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State Board of Education – September Meeting

The September State Board of Education (SBE) hearing continued the focus on accountability and assessment and included extensive discussion but few official actions. Below is a summary of the key items, including the Evaluation Rubrics, AYP, the Smarter Balanced Summative and Interim Assessments, Technology, the California Alternate Assessment Field Test, and the Next Generation Science Standards Assessments.

The board also swore in the 2015-16 SBE Student member, Michael McFarland of Rancho Palos Verdes.

ACCOUNTABILITY

LCAP Evaluation Rubrics 

As previously mentioned, one of the most significant pieces of the new accountability system is the LCAP Evaluation Rubrics, which will allow LEAs to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require improvement; assist county superintendents of schools to identify needs and focus technical assistance; and assist the SPI to direct interventions when warranted. SBE has until October 2016 to approve the rubrics.

Between now and the new year, CDE will be working with WestEd to prepare analyses of existing accountability statutes and regulations that may need to be modified to align with the new accountability system, and to develop a process to gather feedback on components of the evaluation rubrics to inform content and structure. At the November SBE hearing, the members will be presented with recommendations for a framework and implementation plan.

Average Yearly Progress (AYP)

One of the few contentious items at the hearing was CDE’s proposed AYP target for elementary and middle school attendance rates. At the January SBE hearing, the board approved the use of attendance rates as an indicator for elementary and middle school grades for AYP purposes; however, a target rate was not approved at that time and CDE staff were asked to provide supportive research as well as data on the impact on LEAs for any recommended target rate. At the September SBE hearing, CDE proposed a target rate of 93 percent for the 2014-15 school year. CDE’s recommendation was met with concern from education stakeholders who argued that it was unfair to impose a target for LEAs after the school year was over and LEAs could not do anything to improve. Additionally, SBE members Burr and Rucker felt the proposed target was too high. As a result, SBE approved a lower target of 90 percent for elementary and middle school attendance rates for the 2014-15 school year. According to CSBA, 139 schools will be affected as their 2014-15 attendance rate was lower than 90 percent.

ASSESSMENT - California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)– Update on Program Activities

Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments

The SBE hearing was prior to the September 9 public release of the assessment results which allowed CDE to give the board a sneak preview at the meeting. CDE provided a detailed update on the test administration and cautioned the board to expect these initial scores to be low and for public concern to be high. CDE provided the board with a presentation to assist the members in understanding the scores as well as how information will be provided to parents and the public.  You may find it helpful as well. http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr15/documents/sep15item01a2.pdf

In addition, CDE is in the process of developing the SPI’s recommendation for the development and administration of a summative assessment in primary languages other than English and will be making a presentation at a future SBE meeting.

Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments

Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, LEAs may administer the interim comprehensive assessments up to three times per student and the interim assessment blocks an unlimited number of times. In addition, LEAs may now administer interim assessments for any grade level to any student.

Technology Update - Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (BIIG)

The 2015-16 State Budget contains $50 million in one-time funds for the K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) to support additional network connectivity infrastructure grants. First priority will be given to school sites with a current connection speed below 20 Kilobits per second (Kbps) per student, that will be unable to administer the 2016 computer-based CAASPP assessment, and are unable to improve their Internet connection. Second priority will be given to schools with a connection less than 100 Kbps per student and which have limited options to improve their connections for the computer-based CAASPP assessment. Third priority will be given to schools, provided funds are available, to under-connected schools ranked by the lowest connection capacity. The grant application window closes September 30, 2015.

California Alternate Assessment Field Test (CAA)

CDE continues to have conversations with the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) as plans are developed for the 2015­–16 operational test. As previously mentioned, NCSC has an RFP with some states to develop an alternate assessment and California hopes to either use the NCSC items and/oor NCSC assessment in 2016.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Assessments

CDE continues to work with state and national science educators and experts involved in NGSS assessment development work. CDE is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Science Assessment Item Collaborative (SAIC) – a collaborative of states established to develop high-quality summative science test items aligned to the NGSS that could be used by member states as they build state science assessments. The SAIC Assessment Framework and the Item Specifications Guidelines are in their final review stage and the science item prototypes are in their initial stages of development.

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

Openings on SBE standing committees

Advisory Committee on Charter Schools – two openings and applicants must be school board members or superintendents

Advisory Committee on Special Education – one opening and applicants must be a parent of a disabled student

Instructional Quality Commission – five openings for teachers, especially in the areas of health, ELA/ELD and visual and performing arts

2016-17 Student Board Member – applicants must be current 11th graders.

All applications are due by October 12, 2015

Lee Angela Reid, Senior Legislative Advocate
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

 

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School Bond Initiative

We have just learned that the school bond initiative has received enough signatures to appear on the November 2016 ballot.  The bond measure will provide a total of $9 billion in new funds for K-14 school facilities.  This initiative maintains the current School Facilities Program rules that were in place as of January 2015.

The $9 billion would be split this way:

  • $2 billion for Community Colleges
  • $3 billion for K-12 New Construction
  • $3 billion for K-12 Modernization
  • $500 million for K-12 Charter Schools
  • $500 million for K-12 Career Technical Education (CTE)

Click here to view the text of the initiative.

Proposed Prop. 30 Tax Extension

In addition to this measure, voters will likely be asked to consider a measure to continue the Prop. 30 tax increases.  This proposed initiative was filed on Monday and will still have to go through the signature gathering phase.  It would:

  • Continue the higher tax brackets on couples earning more than $500,000 per year for 12 years, generating between $7-9 billion annually.
  • Allows the current quarter cent sales tax, which was part of Prop. 30, to expire in 2016. This will result in a loss of state revenues of approximately $1.5 billion.

Click here to view the text of the initiative.

Erin Evans-Fudem, Legislative Counsel
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

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CTA Files Prop 30 Extension Initiative for 2016 Ballot

Today, a coalition led by the California Teachers Association (CTA) filed an initiative with the Secretary of State for next year’s November ballot to extend the income taxes placed on the wealthiest Californians imposed by Prop 30. It would not extend the temporary sales tax increases under Prop 30.

