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State Board of Education Update – Curriculum and Instruction

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Activities:

Digital Library – The Smarter Balanced Digital Library, an online source for tools and resources to assist teachers in the use of classroom-based formative assessment practices, is now operational and contains over 1,600 resources in all content areas for SBAC K-12 teachers.

Achievement Levels – On November 6, 2014, the State Chiefs and State Superintendents of the governing states within SBAC voted to establish the achievement levels for the SBAC Summative Assessments. At the hearing, President Kirst and other members of the board reiterated that while the SBAC scores would be used for federal accountability purposes, they would only be a small part of accountability at the state level.  According to President Kirst, “how we use the achievement levels is up to us” and state level accountability will be more focused on the eight priorities listed in the LCAP. There will be more discussion on achievement levels and scores at the January SBE hearing. Information on the achievement levels as well as on the Smarter Balanced Assessment System can be found here.

Implementation of SBAC Technology-Enabled Summative Assessments in 2014-15 – CDE will administer the SBAC technology-enabled summative assessments in Spring 2015. The SBAC paper-pencil assessments will be provided to those lacking the necessary broadband connectivity for online testing or unable to administer the braille version online; but those LEAs will be encouraged to develop a plan to address those issues by the 2016-17 school year. According to CDE, they expect there to be only 60 sites that will need to utilize the paper-pencil assessments due to technology issues. CDE will be collecting requests for the paper-pencil versions of the assessments and related materials. CDE also stated it will provide ongoing support to LEAs experiencing technology problems related to the assessments.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System Contract – The new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) necessitated creation of CAASPP to replace STAR and requires an administrator for the new system. While the assessment and related duties for the 2015 test are already covered under the current contract, SBE approved a Request for Submission (RFS) for a system administrator for the 2016-18 assessments. The RFS is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2014 with submissions due January 5, 2015 and a contract start date of July 1, 2015.

Other C&I related news:

History-Social-Science Framework - Work has restarted on the History-Social Science Framework. In 2009, the framework was in the midst of a major update when work was suspended due to the state’s fiscal situation. In 2012, legislation authorized SBE to complete work on the framework once the new math and English language arts frameworks were completed. At the September 2014 hearing, SBE approved a revised timeline and final action on the framework is expected in May 2015 but will be postponed until September if additional time to review and respond to public comment is necessary.  Based on our experience, plan on September.

Second Grade Diagnostic Assessments - With the elimination of the grade 2 CST, many C&I folks have been awaiting the long-promised diagnostic assessments. A list of approved materials for assessments in ELA and mathematics is now available at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/da/index.asp

Alternate Assessments - CDE, with ETS, is in the process of developing items for a Spring 2015 Alternate Field Test in ELA and Mathematics. The test will be aligned with the CCSS in grades 3-8 and grade 11. Eligible students in grades 5, 8 and 10 will continue to take the CAPA in Science.

English Language Assessments – When California adopted the new CCSS for English Language Arts (ELA), California’s English Language Development (ELD) Standards were modified to align with the new standards. As a result, a new assessment to replace the current California English Language Development Test (CELDT) became necessary, and the English Language Proficiency Standards for California (ELPAC) was born. As CDE will need to contract for development of the new assessments, SBE authorized the release of an ELCPAC Request for Proposal for a testing contract that will run from March 2015 through December 2018.

Golden State Seal Merit Diploma – Currently, to be awarded the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma (GSSMD), students may demonstrate mastery of the high school curriculum in at least six subject matter areas, four of which are mathematics, ELA, science and US History, and the remaining two areas are chosen by the student. However, with the move to the SBAC assessment, a different means to demonstrate subject matter mastery for the GSSMD is needed. SBE has approved some new means to be used in awarding the GSSMD to the class of 2015 and beyond. The Class of 2015 Eligibility Requirements for the GSSMD, as well as the number of opportunities for the student to meet the eligibility requirements, is attached for your review.

Next Generation Science Standards – The board approved the State Implementation Plan for the California Next Generation Science Standards for Public Schools, Kindergarten – Grade 12. The plan can be found at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/documents/scienceimplementationplan102714.pdf

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Election Preview: Statewide Polling, Contests, and Propositions

On Thursday, the non-partisan Field Poll released findings of their final public opinion poll of voters’ attitudes towards the statewide candidates prior to Tuesday’s election. We want to provide you with a summary of the polling, a look at the statewide candidates, including the State Superintendent’s race, and an analysis of the statewide ballot propositions.

Turnout

If there was one word most relevant to Tuesday’s election, it would be voter “turnout.” It is true in California and the rest of the Nation. Millions upon millions are being spent this election cycle to drive voter turnout up or (mostly) down. As former U.S. President Bill Clinton recently described, there are two Americas that come out to vote. One America comes out to vote in high numbers whenever there is a U.S. President on the ballot. A different, smaller America, comes out to vote in the midterm elections. The battle in the last few days of the election will be for candidates to get supporters to actually mail in their ballot or show up and vote.

Governor Jerry Brown Lead Expands to 21 Points

Thursday’s Field Poll has Governor Brown’s lead over Republican Neel Kashkari increasing to 21 points (54% to 33%). Notably, Jerry Brown’s lead cuts across a broad swath of voters, including leading his challenger among the key demographic groups of Latinos (+39), voters with no-party preference (+37), and voters in LA County (+34). The only groups where Kashkari leads Brown is with voters who are registered Republican or identify as conservative.

Jerry Brown will be reelected on Tuesday to a 4th term as California’s Governor. No other California Governor has served as many terms. And while Governor Brown has the vitality of man twenty-years his age, he will officially be the Nation’s oldest Governor. In fact, he will be 80 when he terms out of the office. Some have speculated he may run for another office. Only Jerry (and probably his wife) knows for sure.

Governor Brown amassed a campaign war chest of nearly $25 million and has spent virtually none of it on his own campaign for reelection. He hasn’t needed to. Instead, Brown has purchased TV time to push his two propositions (Props 1 and 2), a water bond and a “rainy day” fund that requires the state to keep more money in reserve (see more on this in the analysis below).

Torlakson vs. Tuck 

Thursday’s Field Poll has the race for State Superintendent deadlocked among voters that have already made up their minds with Torlakson (D) and Tuck (D) each getting 28% support, while roughly half of voters remain undecided (44%). Compared to the Field Poll in late August/early September, Tuck has actually slipped slightly (from 31% support to 28%), while Torlakson remained unchanged at 28%.

The huge number of undecided voters will determine this election and conventional wisdom is that generally advantages the incumbent (Torlakson).

What is most remarkable about this race is that there has been more independent expenditure money (funds not controlled by the candidate) spent on this race than all other statewide races COMBINED, more than $14 million. The California Teachers Assocaition (CTA) and the Democratic Party are coming to Torlakson’s aid, while many of the education reform groups and wealthy business leaders are dropping millions to support Tuck.

