The major issue facing education this year was the cuts made in education due to the downturn in the economy. These cuts are discussed in the budget section of this overview.
However, education was also the beneficiary of bond funds and one time economic stimulus funds which tended to offset the cuts. At the end of 2008, the State Allocation Board directed $727 million in Proposition 1D funds, the voter-approved bond measure of 2006, and Propositions 47 and 55, both approved in 2003 and 2004 to fund construction projects at various schools, as well as state general funds to make emergency campus repairs. This money went to 331 schools with $201 million in funds to career technical education (vocational education) programs. The career technical education grants were awarded across 18 different industry sectors for projects at high schools and other local educational facilities statewide. More than $77 million of these grants were allocated to the arts and media and another $31.4 million went to agricultural and natural resources programs.
The passage of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 made California a recipient of $4.35 billion in Race to the Top dollars. In order to receive those funds, the state has to pass eligibility requirements. In May of 2009, the United States Department of Education provided California $3.2 billion for the first phase of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (Race to the Top) (SFSF). Sixty-seven percent of California ’s latest $4.9 billion allocation helped mitigate the effects of the budget reductions made in education. The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act permits states facing budget difficulties to apply for 90% of funds during the first phase which the Governor petitioned for on August 27th, and the U.S. Department of Education granted. When added to the funds that were allocated in May, K-12 school districts have received a total of $2.9 billion in SFSF funds to backfill budget reductions made in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and higher education will have received a total of $1.5 billion for the same purpose. The second installment of SFSF funds are not scheduled to be released to the state until December 2009. However, California is not in compliance with eligibility requirements for the second phase of federal funding. Only states that permit linking student achievement data and teacher and principal data for the purposes of teacher and principal evaluation are eligible to apply for the Race to the Top funds. In October it was learned that other reforms were needed to address other federal competition criteria including:
1. Strengthening requirements that districts implement bold turnaround strategies in the bottom 5% of persistently low-performing schools, helping increase the overall quality of our state’s education system.
2. Outlining components for agreements between school districts and the state to work with local teachers unions to turn around struggling schools, helping ensure that all California students can reach our high academic standards.
3. Giving parents more freedom to choose the school that best serves their children by authorizing open enrollment for students in the lowest-performing schools, allowing them to attend any school in the state.
4. Repealing California ’s charter school cap, which is an unnecessary barrier to innovation.
5. Reinforcing a school district’s authority and ability to reward teachers who consistently do a great job improving student achievement. Locally bargained alternative pay schedules help California recruit and retain high-quality teachers and principals, highlight effective teaching practices and create incentives to improve our education system.
In the Regular Session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the following bills to address some of the reforms: SB 19 (Simitian) eliminating California’s prohibition on student and teacher data linkages (so-called data firewall); SB 680 (Romero) extending and expanding the School District of Choice Program which allows more districts to participate in the program and giving parents more options when determining which school best serves the academic needs of their children; and AB 1130 (Solorio) providing for a growth assessment and achievement model that allows schools to measure a student’s academic progress in addition to his/her overall proficiency. On August 20th, the Governor called for a special legislative session (the Fifth Extraordinary Session) to consider the further reforms needed to ensure California is in compliance with both federal eligibility requirements and competitiveness criteria. On November 3, 2009, the State Senate passed two bipartisan measures – SB 1 X5 (Romero) and SB 2 X5 (Simitian). SB 1 X5 includes provisions to implement turnaround strategies in the bottom 5% of the persistently lowest low performing schools, allow parents more freedom to choose the school that best serves their children by authorizing open enrollment for students in the lowest performing schools, reinforce a school district’s authority and ability to reward teachers who consistently do a great job improving student achievements, and repeal California’s charter school cap. At the time of this writing, these measures are at the Assembly Desk to be referred to a committee for consideration. SB 2 X5 establishes a process for reviewing and responding to requests for individual pupil data records housed in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.