The proposed ballot initiative is titled “School Funding and Budget Stability Act” and would lock-in the current rates for couples making more than $500,000 a year for an additional 12 years (running through 2030). Proponents estimate the initiative would generate between $7 billion and $9 billion dollars annually.

The initiative campaign will be run by CTA’s longtime political consultant, Gale Kaufman, one of the state’s most experienced and effective managers of statewide ballot initiatives.

Barrett Snider, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group

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State Allocation Board Summary – August 25, 2015

Blow is a summary of last week’s State Allocation Board Meeting.  Items of note include:

  • Close of Charter School Facilities Program (CSFP) Funding Round – Using the remaining funds in the CSFP, the SAB funded eligible charter projects for preliminary funding apportionments.  Projects which didn’t make this funding round will be returned to the schools.
  • Priority Funding Apportionments – Priority Funding Certifications were due to the State on July 14, 2015.  All but two projects were submitted and received fund releases.  The remaining two projects were returned to the Unfunded List.
  • State Bond Sale - The Treasurer’s office completed a state bond sale of $1.93 billion.  The amount of proceeds designated for the School Facilities Program is still under debate.  Eligible projects will be funded at the September 8th SAB Consent-only meeting.

SAB

Status of Funds

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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Appropriations Committees Pass Education Bills

Yesterday, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees acted on over 500 bills, including a large number of education measures. All of the bills acted upon contained significant costs to the state, so their passage signals strong institutional support. The bills that passed out of committee now head to the Senate and Assembly floors for consideration by the full legislative body. The Legislature has until Friday, September 11 to send bills to the Governor.

This year is remarkable to us in the sense that it feels quiet compared to prior years. Normally, at this point in the legislative session we expect the Appropriations Committees to act on a number of high profile education bills. This year, however, there are relatively few. Nearly all of the major education-related issues this year played out either in the budget process (additional LCFF/one-time funding, CTE and Adult Ed grants, etc.), in legislation that has already been signed by the Governor (the vaccination bill, 2015 CAHSEE exemption, etc.), or in bills that have stalled or are waiting for additional consideration outside of the normal process (teacher evaluation, budget reserve cap, school bond, etc.). Additionally, while the state continues to wrestle with turning on a new accountability system, that action is taking place at the State Board of Education – outside of the legislative process.

With that said, a number of notable bills advanced. Of particular interest, the Assembly Appropriations Committee passed legislation that would retain the high school exit exam for three years, but not require its passage as a condition of graduation. The Appropriations Committees also passed bills to ban “Redskins” as a mascot in schools, provide additional slots for preschool, require schools to cover the cost of teacher induction programs, subject charter schools to open meeting requirements, and stop costly lawsuits related to PE minutes, among others.

Bills that failed to pass out of the Appropriations Committees are now considered two-year bills, meaning they can be taken up again when the Legislature reconvenes in January (though not likely in their current form). Some of the key bills that did not pass out of committee are listed at the end of this summary.

Following is a full summary of education-related measures that advanced yesterday, sorted by category. The bill titles are linked to bill text (be aware: bills that were amended in committee will probably not be updated online until early next week).

Assessment and Accountability

SB 172 - Liu (D): Pupil Testing: High School Exit Examination: Suspension

Suspends the requirement to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a condition of receiving a high school diploma and requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to make recommendations regarding the continuation of the CAHSEE and alternative pathways to satisfying high school graduation requirements. Amendments specify that local educational agencies shall grant high school diplomas to students who satisfy all other graduation requirements through July 31, 2018.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 359 - Mitchell (D): California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015

Creates the California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 to require school boards or governing bodies of local education agencies serving pupils in grades 8 or 9, or both, that do not have a mathematics placement policy in place as of January 1, 2016, to develop one. Amendments taken require the policy to be developed before the 2016–2017 school year.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 369 - Block (D): California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Date System: Pupils of Military Families

Requires the SPI, on or before July 1, 2016, to add a reporting process within the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) requiring local educational agencies to report the enrollment of pupils of military families.

Action: Passed

Athletics

AB 30 - Alejo (D): Schools or Athletic Team Names: Racist Mascots Act

Prohibits public schools from using the term “Redskins” for school or athletic team names, mascots, or nicknames beginning January 1, 2017. Amendment taken will clarify the phase in for a new mascot or school name.

Action: Passed as Amended

Career Technical Education

AB 288 - Holden (D): Public Schools: College and Career Access Pathways

Authorizes the governing board of a community college district to enter into a College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) partnership with the governing board of a school district in its immediate service area to offer or expand dual enrollment opportunities for students who may not be college bound or who are underrepresented in higher education and outlines the conditions that must be met prior to the adoption of such an agreement.

Action: Passed

Charter Schools

AB 709 - Gipson (D): Charter Schools

States a charter school is subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act, unless it is operated by an entity governed by the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, in which case the charter school would be subject to the Act. States that a charter school is subject to the State Public Records Act (PRA). Provides that a charter school employee is not disqualified from serving as a member of the school's governing body because of his or her employment status. States such school is subject to the Political Reform Act of 1974. Amendments taken will require the charter authorizer to execute PRA requests made to a charter if certain criteria are met.

Action: Passed as Amended

Child Nutrition/Food Safety

SB 334 - Leyva (D): Pupil Health: Drinking Water

Requires the State Department of Public Health (DPH) to test drinking water sources at a sample of schoolsites for lead in the drinking water, and deletes the authority of a governing board of a school district to adopt a resolution stating that it is unable to comply with the requirement to provide access to free, fresh drinking water during meal times in the food service areas. This bill further prohibits drinking water that does not meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency standards for lead from being provided at a school facility. Amendments taken delete the sample testing requirement, delete the requirement for schools to develop a mitigation plan, and strike an appropriation from the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund.