The race is close and hard to call. Tuck has extensive financial support and newspaper endorsements, but we’ve seen many well-financed statewide candidates flop before (Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Bill Simon, Jane Harman, etc.). Additionally, “reformer” candidates have a horrible track record of getting elected in California (think Gloria Romero), but especially in the State Legislature. If Tuck pulls off a win here, it will mean the reformer debate in California is alive and well. It could also be spun as a referendum on the teachers unions. And that is why CTA is going all-in for Torlakson with their impressive campaign operation headed up by political consultant Gale Kaufman, who has a stellar track record of success on statewide races. Despite both Tuck and Torlakson being Democrats, the California Democratic Party is spending heavily to help Torlakson. Additionally, with so many undecided voters this close to election day and the financial resources funneling in to reach voters by mail and radio, Torlakson appears to have a slight advantage. This race leans Torlakson going into the weekend before the Tuesday election, but only ever so slightly.

Other Statewide Partisan Races

Thursday’s Field Poll has Democrats poised to sweep the remaining statewide races. One race for educators to watch is the State Controller’s race, as the office has a significant role in overseeing school fiscal compliance. Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee (D) is facing Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin (R). This race offers the only real opportunity for Republicans to win a statewide elected office in 2014. If Swearengin can win, she could be well positioned to be a contender for Governor down the line as the Republican’s bench is thin.

Here is a rundown of the late October Field Poll findings for the statewide Constitutional offices:

Lt. Governor

Gavin Newsom (D) 47%
Ron Nehring (R) 37
Undecided 16

Attorney General

Kamala Harris (D) 49%
Ronald Gold (R) 36
Undecided  15

Secretary of State

Alex Padilla (D) 44%
Peter Peterson (R) 37
Undecided 19

Controller

Betty Yee (D) 44%
Ashley Swearengin (R) 36
Undecided 20

Treasurer

John Chiang (D) 46%
Greg Conlin (R) 35
Undecided 19

Insurance Commissioner
Dave Jones (D) 45%
Ted Gains (R) 33
Undecided 2

Ballot Propositions: “Save Water, Save Money”

You’ve probably seen Governor Brown on TV pushing Propositions 1 and 2. He is the consummate master of political messaging, making his simple pitch, “save water, save money.” All indications are that both will pass. Following is a review of the statewide propositions on Tuesday’s ballot:

Proposition 1 – Water Bond

Authorizes state bonds in the amount of $7.5 billion for statewide water infrastructure projects, including:

  • Surface and groundwater storage (regional improvements, water recycling, and desalination)
  • Watershed protection and restoration (habitat protection, environmental restorations, programs available to applicants, increase water flow in rivers and streams)
  • Drinking water protection (groundwater pollution cleanup, disadvantaged communities drinking water, small communities wastewater treatment, other local projects)
  • Flood protection (repair/improve Delta levees, other flood protection)

The water bond was one of the central issues of this most recent legislative session. Some people say education policy is a political monster, but it nowhere approaches the emotional politics of water in California. It was hard for the Governor and Legislators to come to an agreement on the water bond, but they got one. Prop. 1 has significant support and little opposition. We expect it to pass on Tuesday.

Proposition 2 – State Reserve Policy

This State Constitutional amendment would create a new budget reserve (a.k.a. “Rainy Day Fund”) to replace the state’s current reserve. The Rainy Day Fund would have two components: the Budget Stabilization Account to stabilize the state’s General Fund in down years, as well as the Public School System Stabilization Account specifically for school funding (called the Prop. 98 Reserve).

Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) – Requires annual transfers into the BSA from the state’s General Fund as well as revenue from capital gains in some years.  Transfers out would be spent to repay state debts and stabilize budget shortfalls.

Prop. 98 Reserve – Requires transfers into the reserve in some years when capital gains revenues are strong and state school budget conditions are right. Transfers to this fund trigger a cap on local school district budget reserves.

The purpose of this part of the Rainy Day Fund reserve is ostensibly to level out the volatility that unpredictable capital gains revenues (taxes charged on investment income) cause the General Fund.

Effect on Schools: Transfers are unlikely to be made into the Prop 98 Reserve for at least five years and may occur infrequently after that, given the strict conditions that must exist for transfers to take place. However if and when transfers are made, schools may receive less Prop 98 funding for these years. The cap on local budget reserves could create a the real problem for schools. Please note, the local district cap is a statutory requirement that is only effective if Prop. 2 passes, but it is not part of the language of Prop. 2.

While many in the education management community oppose the school district budget reserve restrictions, the Governor has indicated a willingness to address those concerns in 2015.

Effect on State Services: During the recession, the Legislature and Governor were forced to make deep cuts to state programs. This has had a detrimental effect on many populations, particularly needy or high-risk Californians. This Rainy Day Fund would likely inhibit the ability of the Legislature to re-establish or create new programs using spikes in capital gains revenues.

Prop. 2 has significant support and no organized opposition, we expect it to pass on Tuesday.

Proposition 45 – Approval of Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes

Gives the State Insurance Commissioner authority to approve health insurance rates and changes associated with health insurance, except large group employer insurance. Requires a public process before health insurance rate changes, similar to processes used for auto and homeowner's insurance. It also prohibits health, auto, and homeowners insurers from considering prior coverage or credit history when determining policy eligibility/rates.

Existing health insurance regulation: Health insurance for most Californians is regulated by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), however, regulation of the individual market is split between DMHC and the California Department of Insurance (CDI). Both departments review proposed insurance rates (except for large group rates), but neither has the authority to reject or approve rates. Covered California, the state health benefit exchange created to implement federal health care reform, has the authority to negotiate certain characteristics of health insurance to be sold in the state (based on both state and federal requirements), including rates.

This measure is the latest in a years-long regulation battle between consumer groups and insurance companies. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has supported this effort and similar efforts for several years. As a former consumer attorney, Commissioner Jones has made health insurance regulation central to his tenure in this office as well as a constant theme during his time serving in the State Legislature.

The campaigns for and against this measure have raised approximately $59 million, with the vast majority going to oppose Prop. 45 (nearly $56 million).

Proposition 46 – Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits

Increases the cap for pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits for inflation (from $250,000 to $1.1 million). Requires drug testing for some doctors. Requires doctors to check a database before prescribing some medications.

The cap for pain and suffering damages from medical negligence was enacted in 1975 by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). It is not adjusted for inflation.

For years there has been constant tension on this issue between supporters, which are generally attorney organizations and firms that represent plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits, and opponents, which are primarily organizations representing doctors and health insurers. Supporters of raising the cap on damages argue it should be adjusted after 39 years at the same level. Opponents argue cost of liability insurance for doctors will increase and access to care will be diminished because health care professionals will move out of state.

This is a tough battle with supporters having raised nearly $4 million to the opponents $54 million.

Proposition 47 – Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties

Makes certain felony drug and property crimes misdemeanors. Does not apply these new rules to registered sex offenders and people with prior violent crime convictions.

Crimes for which penalties would be limited or reduced to misdemeanor penalties:

  • Grand theft of property of $950 or less
  • Shoplifting worth $950 or less
  • Receiving stolen property worth $950 or less
  • Writing bad checks, unless the check is worth more than $950 or the person has been committed three previous forgery crimes
  • Check forgery worth $950 or less, except if identity theft is also committed
  • Drug possession for personal use of most illegal drugs (does not change possession of marijuana, which is an infraction or misdemeanor)

Savings to the state would be transferred into a new Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund. These funds would be spent as follows:

  • 65% to mental health and drug abuse treatments to keep people out of prison/jail
  • 25% to grants for reducing public school truancy and dropout rates
  • 10% to grants for victim service

Proposition 48 – Referendum on Indian Gaming Compacts

If passed, tribal gaming compacts between California and two tribes—the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe—would go into effect.

