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Bills on the Move

By Andrew Keller - March 3, 2011

 

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Here is the second of our two-part “Bills on the Move” edition, tracking the final list of introduced bills that crossed the desk on Friday, February 18th. Click here to review part one of the series. A significant number of the new bills are “spot bills” intended as placeholders for legislative ideas that aren’t quite ready for primetime. The summaries below include a few spot bills from Senator Alan Lowenthal (D – Long Beach) who, as the chair of the Senate Education Committee, will likely use these placeholders to introduce one or two high-priority bills for his committee’s consideration.

 

Finance

SB 821 (Fuller R) School district reorganization: fiscal actions of newly organized or reorganized school districts.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: Under existing law, the process of school district reorganization begins with the submission of a petition that is reviewed by the county superintendent of schools and, if sufficient, forwarded to the county committee on school district organization and the State Board of Education for additional review and public hearings. The county committee on school district organization is authorized to formulate plans and recommendations for the reorganization of school districts. The reorganization, if approved by the county committee or the State Board of Education, is required to be voted upon during the next available election. The reorganization plans are also required to meet specified requirements, and the reorganization plans for school districts with more than 500,000 pupils based on average daily attendance are required to satisfy additional conditions. This bill would, with respect to a school district involved in a reorganization, as specified, require the interim or governing board of the existing school district or districts, and, where applicable, the administrators of the existing school district or districts, to notify the county superintendent of schools in writing and provide relevant documents and information no less than ten schooldays, as defined, before taking any action on any matter that could have a material fiscal impact, debt, or liability, including, but not necessarily limited to, the approval of a charter school in the existing, proposed, newly formed, or newly organized school district.

 

Curriculum & Instruction

AB 1373 (Fong D) Pupils: teen dating violence prevention.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires a school district that provides instruction to pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to provide an adopted course of study to those pupils, as specified. Existing law requires the State Board of Education to adopt content standards in certain curriculum areas. This bill would enact the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Education Act of 2011, which would authorize school districts to provide healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention education programs to pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, through curricular, extracurricular, and school climate improvement activities. The bill would authorize school districts to work in partnership with parents and caregivers and youth and community-based organizations to provide these education programs. The bill would require school districts that choose to provide healthy relationship and teen dating violence prevention education programs to use research-based materials that are appropriate for students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and for students with disabilities. The bill would encourage school districts that choose to provide healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention education programs to provide pupils with specified opportunities.

 

SB 613 (Alquist D) Instructional materials: open-source.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires the State Board of Education to adopt at least five basic instructional materials in specified subject areas for use in kindergarten and grades 1 to 8, inclusive. Existing law also requires the governing board of each school district maintaining one or more high schools to adopt instructional materials that meet specified criteria for use in the high schools under its control. This bill would require at least one-half, or one-half plus one in the case of an odd number, of the basic instructional materials adopted by the state board to be open-source instructional materials. The bill would require at least one of the instructional materials adopted by a high school governing board to be an open-source instructional material, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program. The bill would define an open-source instructional material as an instructional material that is available in a digital format, is free to view online, and may be developed in a specified manner.

 

SB 614 (Kehoe D) Child care: After School Education and Safety Program: age- and gender-appropriate self-defense and safety awareness training.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: Existing law, the After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002, enacted by initiative statute, establishes the After School Education and Safety Program to serve pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 9, inclusive, at participating public elementary, middle, junior high, and charter schools. The existing act provides a formula for determining an amount to be continuously appropriated from the General Fund to the California Department of Education for purposes of the program. Existing law requires applicants for grants pursuant to the program to certify that the program will provide opportunities for physical activity. This bill would specify that those opportunities for physical activity may include age- and gender-appropriate self-defense and safety awareness training. The bill would provide that current grant recipients that offer age- and gender-appropriate self-defense and safety awareness training programs would have priority for receiving continued funding over other current grant recipients, and qualified new applicants that offer age- and gender-appropriate self-defense and safety awareness training programs have priority for receiving funding over other new applicants that do not offer this type of program, except as specified. The bill would also provide that up to 5% of the annual grant amount for each grant recipient may be used for training program staff to provide age- and gender-appropriate self-defense and safety awareness training.

 

SB 634 (Runner R) Kindergarten: transitional kindergarten.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires that a child be admitted to kindergarten at the beginning of the school year, or at a later time in the same year if the child has his or her birthday before one of the following dates: (1) December 2 of the 2011-12 school year; (2) November 1 of the 2012-13 school year; (3) October 1 of the 2013-14 school year; or (4) September 1 of the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter. Existing law requires, as a condition of receipt of apportionments for these purposes, that a child whose admission to a traditional kindergarten is delayed be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program, as defined. This bill would delete the provisions of law relating to transitional kindergarten.