Action: Passed as Amended

Curriculum and Instruction

AB 101 - Alejo (D): Pupil Instruction: Ethnic Studies

Requires the SPI to oversee, and the State Board of Education to adopt, an ethnic studies model curriculum framework and other support systems. This bill also requires an Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee to advise, assist, and make recommendations to the Board on ethnic studies issues. Amendment taken will eliminate ongoing costs relating to the CDE.

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 146 - Garcia (D): Public Instruction: Social Sciences: Deportations to Mexico

Requires the State Board of Education to consider including in the history-social science curriculum framework, instruction on the unconstitutional deportation of citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States to Mexico during the Great Depression. This bill also provides encouragement from the Legislature for the CDE to incorporate this topic into curriculum resources for teachers. Amendment taken ill eliminate cost pressure related to teacher curriculum.

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 329 - Weber (D): Pupil Instruction: Sexual health Education

Requires all students to receive comprehensive sexual health education twice between grades 7 through 12. Modifies and expands the existing HIV prevention education. Amendments taken will reduce mandated costs related to in-service training.

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 1012 - Jones-Sawyer: Pupil Instruction: Course Periods without Educational Content

Prohibits a school district serving any of grades 9 through 12 from assigning students to any course without educational content for more than one week in any semester, and prohibits the assignment of any student to a course that the student previously completed and received a satisfactory grade, unless specific conditions are met.

Action: Passed

AB 1391 - Gomez (D): Pupil Instruction: Course of Study: Physical Education

Expands the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) to include complaints of non-compliance with the required minimum instructional minutes for physical education.

Action: Passed

SB 695 - De Leon (D): School Health Education: Sexual Harassment Training

Requires the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to consider adding content to the health curriculum framework for grades 9-12 on sexual harassment and violence, including the affirmative consent standard, and requires school districts which require a health course for graduation to include this content. Amendments are technical in nature.

Action: Passed as Amended

Facilities

AB 219 - Daly (D): Public Works: Concrete Delivery

Expands the definition of public works to include the hauling and delivery of ready-mixed concrete to carry out a public works contract. Amendments taken will:

  1. Specify that haulers and ready-mix concrete providers shall be considered subcontractors
  2. Applies to contracts entered into after July 1, 2016

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 852 - Burke (D): Public Works: Prevailing Wages

Defines "public work” for purposes of prevailing wage law to also mean any construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under private contract on a general acute care hospital when the project is paid for in whole or in part with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds issued by a public agency. A project for a rural general acute care hospital with a maximum of 76 beds would be exempt from this requirement.

Action: Passed

SB 111 - Fuller (R): School Facilities: Military Installations

Requires the Department of Finance to explore options on how best to assist school districts in meeting the matching share requirement of a federal school construction grant made by the Office of Economic Adjustment of the federal Department of Defense to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools located on military installations.

Action: Passed

Governance/Operations

AB 1301 - Jones-Sawyer (D): Voting Rights: Preclearance

Establishes a state "preclearance" system under which certain political subdivisions are required to get approval from the Secretary of State before implementing specified policy changes related to elections.

Action: Passed

SB 42 - Liu (D): Postsecondary Education: Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability

Establishes , until January 1, 2021, the Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability (OHEPA), within the Governor's office, as the statewide postsecondary education planning and coordinating agency, and advisor to the Legislature and the Governor. Amendments taken will add one seat on the advisory board for the Assembly and one seat for the Senate, make the advisory board unpaid, except for travel expenses, and add annual reporting requirements.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 320 - Lara (D): Pupil Fees: Complaint of Noncompliance: Regulations

Prohibits a public school from establishing a local policy or procedure that authorizes the public school to resolve a complaint regarding assessment of pupil fees, whether formally or informally, by providing a remedy to the complainant without also providing a remedy to all affected pupils, parents, and guardians.

Action: Passed

Homeless/Foster Youth

AB 224 - Jones-Sawyer (D): Pupils: Educational Liaison for Foster Children

Requires the CDE to develop a standardized notice of educational rights of foster youth, post the notice on its website, and provide the notice to foster youth liaisons, foster youth, parents or educational rights holders. Amendments taken will remove mandated costs, streamline administrative workload, and make other technical changes.

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 379 - Gordon (D): Foster Youth: Complaint of Noncompliance

Expands the Uniform Complaint Procedures to include complaints of noncompliance with certain rights and responsibilities regarding the education of students who are in foster care or who are homeless, including school placement decisions, responsibilities of foster youth liaisons, provisions regarding school transfers, exemption from locally-imposed graduation requirements, and the awarding of partial credit for completed coursework.

Action: Passed

AB 801 - Bloom (D): Success for Homeless Youth in Higher Education Act

Requires the extension of priority enrollment to homeless youth or former homeless youth at the California Community Colleges and the California State University and requests that the University of California make this same extension. Requires designation of a Homeless and Foster Student Liaison. Requires the waiver of per unit fees for this population at the community colleges. Establishes residency status for this population. Amendment taken will remove mandated costs.

Action: Passed

AB 854 - Weber (D): Educational Services: Pupils in Foster Care

Restructures the existing Foster Youth Services program by shifting the primary function from direct services provided by the county offices of education and six school districts, to a program of coordination to assist school districts in meeting their statutory obligation to improve the educational outcomes of foster youth pursuant to the Local Control Funding Formula. Amendments taken will (1) hold harmless LEAs currently operating these programs, (2) establish an allocation formula, and (3) make technical changes.

Action: Passed as Amended

Human Resources

AB 141 - Bonilla (D): Teacher Credentialing: Beginning Teacher Induction

Requires LEAs that hire new teachers to provide them with a beginning teacher induction program and prohibits them from charging a fee to participate in the program as well as alternative beginning teacher induction programs.