The tribal compacts at issue, if approved, are expected to result in one time payment to the state and local governments of between $16 and $35 million as well as annual payments of $10 million. These payments must be deposited into certain funds, which are then distributed the tribes that do not operate casinos (or operate small casinos), as well as used to pay state costs to regulate casinos and grants to local governments affected by tribal casinos.

Voting on referenda can be counterintuitive. Please remember that a “yes” vote approves the compacts and a “no” vote rejects the compacts

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Election Preview: Legislative Races – The Battle for 27 and 54

If you’re looking for the partisan political fight in 2014, look to the State Legislature. The California Democratic party’s number one goal in the November 2014 election is to hold and reestablish 2/3 supermajorities in the State Senate and Assembly. Supermajorities are achieved by having 27 elected members of the State Senate (40 total Senators) and 54 elected members of the State Assembly (80 total Assembly Members). Conversely, the number one goal of the California Republican Party (led the politicly savvy and experienced Jim Brulte) is to stop the Democrats from getting to 2/3 in both houses.

Theoretically, a supermajority allows a party to push through fiscal and policy priorities without needing any support (or compromise) with the other party. But exercising such unilateral authority is politically dangerous and seldom used. When the Democrats recently enjoyed 2/3 majorities in both houses, they never exercised the authority. The last time a Legislature used the 2/3 majority to override a Governor’s veto was over 30 years ago when Jerry Brown was Governor (the first time).

This dynamic focuses the two parties’ efforts on only a few key races where the legislative districts are nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The battle in nearly all of these districts is over the growing number of no-party preference voters. Below is a review of the key legislative races in each house to watch on Election Night.

Senate Races to Watch

Senate Democrats lost their 2/3 supermajority in 2014 after a slew of corruption scandals rendered two Democratic Senators suspended from the Senate and one resigned after being convicted of not living in the Senate District from which he was elected. This took the Senate Democrats from 28 seats to 25 seats.

There are a total of 40 State Senate seats, meaning the magic number for a 2/3 supermajority is 27. There are 15 Democratic seats (including the seat recently vacated by Senator Rod Wright - see below) and five Republican seats that are not up for reelection on Tuesday. This leaves the remaining 20 seats up for a vote on Tuesday. Of those, 11 are considered safe Democratic seats, 7 are considered safe Republican seats, and two seats are hotly contested. The combination of seats not up for election and the safe seats on Tuesday’s ballot will bring Democrats to 26 seats and Republicans to 12, and leave two remaining hotly contested seats. Democrats need to win one of the two contested seats (discussed below) in order to have the opportunity to regain a supermajority.

One of those 15 safe Democratic seats not up for election on Tuesday includes the seat of former State Senator Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), who resigned after being convicted for not living in his Senate District. Governor Brown has scheduled a special election to be held on December 9th to fill that seat. The district is in the heart of Los Angeles and considered safe for Democrats. That seat is nearly certain to go to Assembly Member Isadore Hall (D-Compton).

Following is a review of the two hotly contested Senate races:

Orange County - Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) vs. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove): The 34th Senate District includes Santa Ana, Seal Beach, and portions of Anaheim, Long Beach, and LA County. Democratic Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) currently represents the area and is termed out in 2014. Democrats hold a slight voter registration advantage (38% to 35% Republican). Voters with no-party preference make up 22%. Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) has gone all-in with resources for former Assembly Member Jose Solorio, who currently sits on the Rancho Santiago Community College District. When Solorio was in the State Assembly, he served on the Assembly Education Committee. Republican challenger Janet Nguyen currently serves on the Orange County Board of Supervisors and placed first in the June primary with 52% to Solorio’s 33%. Another Republican garnered 15% of the vote (but only the top two vote earners advance to the general election), creating an uphill battle for Solorio. The racial breakdown of the district is interesting as it is 25% Latino and 21% Asian (approximately 15% is Vietnamese), which appears to give Nguyen a slight advantage. This district will pivot on turnout and both parties know it. Interestingly, the two most important races for the Assembly and the Senate are in Orange County. The Quirk-Silva/Kim race and the Solorio/Nguyen race could be helping each other by driving up awareness and potentially turnout - that advantages Democrats. Governor Brown has made several appearances and recorded radio and TV for Solorio. This seat is a toss up.

Central Valley - Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) vs. Luis Chavez (D-Fresno): The 14th Senate District includes portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties, including the major cities of Hanford, Delano, Farland, Porterville, Sanger, Corcoran, and portions of Fresno and Bakersfield. This Senate seat has interesting history. Democrats lost the seat unexpectedly to Republicans when Democratic Senator Michael Rubio resigned in the middle of his term to take a high-paying job at Chevron. Interestingly, Chevron (along with two other oil companies) have pumped more than $1.5 million into commercials, mail, and polling supporting Senator Vidak. While the district has a strong democratic registration advantage (47% to 30% Republican) with 19% of voters having no-party preference, low turnout is a disadvantage for Democrats. Despite the significant registration advantage for Democrats, Senator Vidak easily beat Chavez in the June primary 61% to 39%. The Vidak name is gold in this area of the state. Senator Vidak’s dad is Jim Vidak, the popular longtime Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, an elected position. Vidak has effectively positioned himself as an independent voice with strong connections to the education community, somewhat eroding Chavez’s education background advantage. New Senate leader Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) has made the seat a priority and is funneling resources to Chavez. Governor Jerry Brown recently joined with Chavez in a commercial telling voters he is “teaming up” with Chavez to address the drought (huge issue in the valley) by voting to support Prop 1 to “save water”. This seat is hard to call and will depend on turnout. The seat leans Vidak.

Assembly Races to Watch

Going into the Tuesday’s election, Democrats control 55 seats in the chamber, one more than is needed to maintain the 2/3 supermajority. All members of the State Assembly must run for reelection every two years, so all of the 80 Assembly seats are up on Tuesday. Under the old term limits, members could serve up to six years (some members are still subject to these rules). Under the new term limits, newly elected members of the Legislature can serve up to 12 years in any combination of time in the State Assembly and State Senate.

In 2014, there are at least six races that could prove pivotal in the battle over 54 (the 2/3 supermajority):

Orange County - Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) vs. Young Kim (R-Fullerton): The 65th Assembly District stretches North and West from Disneyland and includes Fullerton, Buena Park, La Palma, Cypress, and Stanton. This has been called the number one target for the Republican Party as Democrats have a razor thin registration advantage (37% to 36%) and a relatively large number of voters have no-party preference (24%). Assembly Member Quirk-Silva unexpectedly won the seat in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Chris Norby (former vice-chair of the Assembly Education Committee), who was battling some marital scandals. In 2012, Quirk-Silva trailed Norby by double digits in the primary, but beat him in the general election. A similar dynamic may be at play again as she trailed Young Kim in the primary by 10 points (55% to 45%). Quirk-Silva is the former Mayor of Fullerton, former Kindergarten teacher, Latina, and chair of the Assembly Veterans Committee. Democrats are pulling out all the stops for Quirk-Silva. Governor Brown has visited twice recently, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has personally been walking precincts, along with an army of volunteers. Young Kim is a Republican staffer to U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton). She has a background in journalism and private sector business. She is Korean, which could prove valuable in a district with a large Korean and Asian/Pacific Islander population. As with many of the races in 2014, this race is all about turnout. The seat leans Quirk-Silva.

