentionally broad. The bill does specify that its provisions would not be construed to limit LEA authority to prohibit adornments that would cause a “substantial disruption of or interference with” a graduation ceremony. However, the determination of whether or not a cultural adornment would create a substantial disruption is ultimately a subjective decision. If signed, this bill could leave LEAs open to potential lawsuits when making such a determination.

Other bills going to Gov. Brown’s desk include:

AB 1550 (Limón, D-Santa Barbara) – Small district JPAs – Support – AB 1550 has sailed through the Legislature with no opposition, and would allow two or more small school districts (defined as having an average daily attendance of less than 2,501) to form a joint powers authority for the purpose of sharing administrative costs associated with the issuance and sale of facilities bonds.

SB 344 (Bradford, D-Gardena) – Interdistrict attendance – Support – This bill extends a temporary provision in statute which gives counties (with ADA of greater than 180,000) 40 school days, instead of 30 calendar days, to determine whether a pupil should be permitted to attend a district of his or her choice. The number of appeals handled by some of the counties that qualify for the extension is on the rise, thus creating the need for the extension.

AB 23 (Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles) – Single gender schools – Support – AB 23 authorizes a school district (of more than 400,000 ADA) to implement a pilot single-gender school or program, if certain criteria are met.

AB 189 (Low, D-Campbell) – Model curriculum: service learning – Support – AB 189 would direct the Instructional Quality Commission to develop, and the State Board of Education to adopt, model service learning curriculum. With amendments to the bill made in July, school boards may now adopt these policies if they choose, but will not be required to do so as the original version of the bill was written.

AB 10 (Garcia, Cristina, D-Bell Gardens) – Feminine hygiene products – Disapprove – Would require public schools (offering grades 6 through 12) meeting a 40 percent pupil poverty threshold to stock 50 percent of the school’s restrooms with feminine hygiene products, as defined. Amendments made to the bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee would prohibit a public school from charging for any menstrual products.

Bills signed in 2017 by Gov. Brown:

Following Gov. Brown’s deadline to sign bills on Oct. 15, CSBA will release its annual “What’s New for 2018” report, detailing every law signed by Gov. Brown affecting K-12 education.

Gov. Jerry Brown has already signed several bills in 2017, including:

AB 1354 (Kiley, R-Roseville), a CSBA-sponsored “cleanup bill” repealing categorical programs that are no longer necessary under the Local Control Funding Formula. This is the fourth such CSBA-sponsored bill passed by the Legislature in the four years since LCFF was implemented; altogether these bills have eliminated more than 80 obsolete categorical programs from the Education Code. 

AB 37 (O'Donnell, D-Long Beach) – VAPA content standards in media arts – Support

Would require the superintendent to additionally recommend visual and performing arts standards in the subject of media arts, and require those recommendations to go through the same development, public review, and approval process for recommended revisions to the visual and performing arts content standards, as specified.

AB 192 (Medina, D-Riverside) – Migrant education: statewide parent advisory council – Support

Current law requires the Superintendent to sponsor an annual State Parent Advisory Council Conference. Current law requires the statewide parent advisory council to prepare and submit a report to the Legislature, the State Board, the Superintendent, and the Governor regarding the status of the migrant education program. This bill would require the statewide parent advisory council to prepare and submit this report every three years. The bill would require the State Parent Advisory Council Conference to be held biennially and would authorize the superintendent to sponsor regional conferences to take the place of the state conference if the Superintendent determines that regional conferences will increase parent participation.

AB 341 (Frazier, D-Discovery Bay) – School field trips: expenses – Support

Current law authorizes the governing board of a school district or the county superintendent of schools of a county to conduct field trips or excursions in connection with courses of instruction or school-related social, educational, cultural, athletic or school band activities to and from places in the state, any other state, the District of Columbia or a foreign country for pupils enrolled in elementary or secondary schools. Current law prohibits school districts from paying expenses of pupils participating in a field trip or excursion to any other state, the District of Columbia or a foreign country with school district funds. This bill would delete that prohibition.

AB 681 (Chau, D-Arcadia) – Teacher preparation outside of the United States: temporary certificates – Support

Current law requires the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to, among other duties, establish standards for the issuance and renewal of credentials, certificates and permits. This bill would authorize the commission to determine that the national standards for coursework, programs or degrees in a country other than the United States are equivalent to those offered by a regionally accredited institution in the United States. The bill would provide that, if the commission determines that the other country’s national standards are equivalent, an individual who holds or is eligible for a credential in that country is presumed to have satisfied specified requirements for obtaining a credential.

AB 1453 (Garcia, Eduardo, D-Coachella) – Schoolbuses: adult volunteer transportation – Support

Would authorize the governing board of a school district to additionally provide for the transportation of adult volunteers to and from educational activities authorized by the school district. This bill contains other existing laws.

SB 455 (Newman, D-Fullerton) – Pupil enrollment: military dependents – Approve

Current law states that a pupil complies with the residency requirements if the pupil’s parent is transferred or is pending transfer to a military installation within the boundaries of the school district while on active military duty pursuant to an official military order, and requires a parent to provide proof of residence within 10 days after the published arrival date provided on official documentation. This bill would instead provide that a pupil complies with the residency requirements if the pupil’s parent is transferred or is pending transfer to a military installation within the state while on active military duty pursuant to an official military order, and would require a parent to provide proof of residence in the school district within 10 days after the published arrival date provided on official documentation.

SB 496 (Cannella, R-Ceres) – Indemnity: design professionals – Oppose

Current law provides, with respect to contracts and amendments to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2011, with a public agency, as defined, for design professional services, that all provisions, clauses, covenants and agreements contained in, collateral to or affecting these contracts or amendments to contracts that purport to require the design professional to defend the public agency under an indemnity agreement, including the duty and the cost to defend, are unenforceable, except for claims that arise out of, pertain to or relate to the negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct of the design professional. This bill would instead make these provisions applicable to all contracts for design professional services entered into on or after January 1, 2018.

SB 665 (Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa) – Elections: ballot measures – Support

Current law states that whenever a statewide, county, city or school district measure qualifies for the ballot, specified entities, including bona fide associations of citizens, may file a written argument for or against the measure. This bill would require an organization or association submitting an argument for or against a measure to also submit additional information to the appropriate official to enable that official to determine if it qualifies as a bona fide association of citizens.