Action: Passed

AB 305 - Gonzalez (D): Workers’ Compensation: Permanent Disability Apportionment

For injuries occurring after January 1, 2016, prohibits apportionment if pregnancy, menopause, or menopause-caused osteoporosis is contemporaneous with the injured worker’s claimed injury, prohibits apportionment in cases of psychiatric injury in specified instances, and requires that breast cancer not be less than the comparable impairment rating for prostate cancer.

Action: Passed

AB 375 - Campos (D): School Employees: Sick Leave: Paternity/Maternity Leave

Requires that a certificated school employee on maternity or paternity leave receive differential pay for up to 12 weeks. Provides that the 12-week period be reduced by any period of sick leave, including accumulated sick leave, taken during a period of maternity or paternity leave.

Action: Passed

AB 580 - O’Donnell (D): Pupil Mental Health: Model Referral Protocols

Requires, upon funding provided for this purpose, the CDE to develop model referral protocols for schools to use to address student mental health concerns.

Action: Passed

AB 676 - Calderon (D): Employment: Discrimination: Status as Unemployed

Prohibits an employer from discriminating against prospective job applicants on the basis of employment status. This bill would provide that an employer, employment agency, or person operating an Internet job posting Web site who discriminates against unemployed job applicants would be subject to a civil penalty, enforceable by the Labor Commissioner. Amendments taken will make narrowing and clarifying changes.

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 908 - Gomez (D): Disability Compensation: Family Disability Insurance

Increases the level and duration of benefits provided in the Paid Family Leave insurance program. Amendments taken will:

  1. Delay implementation
  2. Reduce the number of weeks of leave
  3. Limit amount of benefits to be no more than the employee’s weekly wages

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 406 - Jackson (D): Employment: Leave

This bill expands unpaid family and medical leave provided under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  Amendment taken is technical in nature.

Miscellaneous

AB 80 - Campos (D): Interagency Task Force on the Status of Boys and Men of Color

Establishes a 20-member Interagency Task Force on the Status of Men and Boys of Color (BMoC Task Force) in state government to support departments and agencies in coordinating actions to improve outcomes for boys and men of color. The BMoC Task Force will sunset on January 1, 2026.

Action: Passed

AB 706 - Bonilla (D): California Volunteers

Establishes the California AmeriCorps – STEM, administered by California Volunteers, to bring more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs into schools, expanded learning and after school programs, and neighborhood and regional centers to prepare youth for jobs in STEM fields. Amendments taken will:

  1. Limit the use of General Fund money
  2. Limit initial size of the program
  3. Limit the annual money for foundation expenses

Action: Passed as Amended

Preschool/Child Care

AB 47 - McCarty (D): State Preschool Program

Requires that by January 1, 2017, all children eligible for state subsidized child development services that do not have access to transitional kindergarten or the federal Head Start program, have access to the state preschool program the year before they enter kindergarten, contingent upon funding in the annual Budget Act. This bill also provides Legislative intent that funds be allocated to expand the state preschool program to provide full day, full year preschool for all eligible low-income children.

Action: Passed

AB 1207 - Lopez (D): Mandated Child Abuse Reporting: Child Day Care Personnel: Training

Requires all providers, administrators, and employees of licensed child day care facilities to complete training in the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect under the child abuse reporting laws, as specified. Amendments taken are technical and clarifying in nature.

Action: Passed

SB 524 - Lara (D): Private or Public Residential Care Facilities for Youth

Would establish the new community care licensure category of “private or public residential care facility for youth,” to be licensed and regulated by the Department of Social Services (DSS), to regulate the operation of residential facilities and programs focused on serving youth with emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues, as specified.

Action: Passed

SB 548 - De Leon (D): Child Care: Family Child Care Providers: Bargaining

This bill authorizes family child care providers to form, join and participate in "provider organizations" for purposes of negotiating with state agencies.

Action: Passed

Pupil Health

SB 276 - Wolk (D): Medi-Cal: Local Educational Agencies

This bill updates code relating to the LEA Medi-Cal billing program to conform to recent federal guidance that expands the services for which LEAs can bill Medi- Cal.

Action: Passed

School Finance

AB 1185 - Ridley-Thomas (D): Los Angeles Unified School District: Procurement

Authorizes a pilot program for the Los Angeles Unified School District  to use best value procurement for projects over $1 million. Amendments taken will remove the requirement for a report by the Legislative Analysts Office and make technical changes.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 25 - Roth (D): Local Government Finance: Property Tax Revenue

This bill establishes a motor vehicle license fee adjustment amount for cities that incorporated after January 1, 2004, and on or before January 1, 2012. Amendments taken were technical and clarifying.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 150 - Nguyen (R): Personal Income Tax Law: Exclusion: Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

Excludes from gross income loan amounts discharged from a for-profit college when the borrower is unable to complete a program of study.

Action: Passed

School Safety

AB 1056 - Atkins (D): Second Chance Program

Enacts the Second Chance Program, which would require the Board of State and Community Corrections to administer a competitive grant program using savings resulting from the implementation of Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, and other fund sources. Amendments taken will:

  1. Revise committee members
  2. Extending the sunset date by 2 years

Action: Passed as Amended

AB 1058 - Baker (R): Pupil Safety: Child Abuse Prevention: Training

Requires the CDE, in consultation with the State Department of Social Services, to establish guidelines and best practices for child abuse prevention, and post links to existing training resources on the CDE’s website. This bill also encourages public schools, as specified, to participate in child abuse prevention training and to provide all school employees with this training at least once every three years.

Action: Passed

SB 707 - Wolk (D): Firearms: Gun-Free School Zone

This bill amends the Gun-Free School Zone Act (Act) and specifies further exceptions to the prohibition on carrying ammunition on school grounds.

Action: Passed

Special Education

AB 1369 - Frazier (D): Special Education: Dyslexia

Requires the State Board of Education to include “phonological processing” in the description of basic psychological processes in the state’s regulations. The SPI is required to develop program guidelines for dyslexia, post them on the CDE website, and provide technical assistance regarding their use.