Central Valley - Assembly Member Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) vs. Pedro Rios (R-Delano): The 32 Assembly District includes Kern and Kings County with part of Bakersfield stretching up the Valley to Hanford. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district (48% to 29%), however 19% have no-party preference, making those voters the key to this race. Pedro Rios is a teacher and former mayor of Delano. This isn’t a new fight as Salas beat Rios in 2012. Additionally, political staff from the Assembly Speaker’s office have been running campaigns in this part of the state for over a decade - back when this area was former Assembly Member Nicole Parra’s seat. They have a proven Get Out The Vote apparatus that has been effective is previous midterm elections. This seat leans Salas.

Antelope Valley - Assembly Member Steve Fox (D-Palmdale) vs. Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale): The 36th Assembly District encompasses the upper dessert of Northern LA County, including Palmdale, Lancaster, and the greater Antelope Valley. Assembly Member Steve Fox unexpectedly won the seat in 2012 by only 145 votes. He was literally declared the winner hours before the Assembly was to swear-in new members and was rushed to Sacramento. Now, two years later, Democrats have a slight voter registration advantage (38% to 36%), with 15% having no-party preference. Complicating his reelection chances, Fox is facing allegations from former staffers that he required them to do work for his private law firm. While the allegation is being investigated, his campaign is suffering. We recently heard the Assembly Speaker has redirected the caucus’ campaign resources away from Fox’s district to other races in the state - a signal Fox is in trouble. Lackey is a council member in the City of Palmdale, a former school board member of the Palmdale Elementary School District, and 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol. Lackey came in ahead of Fox in the June primary (41% to 33%). The seat leans Lackey and would be a Republican pick-up.

Torrance and Beach Cities - Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) vs. David Hadley (R-Manhattan Beach): The 66th Assembly District includes Torrance, Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, West Carson, Lomita, and Gardena. The district leans Democratic with a voter registration edge of 40% to 33%, with 18% of voters having no-party preference. This area of West Los Angeles County has traditionally been a moderate district, but became more so in the most recent redistricting. Assembly Member Muratsuchi (Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance) came in second in the June primary (50.5% to 49.5%). Hadley is an investment banker active in the Manhattan Beach Republican party. Turnout will be key in determining this race - with higher turnout advantaging Muratsuchi. Muratsuchi is Japanese American in an area of Los Angeles County with a high Asian/Pacific Islander (API) population that is very active in politics with a history of crossing party affiliation to support API candidates. The district is the bedrock of support for former Assembly Member George Nakano, Assembly Member and Senator Ted Lieu, and now Muratsuchi. The Assembly Speaker has also targeted Muratsuchi for significant campaign support. This district leans Muratsuchi.

Ventura County - Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) vs. Rob McCoy (R-Thousand Oaks): The 44th Assembly District is nestled in Ventura County and includes Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Moorpark. We call this area Jack O’Connell Country as he grew up in this area and represented parts of this district for over 20 years when he was in the Legislature. This seat is competitive because it’s current representative, Jeff Gorell (R-Thousand Oaks) is running for Congress, leaving the seat open. Irwin currently serves on the Thousand Oaks City Council, while McCoy is a local church pastor. Democrats have a slight registration edge here (38% to 36%), with a large number of no-party preference voters (22%). This district has been trending Democratic as the population of Latino voters increases. This seat is a toss-up.

Southeast Los Angeles County - Assembly Member Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) vs. Rita Topalian (R-Whittier): The 57th Assembly District is Democrat country with voter registration 47% Democratic, 26% Republican, and 17% no-party preference. It includes the cities of Whittier, Norwalk, Hacienda Heights, and La Puente. The only reason this district is competitive is because of the fallout from the federal indictment of State Senator Ron Calderon (Ian Calderon’s uncle). The Calderon name was gold in East Los Angeles. Ian’s father and uncles have all served in the Legislature over the past 30 years. Other family members have been prominent school board members, as well. In the June primary, Ian came in second with 48% to Topalian’s 52%. They were the only two people on the ballot, meaning Calderon is in trouble. Topalian is using the family scandal against Calderon. The turnout dynamics here will be crucial for Democrats looking to hold the seat. If the district goes to Topalian, she will likely be a one-term member as the district is virtually certain to flip in 2016 when another Democrat runs. This seat leans Calderon.

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Update: Governor’s Actions on Education Bills

The Governor took more actions on K-12 education bills last night and today, including the Attorney General’s truancy bills, legislation related to student data, and one measure regarding collective bargaining.

Of the four measures sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris related to truancy that made it to the Governor’s desk, two were signed and two were vetoed. The bills signed add representatives of the county district attorney and public defender’s offices to school attendance review boards (SARB) (AB 1643 (Buchanan)) and require district attorney’s offices inform school officials about the outcome of truancy referrals for prosecution (AB 2141 (Hall)).  The vetoed bills, AB 1672 (Holden) and AB 1866 (Bocanegra), would have expanded SARB reports to include the outcomes of interventions, and would have added truancy and absence data to CALPADS.

Governor Brown signed several measures related to privacy of student data: AB 1442 (Gatto) related to the collection and destruction of information collected about students on social media, AB 1584 (Buchanan) related to data storage by contractors that provide digital education software, and SB 1177 (Steinberg) restricting the use and disclosure of student data by operators of websites and online services.

One measure the Governor vetoed was AB 1550 (Rendon), related to collective bargaining. This labor-sponsored measure would have required an employer to notify an employee representative at least 30 days before implementing the terms of a Last, Best, and Final Offer. In his veto message, the Governor reasoned that employers are already required by law to bargain in good faith and that “the Public Employment Relations Board has been extremely vigilant in taking action to curb bad faith bargaining."

The Governor has until the end of the day to act on the remaining bills that were passed by the Legislature. In the coming weeks, we will provide a comprehensive analysis of the new laws affecting education.

Following is a review of the Governor’s most recent actions on education bills:

Charter Schools

AB 913 (Chau) Charter schools

Subjects charter schools to the state's existing open meetings, conflict-of-interest, and disclosure laws, and makes a number of other changes to the permissible activities of charter school governing boards, councils, and advisory committees.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

AB 948 (Olsen) Charter schools: school facilities: Charter School Facility Grant Program

Expands eligibility and requires charter schools participating in the Charter School Facility Grant Program to comply with the audit guide.

Signed

 

Curriculum and Instruction

AB 1539 (Hagman) Content standards: computer science

Requires the Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education to consider developing computer science content standards.

Signed

AB 1764 (Olsen) School curriculum: mathematics: computer science

Allows a school district to award mathematics credit for completion of a California State University and University of California approved “Category C” computer science course, if the district requires more than two years of mathematics courses for graduation.

Signed

AB 2016 (Campos) Pupil instruction: sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention

Requires the State Board of Education to consider including age-appropriate content on sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention in the next revision of the health content standards.

Signed

 

Governance/Operations

AB 1431 (Gonzalez) Campaign contributions: school district and community college district administrators

Prohibits a school or community college district administrator from soliciting campaign contributions for district board members and candidates for the district board, except as specified.

