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CSBA's Education Legal Alliance Files Mandate Test Claim to Increase Smarter Balanced Assessment Funding

Estimated annual mandate costs total $1 billion for CA school districts and COEs


SACRAMENTO, Calif., (January 28, 2015) – CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance (ELA) is leading the effort and has filed a mandate test claim with the Commission on State Mandates to secure more funding for school districts and county offices of education (COE) administering the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests. The ELA is supporting and guiding Santa Ana USD, Plumas COE, Plumas USD, Porterville USD, and Vallejo USD, and it is estimated that the annual, ongoing cost to school districts and COEs from the CAASPP, which includes the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) is at least $1 billion.

Under the California Constitution, the state is required to reimburse school districts for the cost of any new program or higher level of service imposed on district by state law.

“In order to comply with the CAASPP requirements, districts have had no choice but to invest significant funds to expand their internet infrastructure, increase their software and hardware purchases, offer professional development and hire more staff,” said Jesús M. Holguín, CSBA President and board member in the Moreno Valley Unified School District. “The purpose of the mandate test claim is to secure funding for the increased costs districts and COEs have incurred in implementing the CAASP.”

“Between last year and this year, Santa Ana USD has spent an estimated $12 million in costs related to preparing for SBA,” said Dr. Rick Miller, Superintendent of Santa Ana USD. “This new state assessment, which is part of CAASPP, requires a computer rather than a pencil. As a result, we have had to spend millions of dollars in order to administer the test and we will need to continue to make additional expenditures in the future.”

“In Porterville, we were forced to hire three new technology specialists in order to proper equip and train our staff to administer the SBA,” said John Snavely, Superintendent of Porterville USD.  “By not providing us with the necessary resources to implement the SBA, we are forced to forgo funding for other important programs.”

Currently, the Commission on State Mandates is requesting public comment from interested parties. If other districts want to support the test claim, they can file comments explaining the new expenses districts have had to incur as a result of the SBA mandate. For more information or if a district is interested in filing a comment, email


About CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance
The ELA is the legal arm of CSBA, helping to ensure that local school boards retain the authority to fully exercise the responsibilities vested in them by law to make policy and fiscal decisions for their local educational agencies. The ELA represents its members by addressing legal issues of statewide concern to school districts.