UPDATE: Start time, charter school bills advance on fiscal deadline day

10 Jul
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Updated Wed., July 10, 4:00 p.m.

Today (July 10) marks the deadline for policy committees in both the Senate and Assembly to meet to hear all fiscal bills, while Friday, July 12 is the deadline to hear non-fiscal bills. Senate Bill 328 (Portantino), the CSBA-opposed school start time bill, and charter school bills AB 1505 (O’Donnell) and AB 1507 (Smith) have all advanced after the conclusion of Senate and Assembly Education Committee hearings this afternoon.

Update 3:55 pm: AB 1505 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), Charter school petitions: PASSED Senate Education Committee with four “Aye” votes and three “No” votes – the bill will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

CSBA remains closely engaged on AB 1505 – which was amended on July 5 and remains a work in progress – as it continues to move through the Legislature. Many of the recent amendments reflect the priorities of Gov. Newsom, and several recommendations made by CSBA’s Charter Schools Task Force in its 2018 “Uncharted Waters report are now reflected in the most recent bill language – including more time for districts to act on a charter petition and consideration of impact on similar district programs, and elimination of changes to a petition during an appeal process.

As originally proposed, AB 1505 would have eliminated the authority of county boards to authorize a charter school petition. After input from CSBA and other groups, the bill was amended to restore county board authority to approve a petition for charter schools that serve county students.

Among other amendments, the most recent version of the bill:

  • Includes a two-year moratorium on non-classroom-based charters.
  • Allows denial of a petition if the authorizing board finds the charter would not serve community interests (defined as whether the charter would undermine existing services or duplicate an existing program with sufficient capacity).
  • Allows denial of a petition based on fiscal impact, if the approval would result in a negative certification for the district, or if the district currently has a negative interim certification or is in receivership.
  • Stipulates that, in the year prior to seeking renewal, the charter provide the authorizing district with data on students enrolling and disenrolling.
  • Outlines differentiated renewal tracks based on the charter’s performance.
  • Allows State Board of Education review of a denial for “abuse of discretion.”

CSBA has a “Support if Amended” position on AB 1505 and continues to work with the authors and key stakeholders on the bill’s provisions.

Update 3:55 pm: AB 1507 (Smith, D-Santa Clarita), Charter school location: PASSED Senate Education Committee with four “Aye” votes and three “No” votes – the bill will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Also consistent with recommendations made by CSBA’s Charter Schools Task Force in the “Uncharted Waters” report, AB 1507 would prohibit a charter school from locating outside the geographic boundaries of the authorizing school district. CSBA Position: Support

3:10 pm: Senate Bill 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge), School start times: PASSED Assembly Education Committee with four “Aye” votes, one “No” vote and two members abstaining. The bill will now go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 328 would prohibit all non-rural middle and high schools in the state from starting the regular school day before 8:00 a.m (middle schools) or 8:30 a.m. (high schools). CSBA opposes SB 328, as the decision regarding school start times should be made locally, based on the needs of students and families in individual communities.

3:05 pm: Senate Bill 419 (Skinner, D-Berkeley), Willful defiance: PASSED Assembly Education Committee with five “Aye” votes and two “No” votes. The bill will now go to the Assembly Floor.

After originally adopting a position of “Support if Amended” on this student discipline bill addressing the issue of willful defiance, CSBA now supports SB 419.

As originally introduced, SB 419 would have eliminated the ability of schools to suspend students in grades 4-8 for willful defiance, and would also have eliminated the ability of schools to suspend students in grades 9-12 for the same offense (but only until January 1, 2025).

As amended July 3, SB 419 would eliminate the ability of schools to suspend students in grades 1-5 for willful defiance, and would also eliminate the ability to also suspend students in grades 6-8 for the same offense until 2024. Language removing the ability of schools to suspend high school students (grades 9-12) for willful defiance was removed from the bill on July 3, reflecting a key amendment sought by CSBA.

CSBA has long supported finding alternatives for suspending and expelling students. However, by wholly deleting one of the “tools” in the list of actions available to addressing student behavior without providing another alternative or training to address student behavior inevitable hamstrings teachers and administrators in dealing with disciplinary matters. CSBA Position: Support.

Looking ahead:

Upon adjournment on Friday, July 12, the Legislature will stand in summer recess until August 12. Appropriations committees in both houses will meet later in August to hear their respective suspense files, determining which bills requiring an appropriation of funds will move forward to the floor and which will not advance in 2019.

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