Vetoed -Click here to read the veto message.

AB 1442 (Gatto) Pupil records: social media

Requires a school district that gathers and maintains information about a student from social media to notify students and parents, limits the information that it collects, and destroy the information when no longer needed as specified.

Signed

AB 1584 (Buchanan) Pupil records: privacy: 3rd-party contracts: digital storage services and digital educational software

Authorizes a local education agency, pursuant to a policy adopted by its governing board, to enter into a contract with third parties to provide services, including cloud- based services, for the digital storage, management, and retrieval of pupil records, and to provide digital educational software, provided the contract includes specific provisions about the security, use, ownership, and control of the pupil records.

Signed

AB 2040 (Garcia) Compensation of elected officials, officers, and employees: reporting and disclosure

Requires local agency financial transaction reports to include information about the annual compensation of the local agency's elected officials, officers, and employees, requires local agencies to post this information on their Internet Web sites, and requires the State Controller to compile, publish, and make this information publicly available on the Controller's website.

Signed

AB 2380 (Weber) School plans: consolidated application for categorical programs: single plan for pupil achievement

Adds additional requirements for districts that elect to prepare a single plan for pupil achievement.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

 

Human Resources

AB 1550 (Rendon) School employees: collective bargaining

Extends the length of time the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has to appoint a mediator once they have determined an impasse exists from five to 10 working days after receiving the request for mediation.  Requires the public school employer, after the impasse procedures have been completed and the employer has made the factfinding panel's recommendations and findings public, to provide the exclusive representative with written notice of the date certain for the implementation of each of the terms of the last, best, and final offer, at least 30 days prior to implementation.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

AB 1611 (Bonta) School employees: scope of representation: notice

This bill requires public school employers to provide to the exclusive representative of a classified school employee group reasonable written notice of their intent to make any changes to matters within the scope of representation.

Signed

AB 2126 (Bonta) Meyers Milias Brown Act: mediation

This bill amends the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) relating to bargaining impasse and mediation procedures between local agencies and their respective employee representation organizations.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

 

Pupil Health

AB 1840 (Campos) Pupil health: vision appraisal

Authorizes a child’s vision to be appraised by using an eye chart or any scientifically validated photoscreening test. Requires photoscreening tests to be performed, under an agreement with, or the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, by the school nurse or by a trained individual who meets specified requirements as determined by the California Department of Education.

Signed

AB 2217 (Melendez) Pupil and personnel health: automated external defibrillators

Allows public schools to solicit and receive non-state funds to acquire and maintain an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and provides immunity from civil damages to the employee of the school district and to the school district resulting from the use of an AED.

Signed

AB 2706 (Hernandez, R.) Schools: health care coverage: enrollment assistance

Requires, for purposes of the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years, a public school, including a charter school, to add an informational item to its enrollment forms, or amend an existing enrollment form in order to provide the parent or legal guardian information about health care coverage options and enrollment assistance. Repeals this requirement on January 1, 2019.

Signed

SB 1172 (Steinberg) Pupil health: vision appraisals

This bill deletes the existing vision screening requirements and instead, requires, during the kindergarten year or upon first enrollment or entry in a California school district of a pupil at an elementary school, and in grades 2, 5, and 8, the pupil’s vision to be appraised by the school nurse or other authorized person.

Signed

 

School Finance

AB 1450 (Garcia) Local government: redevelopment: revenues from property tax override rates

This bill, for the 2014-15 fiscal year and following years, prohibits a county auditor from allocating revenues from an extraordinary property tax rate approved by voters to pay for pension programs to a Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund (RPTTF). This bill requires a county auditor to pay those revenues into the fund of the city or county whose voters approved the tax.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

AB 2007 (Grove) Virtual or online charter schools: average daily attendance

Authorizes, until January 1, 2018, a virtual or online charter school, in specified circumstances, to claim independent study average daily attendance for a pupil who resides outside of the geographic boundaries in which the school is authorized to operate.

Signed

SB 923 (Pavley) Educational apprenticeships: Educational Apprenticeship Innovation Act: EdPrize

This bill establishes the Educational Apprenticeship Innovation Prize (EdPrize) as a competitive grant program for purposes of promoting apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and career pathways between local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and businesses of importance to local economies.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message. 

SB 971 (Huff) School finance: categorical programs

This bill repeals or modifies numerous provisions of the Education Code that are considered obsolete or unnecessary in light of the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula/Local Control Accountability Plans.

Signed

SB 1129 (Steinberg) Redevelopment: successor agencies to redevelopment agencies (RDAs)

This bill makes several changes to the statutes governing the dissolution of RDAs. Among other things, this bill (1) authorizes an RDA successor agency to use the proceeds of bonds issued in 2011 for the purposes for which the bonds were sold, if those purposes are consistent with a specified “sustainable communities strategy” (SCS); (2) deems an agreement entered into by an RDA prior to June 30, 2011 that commits funds to state highway infrastructure improvements as an enforceable obligation; and (3) revises the process for disposal of former RDA properties through a long-range property management plan (LRPMP) by eliminating a requirement for compensation agreements governing the distribution of property proceeds.

Vetoed - *Veto message unavailable at this time

 

School Safety

AB 1271 (Bonta) School safety plans: pupil mental health care

Encourages the school safety plan to include protocols to address the mental health care of pupils who have witnessed a violent act.

Signed

AB 1432 (Gatto) Mandated child abuse reporting: school employees: training

Requires annual mandated reporter training of all school district, county office of education, charter school, personnel within the first six weeks of each school year or within six weeks of employment; and, requires the California Department of Education in consultation with the Department of Social Services to develop and disseminate information on child abuse; develop guidance on mandated reporter responsibilities and reporting requirements; and, develop a means of instructing school personnel.

Signed

AB 1433 (Gatto) Student safety

Requires the governing board of each public, private and independent postsecondary educational institution, which receives public funds for student financial assistance, to adopt and implement written policies and procedures governing the reporting of specified crimes to law enforcement agencies. Declares urgency, in order to ensure student safety, and would take effect immediately.

Signed

SB 924 (Beall) Damages: childhood sexual abuse: statute of limitations

This bill would have changed the statute of limitations for an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse that occurred on or after January 1, 2015. The action shall be commenced by the later of the following periods: (1) within 22 years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority, or (2) within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse. This bill would have applied to local public entities.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message.

SB 926 (Beall) Crimes statute of limitation: felony sex crimes

Extends the statute of limitation for crimes of childhood sexual abuse from a victim's 28th birthday until the victim's 40th birthday.

Signed

SB 1177 (Steinberg) Privacy: students

This bill establishes the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (Act) to restrict the use and disclosure of information about K-12 students.

Signed

 

Student Services

AB 1643 (Buchanan) Pupil attendance: school attendance review boards

Adds a representative of the county district attorney's office and a representative of the county public defender's office to county and local school attendance review boards (SARBs) and makes changes to the provisions governing SARBs.

Signed

AB 1672 (Holden) Pupil attendance: truancy

Requires, beginning June 1, 2015, the governing board of each school district that has established a local school attendance review board (SARB) to adopt rules and regulations to require the appropriate officers and employees of the school district to gather and post specified information on its Internet Web site.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message. 