Action: Passed

SB 210 - Galgiani (D): Special Education: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children: Language Development Milestones

Requires the CDE to select benchmarks for tracking the progress of deaf and hard of hearing students in language and literacy development, establishes an advisory committee to recommend benchmarks, and requires CDE to annually produce a report on language and literacy development for deaf and hard of hearing students, starting July 31, 2017. Amendments taken will align implementation dates, and clarify educator tool requirements.

Action: Passed as Amended

Student Services

AB 302 - Garcia (D): Pupil Services: Lactation Accommodations

Requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations and a reasonable amount of time to a lactating student to express breast milk, breast-feed an infant child, or address other needs related to breast-feeding on a campus. This bill also allows a complaint of noncompliance with these requirements to be filed with the LEA under the Uniform Complaint Procedures.

Action: Passed

AB 1014 - Thurmond (D): Pupils: Truancy: Our Children’s Success—The Early Intervention Attendance Pilot Grant Program. 

Establishes the Our Children's Success – The Early Intervention Attendance Pilot Grant Program for the purpose of helping public schools resolve attendance problems of pupils in kindergarten or grades 1 to 3. Amendments taken specify that (1) implementation is contingent upon an appropriation and (2) funds generated by Proposition 47 will not be used.

Action: Passed as Amended

SB 252 - Leno (D): Pupils: Diploma Alternatives: Fees

Prohibits the CDE from charging homeless youth a fee to take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) and prohibits any contractor or testing center from charging homeless youth a fee to take any high school equivalency test (also known as the GED). Amendments taken will sunset use of the special deposit account on January 1, 2020.

Action: Passed as Amended

BILLS HELD IN COMMITTEE

Following are bills that were held in committee, effectively making them two-year bills (eligible to move again in January, 2016 when the Legislature reconvenes - though not likely in most cases):

AB 58 - Rodriguez (D): School Safety Plans

Requires charter school petitions to include the development of a school safety plan, and makes other changes to the development, reporting, and other compliance requirements related to the plan.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 252 - Holden (D): Advanced Placement Program: STEM Access Grants

Establishes the Advanced Placement (AP) STEM Access Grant Program to be administered by the CDE to help high schools establish or expand their AP STEM curriculum. STEM curriculum consists of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 292 - Santiago (D): Pupil Nutrition: Free or Reduced-Price Meals

Requires school districts to ensure that each of their schools provide students adequate time to eat after being served a meal, and requires schools that do not provide students with adequate time to eat to develop a plan to increase students’ time to eat lunch.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 427 - Weber (D): Early Primary Programs: Child Care Services: Military

Excludes the military housing allowance from being calculated as income when determining eligibility for child care and development services specified under the Child Care and Development Services Act.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 542 - Wilk (R): Community Colleges: Early and Middle College High Schools 

Exempts Early College High School students from the requirement that a community college district governing board assign a low enrollment priority to special part-time or full-time students. Prohibits a student enrolled in a community college physical education course required for the student’s middle college or early college high school program from being considered a special part-time or full-time student, thereby excluding these students from the cap on PE courses for which the community college can claim full-time equivalent students and receive associated state apportionments.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 608 - Gordon (D): CalFresh: School Meals

Require county human services agencies to add additional information to the list of food providers to be made available to families applying for CalFresh benefits. This bill additionally requires counties to inform applicants that, if the household is approved for CalFresh benefits, young children are income eligible for the WIC Program and that all children in the household are directly certified for free and reduced school meals. This bill also requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to inform all CalFresh households annually about the summer meal program, as specified.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 713 - Weber (D): Elementary Education: Kindergarten

Requires that beginning with the 2017-18 school year, children complete one year of kindergarten before being admitted to the first grade.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 766 - Ridley-Thomas (D): Public School Health Center Support Program

Require the Department of Public Health to give grant funding preference to schools with a high percentage of students enrolled in Medi-Cal, under the Public School Health Center Support Program.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 988 - Stone (D): Outdoor Environmental Education and Recreations

Creates a new grant program to increase the ability of underserved and at-risk populations to participate in outdoor recreation and educational experiences.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1018 - Cooper (D): Medi-Cal: Early and Periodic Screening and Diagnosis

Requires the Department of Health Care Services and the CDE to convene a joint taskforce to examine the delivery of mental health services to children.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1025 - Thurmond (D): Pupil Health: Multitiered and Integrated Interventions Pilot Program

Requires the CDE to establish a three-year pilot program in school districts to encourage inclusive practices that integrate mental health, special education, and school climate interventions following a multi-tiered framework.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1099 - Olsen (R): School Accountability: Teacher Evaluations

Requires each school district and county office of education to post information on its website, if it has one, on its procedures for evaluating teachers and principals.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1126 - Rendon (D): School Facilities: Heating, Ventilation< and Air Conditioning: Inspection Reports

Requires the following information to be posted on public school websites: (1) the most recent date of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system inspection report, and (2) information on how the report may be obtained.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1153 - Calderon (D): School Accountability: Local Control and Accountability Plans: Posting: Evaluation Rubrics

Requires the State Board of Education to consider revising the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) template to include a section or appendix sufficient to monitor a school district’s or county office of education’s progress on outcomes related to the evaluation rubric adopted by the Board. If the Board does not make this revision, this bill requires the populated evaluation rubric of a school district or county office of education to be posted on their respective websites, if it is available.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1161 - Olsen (R): Preschool: Privately Funded Pilot Program: Tax Credits

Establishes an income tax credit equal to 40 percent of the amount contributed by a taxpayer to the newly established California Preschool Investment Fund, and requires the CDE to select five counties to participate in the funded preschool pilot program.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1198 - Dababneh (D): School Facilities: California School Finance Authority: California Credit Enhancement Program

Establishes the California Credit Enhancement Program within the California School Finance Authority to provide lower cost alternatives for public school facilities financing.