SB 699 (Runner R) Pupil instruction: graduation requirements: pupil in foster care.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires a pupil to complete specified courses while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to receive a diploma of graduation from high school. Existing law authorizes the governing board of a school district to adopt rules specifying additional coursework requirements. Existing law also provides that a school district shall exempt a pupil in foster care from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements for graduation if the pupil, while he or she is in grade 11 or 12, transfers into the district from another school district or between high schools within the district, unless the district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements in time to graduate from high school while he or she remains eligible for foster care benefits. This bill would instead provide that a school district shall exempt a pupil from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements for graduation if the pupil, while he or she is in grade 11 or 12, and while he or she is in foster care, involuntarily transfers into the district from another school district or between high schools within the district, unless the district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements in time to graduate from high school on or before his or her 18th birthday. The bill would also provide that the pupil shall not be exempt if the school will continue to enroll the pupil until his or her 19th birthday and the district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements on or before his or her 19th birthday.

 

SB 753 (Padilla D) Pupils: English learners: assessment.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires each school district that has one or more pupils who are English learners to assess the English language development of each of those pupils upon initial enrollment in order to determine the level of proficiency of those pupils and thereafter to assess each of those pupils annually until the pupil is redesignated as English proficient. The assessment primarily consists of the administration of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) that assesses pupils in grades 2 to 12, inclusive, in English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, and pupils in kindergarten and grade 1 in English listening and speaking. This bill would require the annual assessment to be conducted during a three-month test period commencing with the day upon which 65% of the instructional year is completed. The bill would require the California Department of Education to provide the score a pupil achieves on the CELDT to the parent or guardian of the pupil in English and, if available, in the language reported on the home language survey. The bill would require that the score be provided in a format that utilizes terminology that is easy to understand and includes an explanation of the purpose of the test, the pupil's score, and the intended use of that score by the school district.

 

SB 754 (Padilla D) Pupil assessment: California English Language Development Test.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: Existing law requires each school district that has one or more pupils who are English learners to assess the English language development of each of those pupils upon initial enrollment in order to determine the level of proficiency of those pupils and thereafter to assess each of those pupils annually until the pupil is redesignated as English proficient. The assessment primarily consists of the administration of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) that assesses pupils in grades 2 to 12, inclusive, in English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, and pupils in kindergarten and grade 1 in English listening and speaking. This bill would prohibit a pupil from being required to retake those portions of the CELDT that measure English language skills for which he or she has previously tested as proficient. This prohibition would not become effective until the current CELDT publisher's contract expires. The bill would also state legislative findings and declarations regarding English learners and the CELDT.

 

Facilities

SB 661 (Lieu D) Firearms: gun-free school zones.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: Existing law, subject to exceptions, provides that it is an offense for any person to possess a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, unless he or she has the written permission of the school district superintendent, his or her designee, or equivalent school authority. Existing law defines "school zone" for these purposes as an area in, or on the grounds of, a public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of the public or private school. Existing law provides an exception to the prohibition for handguns that are unloaded and either in a locked container or within the locked trunk of a motor vehicle. This bill would revise this exception to instead except from the above prohibition a handgun that is lawfully possessed, and either unloaded and in a locked container inside a motor vehicle or unloaded and inside a locked trunk of a motor vehicle. The bill would increase the size of the zone to include the area up to 1,500 feet from the grounds of the public or private school. By expanding the scope of an existing offense, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would create an exception to the school zone firearms possession prohibition for firearms that are otherwise lawfully possessed or transported in a vehicle on a driveway or parking lot of a school, as specified.

 

SB 891 (Lowenthal D) School facilities: modernization.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law, the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998, requires the State Allocation Board to allocate to applicant school districts, prescribed per-unhoused-pupil state funding for construction and modernization of school facilities, including hardship funding, and supplemental funding for site development and acquisition. Existing law makes a school district eligible to receive an apportionment for the modernization of a permanent school building that is more than 25 years old or a portable classroom that is at least 20 years old. Existing law requires the board to adopt regulations to adjust the per-pupil amounts for modernization projects for school buildings that are 50 years old or older based on the higher costs associated with modernizing older buildings. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would improve and enhance the program for modernizing school facilities.

 

Human Resources

AB 1372 (Norby R) Certificated employees: evaluation and assessment.
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires the governing board of each school district to evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to the academic progress of pupils, the instructional techniques and strategies used by the employee, the employee's adherence to curricular objectives, and the establishment and maintenance of a suitable learning environment. Existing law prohibits this evaluation and assessment from including the use of publishers' norms established by standardized tests. This bill would delete this prohibition, and instead authorize the evaluation and assessment to include the use of publishers' norms established by standardized tests.

Miscellaneous

AB 1348 (Mansoor R) Pupils: mental health screenings.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee March 22.