AB 1866 (Bocanegra) Pupil attendance: California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System

Adds, subject to an appropriation for this purpose, new data elements to the pupil attendance data that the California Department of Education is required to collect and report through the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.

Vetoed - Click here to read the veto message. 

AB 2141 (Hall) Pupil attendance: truancy: referrals for prosecution

Requires a state or local agency conducting a truancy-related mediation or prosecuting a pupil or a pupil's parent or legal guardian to provide the outcome of each referral to the agency that made a referral.

Signed

AB 2195 (Achadjian) Juveniles: truancy

Authorizes a juvenile hearing officer to hear cases in which a minor is alleged to come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court on the basis of having four or more truancies, as defined, within one school year.

Signed

AB 2276 (Bocanegra) Pupils: transfers from juvenile court schools

Makes a number of changes regarding the transfer of pupils from juvenile court schools to district schools.

Signed

AB 2382 (Bradford) CalWORKs: eligibility: truancy

Eliminates the overlapping penalty for truancy assessed against California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) recipient families.

Signed

SB 1111 (Lara) Pupils: involuntary transfer: county community schools

This bill requires parental consent for referrals to a county community school by a school attendance review board (SARB), school district, or probation department, except for situations where a student is expelled or pursuant to a court order. This bill also establishes the right of a student to reenroll in his/her former school or another school upon completion of the term of involuntary transfer to a county community school.

Signed

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Governor Signs and Vetoes Education Bills

Over the weekend, Governor Brown was busy signing and vetoing education bills. He signed a few high profile bills, including SB 1174 (Lara), which will ask voters to repeal Prop 227 (1998 – reformed English language instruction) and expand language opportunities in school. He also signed AB 420 (Dickinson) which, among other things, reforms suspension and expulsion criteria for willful defiance.

The Governor has until tomorrow to complete his actions on the remaining bills still sitting on his desk.

Following is a review of bills signed or vetoed by the Governor over the weekend.
Assessment and Accountability

AB 2512 (Bonilla) Pupil rights: gender equity: interscholastic athletics

Authorizes school districts and county offices of education to include compliance with Title IX in the "school climate" component of their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) beginning in 2018, and makes a technical correction to existing law.

Vetoed

 

Child Nutrition/Food Safety

AB 2413 (Perez J.) The Office of Farm to Fork

Creates the Office of Farm to Fork (OFF) within the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to both work with various entities involved in promoting food access, and to increase the amount of agricultural products available to schools and underserved communities in the state of California.

Signed

 

Curriculum and Instruction

 AB 1444 (Buchanan) Elementary education: kindergarten

This bill requires, beginning with the 2016-17 school year, a student to have completed one year of kindergarten before being admitted to the first grade, thereby requiring kindergarten attendance, as specified.

Vetoed

 AB 1719 (Weber) Kindergarten: evaluation and annual reporting

Requires, no later than July 1, 2017, the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to provide the Legislature with an evaluation of kindergarten program implementation in the state, including part-day and full-day kindergarten programs.

Signed

 SB 1165 (Mitchell) Pupil instruction: sexual abuse: sex trafficking

This bill requires the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to consider including sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention education in the Health Framework for California Public Schools (health framework) and permits a school district to provide sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention education, as specified.

Signed

 SB 1174 (Lara) English language education

This bill amends and repeals various provisions of Proposition 227 of 1998, including repealing the requirement that all children be taught English by being taught in English and instead allows school districts and county offices of education, in consultation with language experts in the field and parents, to determine the best language instruction methods and language acquisition programs to implement. This proposal will go before the voters in November 2016.

Signed
Facilities

 AB 1705 (Williams) Public contracts: payments

Clarifies the circumstances under which a public agency may retain more than 5% of a contract price until final completion of a substantially complex public works project.

Signed

 

Foster Youth

AB 1658 (Jones-Sawyer) Foster care: consumer credit reports

As identity theft is more common among children and even more common among children in foster care, this bill requires child welfare agencies to undertake specific actions regarding a child’s consumer credit record when he or she is 16 years of age or older and is in foster care.

Signed

AB 1790 (Dickinson) Foster children: mental health services

Requires the Department of Social Services to convene a stakeholder group to identify barriers to the provision of mental health services by mental health professionals with specialized clinical training in adoption or permanency issues to foster youth receiving services from the Adoption Assistance Program.

Signed

AB 1978 (Jones-Sawyer) Child welfare services

This bill requires the Department of Social Services, in consultation with counties and labor organizations, to establish a process, no later than January 2016, to receive voluntary disclosures from social workers, if a social worker has reasonable cause to believe that a policy, procedure, or practice related to the provision of child welfare services by a county child welfare agency, as defined, endangers the health or well-being of a child or children.

Signed

AB 2454 (Quirk-Silva) Foster youth: nonminor dependents

This bill permits a former nonminor dependent who previously received extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment (KinGAP) or Adoption Assistance Payment (AAP), but whose guardian or adoptive parent no longer provides ongoing support, to petition the court to resume dependency under the extended foster care program, as specified.

Signed

AB 2668 (Quirk-Silva) Foster care: nonminor dependent parents

This bill permits non-minor dependents, in a supervised independent living plan, who are also parents, to enter into a parenting support plan, as specified.

Signed

SB 1099 (Steinberg) Dependent children: wards: sibling visitation

This bill encourages visitation with siblings for children in the dependency and juvenile justice system.

Signed

SB 1252 (Torres) Public social services: former foster youth: housing

This bill authorizes a county to extend the Transitional Housing Placement Program-Plus to former foster youth not more than 25 years of age, and for a total of 36 cumulative months, if the former foster youth is completing secondary education or enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary education.

Signed

 

Governance/Operations

AB 194 (Campos) Open meetings: public criticism and comment

Revises and expands the Ralph M. Brown Act’s (Brown Act) provisions that require local legislative bodies to allow public comment and public criticism at regular and special meetings.

Vetoed

 AB 2058 (Wilk) Open meetings

Modifies the definition of "state body" to clarify that standing committees, even if composed of less than three members, are a "state body" for the purposes of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Act).

Vetoed

AB 2160 (Ting) Cal Grant Program: grade point average

Requires a grade point average (GPA) for all high school seniors at public schools to be submitted to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) electronically by a school or school district official.

Signed

 AB 2548 (Ting) Postsecondary education

Requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to periodically conduct studies of the percentages of California public high school graduates estimated to be eligible for admission to the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU).

Vetoed

 

Human Resources

 AB 837 (Wieckowski) Public Employees’ Retirement Benefits

Exempts judges who were elected to office prior to January 1, 2013, but who did not take office until on or after that date, from the provisions of the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act (PEPRA).

Vetoed

AB 1783 (Jones-Sawyer) Public employees’ retirement

This bill continues the exemption for certain public transit workers from the requirements of the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) until January 1, 2016, or until a federal district court rules that the United States Secretary of Labor (or his or her designee) erred in determining that application of PEPRA precludes certification of federal transit funding, whichever is sooner.

Signed

 SB 1220 (Torres) State Teachers Retirement

Makes various technical, conforming, or non-controversial changes to the Teachers’ Retirement Law (TRL) to facilitate efficient administration of the State Teachers’ Retirement Plan, which includes the Defined Benefit Program (DB), the Defined Benefit Supplement Program (DBS), and the Cash Balance Benefit Program (CB).