Action: Held in Committee

AB 1258 - Chau (D): Elementary and Secondary Education: Computer Science Education Grant Pilot Program

Requires the SPI to establish a computer science education grant pilot program for LEA to establish, expand and maintain computer science courses and provide professional development in computer science.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 118 - Liu (D): School-Based Health and Education Partnership Program

Modifies an existing unfunded grant program administered by the California Department of Public Health to provide grants to schools. Adds substance abuse as an allowable service, updates terms, and modifies grant amounts. Changes the purposes of "sustainability grants" from operating expenses to development of sustainable funding models. and creates a new "population health grant" category to fund obesity prevention, asthma programs, and similar public health topics.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 311 - Beall (D): Child Care and Development Services Act: Preschool: Alum Rock Union Elementary School District: Pilot Project

Authorizes the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District to develop and implement an individualized plan to provide preschool services within a transitional kindergarten classroom on a five year pilot basis through June 30, 2021.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 460 - Allen (D): Pupils Redesignated as Fluent English: Local Funding

This bill requires, until July 1, 2019, or whenever the state adopts statewide English learner redesignation standards, LEAs continue to receive a percentage of supplemental and concentration grant funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) for two additional years after an English Learner (EL) student has been reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP).

Action: Held in Committee

SB 573 - Pan (D): Statewide Open Data Portal

This bill requires the Governor to appoint a Chief Data Officer (CDO) who will create an inventory of all available data in the state and create a statewide open data portal that is accessible to the public by January 1, 2017. This bill also requires state agencies identified by the CDO to appoint a data coordinator, identify any data sets within the agency, transmit the inventory to the CDO by October 1, 2016, and publish it on the statewide open data portal.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 645 - Hancock (D): After Schools Programs

Authorizes an After School Education and Safety Program to suspend operation for up to five days in a fiscal year beginning January 1, 2016. Specifies a grant shall not be adjusted as a result of the program suspending its operation. Requires any cost savings associated with the program suspension to be used solely by the entity that is providing direct services to pupils. Sunsets the authorization to suspend operation for up to five days as of July 1, 2017.

Action: Held in Committee

SB 786 - Allen (D): Adult Education: Adult Education Block Grant Program: Joint Powers Authorities

Requires the California Community College Chancellor's Office and the SPI to certify, upon request from a Joint Powers Authority, the amount of state funds expended by the JPA for adult career technical education in the 2012-13 fiscal year, for purposes of determining Adult Education Block Grant Program funding.

Action: Held in Committee

Contributors to this Summary:

Barrett Snider

Lee Angela Reid

Erin Evans-Fudem

Derick Lennox

Caitlin Jung

Nick Romley

Barrett Snider, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group

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Davis v. Fresno USD Appeal Denied

The California Supreme Court yesterday denied hearing the appeals in Davis v. Fresno USD, relating to Lease-leaseback (LLB) design/build projects.  They also denied the petition to depublish the case, which means the Appellate Court decision is public and may set precedent.  The Appellate Court defined the parameters of the law regarding LLB, and these findings will now go back to the lower court to interpret how these findings apply to the court case.  Expect a flurry of legislation to be introduced on this subject in January.  We will be sending details on the court case and more information on the court process in the next few weeks.

In a related matter, AB 975 (Mullin), which included language inserted into a recent gut and amend bill, was held in committee this week.  As a response to Davis v. Fresno USD, AB 975 would have allowed payments to contractors for work performed on projects for which the LLB contract was deemed invalid based on provisions of the court case.  The sponsors of AB 975 were a coalition of labor and construction groups.  Because  opposition was received with so little time to reconcile the issues, the bill was held.  We will most likely see a similar bill introduced in January.

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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Facilities Update

School Facilities Legislation

Attached is a list of school facilities bills pending in the legislature, including a separate list of Public Contract/Prevailing Wage legislation.  The legislature returns next week after a month-long summer break.  To meet deadlines to be enacted this year, legislation must have already passed through its house of origin as well as policy committees in the second house.  The Appropriations committees of both houses will meet over the next two weeks and will complete their deliberations by August 28th.  In the final two weeks of session, the legislature will debate bills on the Senate and Assembly Floors, and send legislation to the Governor for his consideration.  As this is the first year of a two-year session, some bills that fail to make it to the Governor by the end of session may be considered again next year.

During this last month we will be closely monitoring these bills for amendments, Legislative actions, and Governor’s actions.  This is the time when “gut and amends” occur so we will be watching daily for any effort to insert controversial language.  We will keep you posted on these key measures and deadlines in the coming months.

November 2016 State School Facilities Bond

Signature gathering is now complete for the $9 billion November 2016 school facilities voter bond initiative.  Signatures are now being verified at the county level, and the next step is submittal of the signatures to the Secretary of State.  We anticipate discussions for a compromise among stakeholders, the Governor and the Legislature to occur in January, but barring a compromise, the initiative will go forward on the November 2016 ballot as drafted.

The provisions of the $9 billion initiative are:

  • $2 billion for Community Colleges
  • $7 billion for K-12
    • $3 billion New Construction
    • $3 billion Modernization
    • $500 million CTE
    • $500 million Charters

The school facilities bond language continues the current School Facilities Program (SFP), as in place January 1, 2015.

Davis v. Fresno USD lawsuit

School districts have been using the Lease-leaseback (LLB) design/build projects as a way to deliver school facilities on time, within budget, and with a reduced level of public agency risks.  Education Code Section 17406 authorizes school districts to lease property currently owned by a school district to an entity for a minimum of $1 per year and requires this entity to construct a building on the property.  The title to the property reverts to the school district at the expiration of the lease.  Lease payments (progress payments) are to be made during the term of the lease.