Summary: Existing law prohibits any employee of a school district from administering psychological tests or engaging in other psychological activities involving the application of psychological principles, methods, or procedures, except under specified conditions. Existing law states that parents and guardians of pupils enrolled in public schools have the right to receive information about any psychological testing the school conducts involving their child and to deny permission to give the test, except as specified. This bill would prohibit the governing board of each school district maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, from conducting any mental or psychological screening or testing of a minor pupil unless it uses a consent form developed by the State Department of Education to obtain the written consent of the pupil's parent or guardian not less than 45 days prior to conducting the screen or test. The bill would require a school district, in the process of obtaining the written consent of a pupil's parent or guardian, to provide the parent or guardian with access to a manual and other published information which fully describes specified information. The bill would require the department to develop the consent form, as specified, and make it available to school districts. By requiring school districts to perform additional duties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

 

AB 1362 (Nestande R) Pupil attendance: electronic attendance accounting systems.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee March 22.

Summary: Existing law requires that pupil attendance and absence be recorded for certain purposes, including meeting requirements relating to the minimum required school day and calculation of average daily attendance. Existing law requires that records of pupil attendance be kept according to specified provisions of law. This bill would authorize a local educational agency to use electronic attendance accounting systems that meet certain requirements, and that are approved by the California Department of Education, for purposes of demonstrating that pupils have satisfied the minimum instructional time requirements and for purposes of computing average daily attendance. The bill also would authorize pupil attendance records to be combined from more than one system, including manual and electronic attendance accounting systems.

 

SB 645 (Simitian D) Charter schools: charter renewal.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: The Charter Schools Act of 1992 (Charter Schools Act) specifies the procedures for the submission, review, and approval or denial of a petition to establish a charter school. The Charter Schools Act limits the duration of charters to a period not to exceed five years and authorizes the chartering authority to grant one or more subsequent renewals for an additional period of 5 years. The Charter Schools Act prescribes the requirements a charter school must meet in order to have its charter renewed, including a requirement that a charter school that has been in operation for four years satisfy at least one of several specified criteria regarding academic performance. This bill would change the criteria a charter school is required to meet in order to have its charter renewed. The bill would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to identify the charter schools that have not met the renewal criteria and notify the charter school and its authorizer. The bill would prohibit the renewal of a charter of a school that does not meet the criteria unless the State Board of Education approves the renewal. The bill would authorize a charter school that does not meet the renewal criteria but wants the state board to consider approving the renewal of its charter to submit to the Superintendent copies of supporting documentation and a written summary of the basis for its request. The bill would require the Superintendent to review the materials and recommend to the state board whether it should approve or disapprove the charter renewal.

 

SB 740 (Hancock D) Pupil assessment.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law, the Leroy Greene California Assessment of Academic Achievement Act, requires each school district, charter school, and county office of education to administer to each of its pupils in grades 2 to 11, inclusive, certain achievement tests. This bill, commencing July 1, 2012, would exclude pupils in grade 2 from the standards-based achievement test requirement and make conforming changes.

 

SB 755 (Lieu D) School safety plans.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Existing law provides that school districts and county offices of education are responsible for the overall development of a comprehensive school safety plan for each of their constituent schools. Existing law requires the school site council of a school to write and develop the school safety plan relevant to the needs and resources of the particular school. Existing law requires a school site council or school safety planning committee, before adopting a school safety plan, to hold a public meeting at the school site, as specified. Existing law requires schools to forward copies of their school safety plans to the school district or county office of education for approval. Existing law requires school districts and county offices of education annually to notify the California Department of Education regarding schools that fail to adopt a school safety plan. This bill would revise and recast those procedures. The bill would make the requirement to develop and adopt a school safety plan applicable to charter schools authorized by the governing boards of school districts or county offices of education in addition to other public schools operated by those districts or county offices. The bill also would impose various criminal penalties for school and local educational agency officers who fail to comply with the revised procedures. The bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with the school safety plan requirements of Title IV of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 with the department pursuant to the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. By requiring school and local educational agency officers to perform additional duties, and creating new crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

 

SB 827 (Lowenthal D) California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/19/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 21.

Summary: Existing law establishes the California Education Information System, which consists of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data Education System (CALTIDES). Existing law requires the California Department of Education to contract for the development of proposals that will provide for the retention and analysis of longitudinal pupil achievement data, known as CALPADS. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would improve CALPADS.

 

SB 916 (Negrete McLeod D) Sex offenses: sexting.  
Introduced: 2/18/2011
Status: 2/20/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after March 22.

Summary: Under existing law, it is a felony for a person to knowingly possess or control any matter, representation of information, data, or image that involves the use of a person under 18 years of age personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct, as defined. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to address the activity commonly referred to as "sexting" as it pertains to minors.

Editor's Note:  Andrew Keller is a Policy Consultant for K Street Consulting, LLC, a policy consulting and legislative advocacy firm.