Signed

 SB 1251 (Huff) Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act: joint powers

This bill authorizes a joint powers authority (JPA) formed by the cities of Brea and Fullerton on or after January 1, 2013, to provide employees who are not new members under the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) with the defined benefit plan or formula that was received by those employees from their respective employers on December 31, 2012, if they are employed by the JPA without a break in service of more than 180 days. The bill also authorizes up to three cities in Orange County, as specified, to join the authority and prohibits the formation of a JPA on or after January 1, 2013, in a manner that would exempt a new employee or a new member from the requirements of PEPRA.

Signed

 

School Finance

 SB 69 (Roth) Property tax revenue: vehicle license fee

This bill provides a city incorporating after January 1, 2004, and on or before January 1, 2012, with property tax in lieu of vehicle license fees (VLF).

Vetoed

 SB 876 (Budget and Fiscal Review Cmt.) Education finance

Makes various technical changes to the education trailer bills, adopted as part of the 2014-15 Budget package.

Signed

 

School Safety

AB 420 (Dickinson) Pupil discipline: suspensions/expulsions: defiance

This bill eliminates the authority to suspend a pupil enrolled in grades K-3, inclusive, and the authority to recommend for expulsion a pupil enrolled in grades K-12, inclusive, for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of those school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties, as specified. This bill sunsets July 1, 2018.

Signed

 AB 883 (Cooley) Child sexual abuse: prevention pilot program

Establishes the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program.

Vetoed

 AB 1276 (Bloom) Youth offenders: security placement

Requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to conduct a youth offender Institutional Classification Committee (ICC) review at reception to provide special classification consideration for every youth offender.

Signed

 

Student Services

 AB 1518 (Eggman) Military: National Guard: Youth Challenge Program

This bill codifies the authority in federal law for the existing California National Guard Youth Challenge Program and specifies certain geographic areas to be served, subject to the availability of funding.

Signed

 AB 2607 (Skinner) Juveniles: detention

Requires that minors or nonminors be released from juvenile detention as ordered, unless the court determines that a delay in release from detention is reasonable.

Signed

 SB 1002 (De Leon) Low-income individuals: eligibility determinations

This bill would require the state departments of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Social Services (CDSS) to seek federal waivers to streamline the application and re-application processes for the Medi-Cal and CalFresh programs by using information from either application to satisfy information requirements for both programs. The bill requires CDSS to consult with stakeholders in implementing this provision and authorizes CDSS to implement this provision through an all-county letter, or similar instructions.

Vetoed

 SB 1391 (Hancock) Inmate education programs: apportionment computation

This bill allows California Community Colleges (CCCs) to receive full funding for credit-course instruction offered in correctional institutions and seeks to expand the offering of such courses.

Signed

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Governor to Sign Paid Sick Leave Bill Tomorrow in LA

Want to give you the heads up that the Governor will sign the hotly-debated paid sick leave bill (AB 1522, Gonzalez) tomorrow morning in Los Angeles.

The bill will require employers, on or after July 1, 2015, to offer paid sick leave to employees that work at least 30 days in a year. The employee will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. The employees will be able to use the accrued sick days after the 90th day of employment and carryover unused time to the following year. Employers may limit an employee’s use of sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment. The bill will apply to some school employees, most notably long-term subs. The bill was sponsored by organized labor and opposed by many business groups. You may recall the bill was dramatically amended on the final night of the legislative session and sent to the Governor’s desk. There was consternation among Democrats the final language excluded in-home support workers.

A link to the text of the new language can be found here.

From the Governor’s press office:

LOS ANGELES - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will join legislators and workers tomorrow in Los Angeles to sign the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which provides paid sick days to the millions of hardworking Californians - roughly 40% of the state's workforce - who do not currently earn this benefit.


"Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians," Governor Brown said after both houses of the Legislature passed the bill late last month. "This bill guarantees that millions of workers - from Eureka to San Diego - won't lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick."

With the Governor's signature, California will become only the second state in the nation to require paid sick leave.

When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.
Where: Ronald Reagan State Building, Governor's Press Conference Room, 16th Floor, 300 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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LCAP, Class Size Waivers, and more – September SBE Hearing Summary

This week’s State Board of Education Hearing was, with just a few exceptions, largely one filled with housekeeping duties. The only items drawing significant attention were those related to implementation of the LCAPs and a new board waiver policy on class size penalties.

 LCFF/LCAP

With regard to LCFF and the LCAP, the board reviewed and heard testimony on the LCAP template and regulations that had been revised as a result of comments received from the field. The template and regulations will go out for another 15-day public comment period; however, any additional changes are expected to be minimal. Advocacy groups such as WestEd and Public Advocates continue to press for more specificity on the application and proportionality of supplemental and concentration grants while education management groups remain concerned over the use of the word “principally” related to the direction of funds. Ed management groups also strongly urged the board to move the process along as LEAs are anxious to begin working on their LCAPs for the 2015-16 school year. The proposed regulations and revised template can be found here: Item 18 Attachment 2

Also related to the LCAP, CCSESA made a presentation to the board on the experience of county offices of education during the first year of LCAP implementation. The presentation can be found here: Year One: LCAP Review Experience of County Offices of Education

 Class Size Penalty Waivers

The other big issue covered by the board was a revised class size waiver policy proposed by CDE that sets forth the kinds of information that the department has determined would be important for LEAs to provide when submitting a class size penalty waiver request for fiscal years commencing with 2014–15. According to CDE, the information will enable the CDE to appropriately assess the school district’s need for the waiver and to determine if the flexibility requested through the waiver is consistent with the school district’s LCAP.  The board approved two class size penalty policies – one for grades Kindergarten and Grades 1-3 and one for Grades 4-8. Both can be found here: Item 5 Attachment 1, Item 5 Attachment 2

Note:  This policy does not apply to the K-3 Grade Span Adjustment (the class size reduction plan created under LCFF) nor to QEIA class size requirements. It applies to the existing class size requirements for K-8.

Other Items of interest

In addition to the key items mentioned above, SBE also discussed:

  •  The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System which includes the Smarter Balanced assessments, assessments previously administered through STAR and new assessments to be recommended by CDE with stakeholder input. Specifically, the board heard an update on the recently released Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (more information on the grant here: Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant). The grants will be used to assist those schools that need immediate network connectivity improvements in order to implement the Smarter Balanced computer-based assessments for the 2014-15 school year. Participants are scheduled to be notified in November. Under this item, the board discussed options for an alternate assessment. This past year, California has been participating in the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) alternate assessment field test with a pilot group of students and was planning on participating in the spring 2015 alternate assessment administration with all eligible students. However, NCSC is only allowing states that administer their test under operational conditions to participate in Spring, 2015. Therefore, California will participate in the NCSC pilot this Fall, but will continue to explore other options for a California alternate assessment, including, in the short term, developing and administering alternate items to try out.
  • The revised timeline and guidelines for the completion of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools. The timeline, which SBE approved, would call for final publication in Winter, 2015 rather than the preceding date, Winter, 2010.
  • The Next Generation Science Standards. After hearing an update on the implementation of the standards, SBE authorized board liaisons and staff to work with CDE to review comments submitted regarding the draft implementation plan and to develop a revised implementation plan for approval in November 2014.
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K-12 Education Bills Pending Before Governor

At just after 2:30 AM on Saturday, August 30, the California State Senate and Assembly closed down their regular work for the 2013-14 legislative session, sending a flurry of bills to Governor Brown for his consideration. Legislators have left Sacramento for their districts, most of them campaigning for reelection in November.