The LLB process has been a controversial issue between school districts and construction unions, and provisions of the process have recently been challenged in the Davis v. Fresno lawsuit. On June 1, 2015, the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District, ruling that a taxpayer had adequately alleged that the Education Code provisions permitting LLB arrangements did not apply to situations where:

(1) the agreement was not a genuine lease but simply a traditional construction agreement;
(2) the agreement did not include a financing component for the construction of the project; and
(3) the arrangement did not provide for the district’s use of the new facilities "during the term of the lease."

The court also ruled that the taxpayer had adequately alleged that the contractor's preconstruction services for the district may be a conflict of interest under the Government Code because the contractor was arguably a district "employee" with a financial interest in the LLB contract.

The next step:

The school district and a number of organizations, including CSBA and CASH, have asked the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal decision.  There is no specific timeline for the Supreme Court to grant or deny a petition to review, but it is likely that they will make that decision relatively soon.

Susan Stuart, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC.

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Educator Support and Professional Development Funding

The 2015-16 Budget Act provides $490 million for professional development and training related to teacher and administrator effectiveness.  These funds will be apportioned to local educational agencies (LEAs) in an equal amount per certificated staff based on the number of certificated staff in the 2014-15 school year.  We have received a number of questions regarding the amount, timing and use of these funds, and provide some answers below.

How much money will we get, and when will we get it?

In order to determine the equal amount of funding per certificated staff, the California Department of Education (CDE) must determine the total number of certificated staff in 2014-15 that count towards creating eligibility for these funds.  Unfortunately, CDE staff observe that the state’s CALPADS data system does not include a specific report for “certificated staff,” a category which presumably includes not only teachers but many administrators and other employees with certificates (counselors, librarians, etc.).  CDE indicates that they expect to have a number by the middle of this month.

At our July Budget Perspectives Workshop, we estimated that the amount per certificated staff would be between $1250 and $1500 – until CDE provides a more firm calculation, this rough estimate is the best we can do.

CDE plans to have a preliminary payment schedule prepared within a couple of weeks of finalizing the staffing data, and anticipates appropriating 90% of the funds in December, 2015 and the remaining 10% in March, 2016.  Depending on whether there are concerns with the data or other issues, the appropriation could be changed to 80% in December and the remaining 20% in March.

LEAs can use their own data to determine numbers of certificated staff and use our estimate ($1250-1500) to get a rough idea of how much funding they are likely to receive.

What are we authorized to do with this funding?

The statutory authority for expending these funds is fairly broad, and generally related to improving the quality and effectiveness of teachers and administrators.  Specifically, the funds may be spent for the following purposes:

  1. Beginning teacher and administrator support and mentoring, including programs that support the ability of new teachers and administrators to teach and lead effectively, and to meet induction requirements adopted by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
  2. Professional development, coaching and support services for teachers identified by LEAs as needing improvement or additional support.
  3. Professional development for teachers and administrators that is aligned to state-adopted content standards.
  4. To promote educator quality and effectiveness, including training on mentoring and coaching certificated staff and training certificated staff to support effective teaching and learning.

What conditions must be satisfied in order to receive the funds?

As suggested above, LEAs will receive these funds based on staffing data and do not need to complete an application or form to qualify for the funding.  This funding, however, will be subject to the annual audits required by Section 41020 of the Education Code.  To avoid audit findings, LEAs must:

  • Develop and adopt a spending plan that complies with the requirements listed above – the plan must be discussed at a public meeting and adopted at a subsequent meeting.
  • Expend the funds over three fiscal years – 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19.  CDE has indicated that expenditures in 2015-16 may be made prior to adoption of the required plan, but the adopted plan should include those expenditures.
  • Provide a detailed report of program expenditures to the CDE by July 1, 2018, including specific purchases made and the number of teachers, administrators, or paraprofessional educators that received professional development.  The CDE will provide a template or format for this report, and also plans to issue FAQs to address questions related to proper expenditures for the program.

Gerry Shelton, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group

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Will the Supreme Court Eliminate Agency Fees?

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is a case with enormous implications for public-sector unions, including the California Teachers Associations (CTA) and other California unions representing school employees.  The US Supreme Court has agreed to take the case, and in the next session will consider whether to invalidate the “agency shop” funding structure of California’s public unions.  The legal challenge is based on First Amendment free speech arguments – the plaintiffs argue that “agency fees” are the equivalent of forced political speech and violate the US Constitution.  Given the current conservative majority on the Court, and the trend of free speech decisions over the last few years (recall decisions on corporate speech and campaign finance laws), it would seem that the laws in many states governing the collection of public-sector union fees are at risk.

California Law

California law requires that all school employees represented by an exclusive bargaining unit (an arrangement referred to as an “agency shop”) must either be members of that union or pay a “fair share service fee” (more commonly known as an "agency fee") to support the cost of representation.  The agency fee amount cannot be more than the amount paid by members.  The employer has an obligation to deduct the member dues or agency fees from the salaries provided to employees, and transfer that amount to the union.  Agency fee payers have the right to opt-out of that portion of the fee that is “not devoted to the cost of negotiations, contract administration, and other activities of the [union] that are germane to its function as the exclusive bargaining representative.”

The average union dues for a California teacher are approximately $1000 per year, with somewhere around 30-40% identified as used for activities (such as political activities) that are outside the scope of exclusive bargaining representation.  Employees must be provided an annual notice (called a “Hudson” notice) and the opportunity to opt-out of the portion of the agency fee attributed to political activity.

The Case

The plaintiffs in the case appear to be advancing two theories – when the actual briefs are filed, these theories may be refined or modified.  First, they argue that a prior Supreme Court case that found that agency shop arrangements do not violate the First Amendment, Abood v. Detroit Bd of Ed. (1977), should be overruled.  They argue that no employee should be compelled to pay “fair share service” or “agency” fees, including the portion of the fees directly related to collective bargaining, because all union representation is inherently political and therefore paying any fees is equivalent to forced political speech.  If the plaintiffs succeed with this claim, presumably every California school employee would have to opt-in to the entire agency fee, both the portion related to representation and the portion related to political activities.

