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Transportation, TK, Facilities Bond, Parcel Taxes and More

Education Bills Clear Legislative Committees

April 17, 2014

Several bills of interest to educators are moving through legislative committees in Sacramento. Among the bills on the move:

--SB 837, the Kindergarten Readiness Act (Steinberg, D-Sacramento). This bill would allow all four-year-olds to enroll in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) programs, the change would be phased in over five years. Proponents say that this would allow existing federal and state preschool funds to be focused on programs for low-income three-year-olds and those four-year-olds not in TK. Proponents maintain that the resulting boost in academic performance would translate into lower crime rates and higher lifetime earnings when these kindergarten students become adults. SB 837 cleared the Senate Education Committee on April 9 with six ayes, one nay, and two “no vote recorded.” The bill was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

--SB 1123 (Liu, D-La Canada/Flintridge). This bill modifies Title 5 general child care and development programs to have at least one teacher in each classroom that holds a child development teacher permit by July 1, 2019, and increases standards in the Strong Start program (which serves three- and four-year-olds). SB 1123 cleared the Senate Education Committee on April 9 with five ayes, one nay, and three “no vote recorded.” SB 1123 was re-referred to the Committee on Rules.

--AB 2235, Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2014 (Buchanan, D-Alamo and Hagman, R-Chino Hills). The bill would authorize a currently unspecified amount of general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of facilities in the K-12 schools and the higher education system. The bill cleared the Assembly Education Committee on April 9 and was referred to the Committee on Higher Education. The bill is supported by the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO).

--SB 1137, School Transportation: Apportionments (Torres, D-Pomona). This bill provides for schools to be funded at a minimum of 50 percent of approved transportation costs, thereby providing equalization funding for school districts that are reimbursed at less than 50 percent; this equalization would occur over a seven-year period beginning in 2014-15. The bill would also provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). SB 1137 cleared the Senate Education Committee on April 9 with seven ayes and two “no vote recorded.” The bill is supported by the California Association of School Business Officials, the California School Boards Association, the California Teachers Association and others; it is opposed by Charter Schools Association Advocates.

--SB 1021, School District Parcel Taxes (Wolk, D-Davis). This bill would allow school districts to apply voter-approved parcel taxes according to the square footage of the parcel (or its improvements); according to residential, multifamily residential, industrial, or commercial classification of the parcel (as long as the same rate of tax is levied on all properties of the same classification; and at a lower rate on unimproved property. The bill is essentially a response to last year’s court decision in the Borikas v. Alameda Unified case, which struck down aspects of an Alameda Unified parcel tax because the parcel tax charges were not uniform in rate. SB 1021 cleared the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 9 with five ayes and two nays. The bill is supported by the California Association of School Business Officials, the California School Boards Association, the California Teachers Association, and several school districts. The bill is opposed by several business groups, real estate groups, and anti-tax groups.

Source:  EdBrief staff