Governor Brown has 30 days to sign most of the bills sent to him at the end of session. If the Governor doesn’t act on a bill, it automatically becomes law (this rarely happens). Last year, the Governor vetoed approximately 11% of the bills sent to him.

This past year was remarkable in a number of ways. It was the first session, for nearly all current members of the Legislature, where the state did not face a deficit. In fact, the billions in additional revenues generated by the recent economic recovery and temporary tax increases from Prop 30 (2012) produced a surplus and therefore a different and more welcoming policymaking environment. This helped make possible a number of important policy developments, including a new phased-in school finance system, a plan to pay-down billions in public pension obligations, and investments required under the new federal health care law to help ensure more people have access to affordable health care.

The 2013-14 session was the last year for both Assembly Speaker (John Perez) and Senate Pro Tem (Darrell Steinberg), each termed out of their respective houses.

But 2014 will probably be infamous for being the year when three sitting State Senators were suspended from their offices over allegations or convictions for serious crimes. This includes Democratic Senators Leland Yee (accused of political corruption in connection to gun running, among other things), Rod Wright (convicted of not living in his Senate district), and Ron Calderon (caught in an FBI sting and accused of political corruption).

Because 2014 is an election year, politics tend to trump other dynamics when it comes to policymaking. In the final days of the legislative session, there was no shortage of controversial bills sent to the governor, including, among other things, a revised water bond for the November 2014 ballot, a ban on the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, increased gun control, restrictions on groundwater usage, paid sick leave for part-time employees, proposed bilingual education reforms, and student loans for undocumented students.

K-12 Education Bills

Over 120 education-related bills were sent to the governor during the final days of the session. One of the main areas of interest in 2014 included human resources, where there was no shortage of union-sponsored bills, including a high profile measures to expand the minimum number of sick days for employees. Unions were at the forefront of leveraging election year political juice to push a number of reforms.

Attached you will find a summary of all K-12 education bills currently sitting on the Governor’s desk (sorted by subject area).

A few of the high visibility K-12 education bills that went to the Governor in the final days of session include (hyperlinked to the current version of the bill):

AB 913 (Chau) Charter Schools

Provides charter school are subject to open meetings requirements and the State Public Records Act. It also subjects charter schools to provisions governing contracting financial interest rules and the Political Reform Act of 1974 regarding statements of financial disclosure. It provides an charter school employee is not disqualified from serving as a member of the school's governing body because of that employee's employment status, and may provide a loan to, or sign a guarantor agreement.

SB 1263 (Pavley) Charter Schools: Location

Revises the authority of a classroom-based charter school to locate outside the jurisdiction or geographic boundaries of the chartering school district, if certain conditions are satisfied. Prohibits a school district assigned a negative certification from authorizing new charter school from location outside the boundaries of the district.

SB 1174 (Lara) English Language Education

Amends and repeals provisions of Proposition 227. Deletes the sheltered English immersion and waiver provisions. Provides school districts and county offices of education shall provide English learners with a structured English immersion program. Authorizes parents and legal guardians to choose a program that best suits their child. Requires parent and community input in establishing language acquisition programs. Deletes provisions regarding liability for fees and actual damages for non-implementation.

AB 1522 (Gonzalez) Employment: Paid Sick Days

Requires employers to provide paid sick days to employees that work 30 or more days within a year after commencing employment. Authorizes an employer to limit an employee’s use of paid sick days. Prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days. Requires employers to satisfy specified posting and notice and record-keeping requirements. Authorizes the imposition of fines for violations and the recovery of civil penalties, as well as attorney's fees, costs and interest. Provides that such provisions would not apply to certain categories of employees.

AB 1550 (Rendon) School Employees: Collective Bargaining

Relates to school employee organizations and impasses in negotiations. Increases the time the Public Employment Relations Board is allowed to appoint a mediator. Requires a public school employer, after certain requirements are met, to provide notice to the exclusive representative of all the terms included in, the last, best, and final offer of the employer 30 days before imposition of the last, best, and final offer.

SB 1266 (Huff) Pupil Health: Epinephrine Auto-Injectors

Requires school districts, county offices of education and charter schools to provide emergency epinephrine auto-injectors to school nurses and trained volunteer personnel. Requires the distribution of a notice requesting volunteers. Requires certain individuals to obtain a related prescription. Requires a maintenance of such devices. Relates to minimum training requirements for use of such device, and training review. Authorizes such devices to be furnished by a pharmacy.

SB 1177 (Steinberg) Student Information Privacy

Prohibits an operator or an Internet website, online service, online application, or mobile application from knowingly engaging in targeted advertising to students or their parents or legal guardians, using covered information to amass a profile about a K-12 student, selling a student's information or disclosing covered information. Requires security procedures and practices of covered information, to protect information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.

Between now and the end of the month, we will work with the Administration to support and oppose many of the bills currently before the Governor. We will update you as he takes action. In early October, we will send you a comprehensive summary of the new laws affecting K-12 Education signed by Governor Brown.

K-12 Education Bills to Governor

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Developer Effort to Suspend Level III Developer Fees Dies

The effort to extend the suspension of Level III developer fees failed to surface in a bill during the final hours of the legislative session.  Although there was support from the Governor and leadership of both houses, it became a “hot potato” and no one was willing to take ownership of the issue and put the language forward.  The result is the expiration of the suspension of Level III fees, and current law is now operative relative to the assessment of Level II and Level III developer fees.

Unfortunately, the legislative effort (AB 2235 - Buchanan and Hagman) to place a state facilities bond on the November 2014 ballot also failed in the last week of session.  Although  the Legislature supported the effort, the Governor never came around to support a school facilities bond, in part because there was resistance to anything competing with the water bond. But more importantly, he is “unconvinced” that the state should participate in facilities funding at its historic level.  He also consistently stated he was “un–inclined" to support a bond that supported the program in its current form.

What’s next?

We don’t anticipate the Governor changing his mind to support a 2016 state facilities bond, considering there will most likely be a 2016 effort to place the expiring taxes on the ballot for renewal.  The best chance for facilities bond will be a grass roots initiative that does not require legislative or administrative approval.  Capitol Advisors Group are currently initiating conversations for this effort.

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Senate kills bill to repeal school district budget reserve limitations

On the Senate Floor this morning, there was an impassioned plea by Republican Senators for the body to vote to send AB 146 (Olsen/Fuller) to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. The bill would repeal the Education Code sections limiting local budget receives that are tied to passage of the Governor’s Rainy Day Fund (Proposition 2) in November.

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) spoke against the motion to send the bill to the Senate Education Committee saying the reserve limitations were done in the budget deal and encouraged those interested in addressing the issue introduce a bill next year.

The motion to send the bill to the Senate Education Committee failed by a party-line vote of 10-22, with many Democrats abstaining. At this point, it seems apparent Legislative Democrats and the Governor’s Administration don’t want to deal with clean-up to this issue until after the November election.

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