A second (less ambitious) theory is that the political activities portion of the agency fee is clearly political speech, and therefore it is an undue burden on the First Amendment rights of public-sector employees to require them to opt-out of this speech on an annual basis.  If plaintiffs succeed with this claim, presumably employees would have to annually opt-in to be charged the 30-40% of agency fees that are attributable to political activities.

An unusual aspect of this case was how it got to the US Supreme Court.  Longstanding legal precedent allows public-sector unions to charge agency fees for representation.  The plaintiffs acknowledged this point in both the federal district and appellate courts, citing current law and asking the courts to rule quickly on the legal issue without hearing extensive factual evidence and/or conducting a trial.  The lower courts allowed the case to proceed in this manner (against arguments by California’s Attorney General), and denied plaintiffs’ claims based on the Supreme Court precedent in Abood.  The strategy was clearly to bring the issue before the Supreme Court and allow a different (and more conservative) Court the opportunity to overrule prior precedent allowing agency shop arrangements.

CTA and the other defendants argue that the agency fee structure should be upheld because the union is required to expend time and money acting in the best interests of all employees, including nonmember employees.  Further, they argue collective bargaining and political lobbying are not the same kind of speech because the union is the exclusive representative of all employees in collective bargaining, yet nonmembers are still free to participate separately in the political legislative process.

Attorney General Kamala Harris also intervened in this case, arguing that overruling Abood is not appropriate because it would “undermine important state interests and cause unwarranted disruption in States, such as California, that have structured and maintained their public employment systems based on this Court’s precedents.”  Harris also joins CTA in noting that the facts in this case do not support deciding whether exclusive bargaining representation is forced political speech because none of the plaintiffs suffered harm – no one identified any collective bargaining activities that they opposed, and all of them had successfully opted-out of the fees attributed to political activities.

Obviously, the scope and nature of the right to free speech is central to this case.  The decision in this case will likely hinge on whether the court labels representation and activities related to the collective bargaining process as inherently “political” speech, and whether it finds the annual opt-out process for non-representation (political) activities are an overly burdensome restriction on an employee’s right to free speech.

The Politics

CTA and other public-sector unions stand to lose a substantial amount of their funding if the Court overrules Abood and eliminates agency fees for non-members.  Alternatively, these unions might lose a smaller but still significant amount of funding if the Court rules employees must opt-in before employers have the right to collect fees related to political activities.  The case will impact not only California, but would apply to numerous states and unions throughout the country.  This could mean diminished political power for public-sector unions, and might impact policies and practices related to compensation, benefits and working conditions for union members and non-members alike.  Some might argue, however, that it could bring slightly more balance in the relative political power between union and management advocates in the public-sector space.

Obviously, the California Teachers Union is a particularly big player in state politics.  The union is a major funder of Democratic initiatives statewide, including funding for campaigns such as the Proposition 30 temporary taxes and multiple school facilities bond measures in previous years.  A reduction in the power of CTA could be a major blow to Democrats and Democratic causes in the state, and could impact public education in unpredictable ways.  We will keep you posted – expect this to be one of the major cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2016.

 

Prepared by:  Abe Hajel and Erin Evans-Fudem
Capitol Advisors Group

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New Teacher Evaluation Lawsuit

As you may have heard, yesterday Students Matter and Gibson Dunn, the folks that are behind the Vergara litigation, filed a lawsuit against 13 school districts and their superintendents and governing board members.  The lawsuit, Doe v. Antioch, alleges that the districts and school officials willfully violated the Stull Act by failing to use standardized testing data in the evaluation of their teachers.  A copy of the complaint can be found here, and an excerpt from the first paragraph is copied below.

A press release from Students Matter suggests that this lawsuit is the logical next step after the Vergara case, a characterization that the districts and school officials would probably dispute.  Below is the initial press response from Wes Smith, Executive Director of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).  We will provide additional information regarding the case and responses from the parties and their representatives in the near future.  In many ways, this case is much more similar to the Doe v. Deasy litigation brought against LAUSD to enforce certain provisions of the Stull Act.

Interestingly, this lawsuit was filed just as districts and their representatives are making final decisions regarding filing amicus briefs in the Vergara case.  Those briefs will likely be due in the middle of September, and it remains to be seen if this litigation has any impact on amicus support in Vergara.

As a last note, we were recently informed that the authors of the two major teacher evaluation bills considered this year, SB 499 (Liu) and AB 575 (O’Donnell), have announced that they will become two-year bills.  This means the authors and stakeholders will continue to work on those bills and will not push them through the legislative process this year.  We have been involved with the assessment of those bills and the response from management and district representatives, and know this is welcome news for many that are concerned that the bills would expand collective bargaining in potentially unproductive ways.

We’ll keep you informed as things progress.

- Abe

Excerpt from Doe v. Antioch

“Each year, a significant number of school districts across California … willfully refuse to evaluate teachers in accordance with state law. These school districts, in negotiations with their local teachers unions, sign collective bargaining agreements [that prohibit compliance with Stull Act provisions related to student assessments and teacher evaluations] … In doing so, these school districts fail the hundreds of thousands of children who attend their schools …”

ACSA Press Release

ACSA’s top priority is advocating for students inside and outside of the classroom.

This lawsuit highlights the complexity of everyday school business, where the interests of adults are pitted against the rights and needs of students.

We believe this lawsuit is inappropriately focused on school administrators, who fight for students’ rights and endeavor to provide the best possible educational experience.

In many ways, districts lose the opportunity to properly implement all aspects of the Stull Act because of the collective bargaining process and the threat of grievances, work actions and strikes.

We believe student outcomes are greatly important and should be the focus of our work today and in the future. Lawsuits filed as a mechanism to blame school administrators is an inappropriate and expensive use of district resources.

It is our belief that the narrative must change to be student-focused. We continue to push for a collaborative effort between lawmakers, unions and school districts that create an advantageous environment for students.

Abe Hajela, Partner
Capitol Advisors Group

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