May 19 was the Legislature’s deadline for fiscal committees to pass out bills introduced in their house. This means that the respective Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees had to dispense with their suspense files. CSBA-sponsored legislation sailed through this most recent legislative gauntlet on May 18.
The suspense file compiles bills with a price tag of over $150,000 so the Legislature can consider them in bulk and assess their fiscal impact as a whole. Suspense hearings provide a singular opportunity to address bills with significant financial price tags and even some politically difficult measures. Ultimately, less fortunate legislation was “held on suspense,” meaning the bill will die in the Appropriations Committee.
Bills fortunate to move on now head to the respective floors of the Assembly and Senate, where legislators will have until June 2 to pass all measures. Because this is the first year of the two-year legislative session, if bills fail, then they are dead for the year and typically become “two-year” bills that can be taken up again in January 2024.
Three CSBA bills were among those that survived the process and will now move on to floor votes of the full Senate and Assembly:
- Assembly Bill 483 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance): Would increase funding for and expand access to school-based health and mental health services and streamlining the Local Education Agency Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA BOP).
- Senate Bill 551 (Portantino, D-Glendale): Would enhance the collaboration between county mental health agencies and school districts by requiring at least 20 percent of a county mental health board’s membership to be employed by an LEA and at least 20 percent to be individuals who are 25 years of age or younger, with scaled requirements based on county size.
- SB 765 (Portantino): Would waive the 180-day mandatory waiting period LEAs must observe before hiring a recently retired teacher and increase the maximum grant award for the Teacher Residency Grant Program from $25,000 to $40,000 per teaching candidate.
The majority of the education bills on the committees’ dockets are also moving forward, with a few notable exceptions. The following key results are from last week’s hearings, listed by issue area.
Funding & Finance
- AB 247 (Muratsuchi): Would place a state general obligation bond measure of an unspecified amount on the 2024 statewide ballot to fund TK-12 and community college education facilities construction and modernization. CSBA Position: Support. Result: Passed with amendments to specify the dollar amount for the bond, likely $14 billion, and additional technical and clarifying amendments.
- AB 938 (Muratsuchi): Would establish Local Control Funding Formula funding target levels for the 2030–31 fiscal year and express the Legislature’s intent to use the funds to increase the salaries of classified and certificated staff working at school sites. CSBA Position: Tracking. Result: Passed.
- SB 28 (Glazer, D-Orinda): Would authorize a $15 billion bond measure for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, community college, University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) facilities to be placed on the March 2024 primary election ballot. CSBA Position: Support. Result: Passed.
- SB 98 (Portantino): Beginning in 2023–24, would authorize LEAs to apply to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for supplemental funding equal to the difference of LCFF base funding between their average daily attendance and their enrollment, as defined in the bill. At least 30 percent of the supplemental funding is required to be spent to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy to improve attendance, regardless of whether the LEA is experiencing chronic absenteeism among its students. The supplemental funding is also subject to an ongoing maintenance of effort equal to the expenditures on staff in 2019–20 for efforts to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy. CSBA Position: Oppose unless amended. Result: Passed.
- AB 715 (Dahle, R-Bieber): Would establish the Rural Education Task Force to provide assistance and advice to the Superintendent of Public Instruction on the needs of rural schools, including transportation costs, facilities, special education and qualified staffing. The task force would include members from various groups, including parents, school administrators and charter school leaders. CSBA Position: Support. Result: Passed with amendments to designate California Department of Education as the task force’s lead agency.
Labor & Human Resources
- 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. Result: Passed with amendments to limit application to adult education programs.
- AB 1699 (McCarty): Would require LEAs to offer open classified staff positions to existing staff first, including a requirement to provide on-the-job training to an interested existing classified staff person if they are unqualified for the position, before making the position open to the general public. CSBA Position: Oppose. Result: Passed with amendments to limit the required training that must be offered.
- AB 383 (Zbur, D-West Hollywood): Would modify the California School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program (CSETCP) to require an LEA receiving CSETCP grant funds to provide a participating classified employee with a leave of absence of up to 600 hours to complete a teacher training program, wage replacement for that leave of absence, and benefits during that absence. The bill specifies that the grant administrator, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, is to use CSETCP grant funds to pay LEAs to provide wage replacement and benefits. CSBA Position: Oppose unless amended. Result: Passed with amendments to make implementation contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act.
- SB 433 (Cortese, D-San Jose): Would delete a school district’s authority to make the ultimate disciplinary action against a classified staff person by placing it into the hands of an impartial third-party hearing officer and require districts to fund the associated costs of obtaining that ruling. CSBA Position: Oppose. Result: Passed with amendments to clarify that the bill’s requirements apply to disciplinary decisions, not initial decisions, maintain the existing appeals process for peace officers and make other clarifying changes.
Kindergarten & TK
- AB 1192 (McCarty): Would eliminate the budget contingency language associated with the 1:10 teacher-to-student ratio requirement for transitional kindergarten, thereby mandating all LEAs to institute the ratio in the 2025–26 school year despite a lack of additional funding for TK facilities and an ongoing staffing shortage; requiring LEAs to provide professional development to a teacher aide assigned to a TK classroom; and permitting a 4-year old child who turns 5 during the summer months following the school year to enroll in TK. CSBA Position: Oppose unless amended. Result: Passed.
- SB 767 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park): Beginning with the 2024–25 school year, would require a child to have completed one year of a public or private kindergarten program before that child may be admitted to the first grade. CSBA Position: Disapprove. Result: Held in committee. Made a two-year bill.
Health & Wellness
- SB 234 (Portantino): Would require schools to maintain unexpired doses of naloxone hydrochloride or another opioid antagonist onsite. CSBA Position: Support. Result: Passed with amendments to add co-authors.
- SB 509 (Portantino): Would require LEAs, on or before July 1, 2027, to certify to the CDE that 75 percent of its classified and certificated employees who have direct contact with pupils at each school have received specified youth behavioral health training. CSBA Position: Oppose unless amended. Result: Passed.
- SB 691 (Portantino): Would require LEAs serving students in kindergarten to grade 2 to annually screen students for risk of dyslexia using state-approved instruments, unless objected to in writing by a student’s parent or guardian, beginning in the 2024 –25 school year. CSBA Position: Tracking. Result: Held in Committee. Made a two-year bill. A similar proposal was included as part of Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revision.
- SB 88 (Skinner, D-Berkeley): Would impose new requirements on drivers who provide transportation services on a contracted basis to students, including volunteers and parents. Requirements would include a background check, a valid California driver’s license for the appropriate class of vehicle (including a commercial license for some vehicles), a minimum of completed training hours and a medical exam. CSBA Position: Oppose. Result: Passed.
- AB 579 (Ting, D-San Francisco): Would require, commencing Jan. 1, 2035, all newly purchased or contracted school buses to be zero-emission vehicles, where feasible. In situations where an LEA determines this goal is not feasible due to both terrain and route constraints, the bill authorizes an LEA to request a one-time extension for five years, to be reviewed by the California Air Resources Board in consultation with CDE. CSBA Position: Oppose unless amended. Result: Passed.
CSBA advocates will continue to work with the Legislature on these bills and many other educational measures being considered, and will continue to keep members up to date on the latest developments and advocacy opportunities.