Key education proposals are approaching their first do-or-die moment of the 2023–24 legislative year. April 28 marks the first policy committee deadline, the date by which all “fiscal bills” (those requiring an appropriation of funds) must pass out of their assigned policy committees and move to the Appropriations Committee in order to move forward. Non-fiscal bills are granted a little more time, with a deadline of May 5.
Two CSBA-sponsored bills have already cleared this hurdle with another expected to pass this week: Assembly Bill 417 (Bennett, D-Ventura), which would increase county boards of education’s authority to appoint a student school board member, sailed through its policy committee hearings and approval on the Assembly floor and has moved on to the Senate. AB 483 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance), cleared the Assembly Health Committee on March 21 and is now waiting to be considered in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This bill would expand access to school-based health and mental health services by increasing funding available to support student support services by improving and streamlining the Medi-Cal Local Education Agency Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA BOP). AB 1023 (Papan, D-San Mateo), which would authorize LEAs to use discretionary funding provided under the Arts, & Music and Instructional Materials Discretionary Block Grant for cybersecurity purposes, is awaiting consideration by the Assembly Education Committee on April 26 and is expected to pass.
A fourth CSBA-sponsored bill, Senate Bill 645 (Ochoa-Bogh, R-Yucaipa), unfortunately will not be moving forward this year. The bill, which would allow small school districts to hire the appropriate number of administrators based upon school size and help small districts better meet the needs of their students, teachers, staff and the greater school community, was made a two-year bill. It will not move forward in 2023 but may return next year.
Other major proposals moving forward include:
- AB 247 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance) and SB 28 (Glazer, D-Orinda): Two bills that would each place bonds on the ballot in 2024 to fund education facilities construction and modernization. CSBA Position: Support. Awaiting consideration by the Appropriations Committee in their respective houses.
- AB 897 (McCarty, D-Sacramento): Would reduce the threshold for a part-time probationary employee to be deemed to have served a complete school year if the employee has served 75 percent of a 60 percent short-term position. CSBA Position: Oppose. Awaiting consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- SB 274 (Skinner, D-Berkeley): Would prohibit the suspension or expulsion of any student in grades K-12 for disrupting school activities or for willful defiance of school personnel and prohibit the suspension or expulsion of a student due to being absent from school activities. Would preserve the ability of a teacher to suspend any pupil from class for the day of the suspension and the following day for willful defiance and disrupting school activities. CSBA Position: Support if Amended. Awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.
Two high profile bills on school vouchers were held back and will not be moving forward:
- Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 & SB 292 (Grove, R-Bakersfield): Would establish a system of school vouchers in California by creating a fund that initially makes $17,000 available per student annually in Education Savings Accounts (ESA) for private school tuition and would change how the minimum education funding guarantee is calculated by changing the definition of “average daily attendance” to include all children enrolled in public schools and all children who are eligible to enroll in public schools but have chosen to fund their kindergarten, elementary, or secondary education with an ESA. CSBA Position: Oppose. Failed in the Senate Education Committee.
As the legislative session continues, CSBA will continue to provide updates on these and other education proposals as well as opportunities for advocacy.