CSBA 2023 Gold Star Bills shine light on year's best education legislation
Inaugural list recognizes bills that promote safe and supportive school facilities, universal broadband access, responsive governance, cybersecurity and teacher retention
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2023) – Returning a student’s test with a gold star is a time-honored tradition, a sign of recognition for a job well done. There are few equivalents for the adults who help create the policy conditions for student success. The California School Boards Association (CSBA) aims to change that by introducing our 2023 Gold Star Bills — some of this year’s most outstanding education legislation.
The Gold Star list is a way to recognize legislators who have enacted good policy with legislative proposals that benefit the state’s public schools. Bills that make CSBA’s Gold Star list distinguish themselves by supporting one of the association’s goals or policy pillars: strengthening local governance, securing fair funding, improving conditions of children and ensuring achievement for all.
The 2023 Gold Star Bills are shining lights of policy excellence that help create the conditions for student success and high-quality public schools. This year’s honorees tackle important issues like digital equity, the teacher shortage, cybersecurity, school facilities and good governance at a critical moment. For their timeliness and insight to the needs of California schools, CSBA awards gold stars to the following legislation:
Assembly Bill 247 – School Facilities Bond
Studies show that California needs to spend at least $3 billion annually to maintain school facilities — and more than $100 billion in state and local funds over the next decade to cover modernization and new construction costs.
Authored by Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi, Mike Fong and Lori Wilson, AB 247 would place the Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act on the 2024 statewide election ballot. If approved by voters, the act would provide $14 billion in state matching funds for TK-12 schools and community colleges to improve school safety, invest in disaster mitigation, adapt to the effects of climate change and create 21st-century learning spaces.
AB 414 – Digital Equity Bill of Rights
California has a moral, legal and economic interest in ensuring all students have access to a high-quality education. The lack of broadband access undermines the state’s ability to achieve this goal and threatens its civic well-being and economic prosperity. AB 414, authored by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, establishes digital equity as a civil right and classifies internet access as an essential service to which all California residents are entitled.
AB 557 – Remote Board Meetings
Wildfires, floods, earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic established the need for remote meetings when emergencies prevent local agencies from meeting in-person. AB 557, authored by Assemblymember Gregg Hart, extends the ability of local agencies to meet remotely, while also providing safeguards to ensure transparency and accountability. AB 557 is a simple but important tool for local governments to remain accessible to the public during a governor-declared state of emergency and to continue to provide essential services to affected residents.
AB 1023 – Cybersecurity
Cyberattacks are on the rise and schools, which hold a tremendous amount of sensitive information, are being targeted with increasing frequency. Yet, existing California law does not designate school districts and county offices of education for support from the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC), the state agency charged with responding to cyberattacks.
CSBA-sponsored AB 1023, authored by Assemblymember Diane Papan, would ensure that Cal-CSIC is required to provide direct cybersecurity assistance to TK-12 schools. The additional support will allow local educational agencies to prepare for and respond to cyberattacks more effectively protect data for students, staff and families.
Senate Bill 28 – School Facilities Bond
Also designed to address the $100 billion needed over the next decade for TK-12 and community college facilities is the Senate's version of a school facilities bond measure. SB 28, authored by Sen. Steven Glazer, would place a $15 billion general obligation bond on the 2024 state ballot to provide facilities support not only for TK-12 schools and community colleges. The bill also includes funds for the state's public university systems.
SB 765 – Teacher Shortage
Like most states, California is experiencing a severe teacher shortage. SB765, authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino, would help stem the teacher shortage crisis by streamlining the process for teachers to return to the classroom.
CSBA co-sponsored SB 765 would temporarily increase the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) salary cap and waive the 180-day mandatory waiting period LEAs must observe before hiring a recently retired teacher. Together, these two changes would provide a modest, yet much-needed immediate tool LEAs can use to address our state’s school staffing shortages.
Visit the CSBA Gold Star Bills page for more information.
CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.