On November 9, 2009, the Governor established the California State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, the first step making California eligible to compete for a share of $100 million in federal Head Start monies available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. California is expected to receive as much as $10.7 million over three years, and funding applications must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by August 1, 2010, and must include an explanation of California ’s strategy to improve coordination and collaboration among California ’s Head Start agencies, preschool programs and other early childhood education providers. The Advisory Council will plan for and ensure the application process meets federal requirements and makes the state competitive for the funds.
Other education legislation of note included SB 48 (Alquist) requiring publishers that offer textbooks for sale at California postsecondary education institutions, to the extent practicable, to make those textbooks, in whole or in part, available for sale in an electronic format by January 1, 2020; SB 123 (Liu) establishing the California Career Resources Network, an existing independent state agency, as a program within the California Department of Education; SB 147 (DeSaulnier) requiring the Trustees of the California State University (CSU), on or before January 1, 2014, to develop and implement procedures for allowing students to satisfy a general elective course requirement for purposes of admission to CSU by completing a high school career technical education course that meets criteria established by the State Board of Education (SBE), subject to the approval of the Academic Senate; SB 188 (Runner) permitting educational institutions to seek a restraining order on behalf of a student; SB 191 (Wright) providing that the application of a modified charter school funding formula does not apply to charter schools that convert to charter school on or after January 1, 2010; SB 247 (Alquist) authorizing a local governing board to use funding from the Instructional Materials Funding Realignment program; SB 312 (Romero) requiring the SBE and the State Allocation Board (SAB) to provide for live video and audio transmission of any meeting and hearings that are open to the public through a technology that is accessible to as large a segment of the public as possible; SB 334 (Ducheny) requiring the SAB to apply increases in the per pupil grant amount for new construction funding authorized by Proposition 1D (AB 127 [Nunez], Chapter 35, Statutes of 2006), to the per pupil grant amount for special day class students, as specified; SB 361 (Runner) making changes to existing law giving veterans priority registration at a CSU or California Community Colleges (CCC), by limiting priority admission to honorably discharged veterans only, and adds the California National Guard to the definition of Armed Forces; SB 471 (Romero) creates the California Stem Cell and Biotechnology Education and Workforce Development Act of 2009 to establish stem cell and biotechnology education and workforce development as a state priority and to promote stronger links among industry sectors, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and California public schools, as specified; SB 592 (Romero) authorizing a local government entity, including a county board of education, a city or a county, and authorizes a charter school to hold title to a charter school facility constructed with state funds; SB 640 (Hancock) requiring Regional Occupational Centers and Programs employer advisory boards to recommend appropriate methods for evaluating pupils enrolled in the program; SB 651 (Romero) requiring the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to submit an Annual Dropout Report to the Governor, Legislature, and SBE, beginning on or before August 1, 2011, as specified; SB 751 (Romero) streamlining the credential application process for out-of-state teachers who were prepared outside the United States and establishing requirements for local education agencies that provide test preparation courses for teachers seeking a subsequent credential; SB 4XXX (Ducheny) reducing the Proposition 98 guarantee in the current year by $7.3 billion through a mix of program reductions, deferrals and redesignation of funds and makes various statutory changes to implement these reductions for the Budget Act of 2008 and the Budget Act of 2009; SB 16XXXX (Ducheny) providing the necessary statutory changes in the area of cash management and cash deferrals relative to education in order to amend the 2009 Budget Act; AB 20 (Solorio) requiring the Department of General Services (DGS) and CSU and urges the University of California (UC) to negotiate and establish a model contract with standard contract; AB 37 (Furutani) requiring the CSU and the CCC, requests the UC, and urges independent colleges and universities, to work with their respective colleges and universities to confer honorary degrees upon persons forced to leave a public postsecondary institution as the result of the internment of the Japanese during World War II; AB 48 (Portantino) renaming the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education as the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (Bureau) within the Department of Consumer Affairs and provides the Bureau oversight and regulation of private postsecondary institutions operating in California; AB 66 (Anderson) authorizing a principal of a public or private school to issue work permits or to designate another administrator to issue work permits for pupils that attend their school; AB 81 (Strickland) providing that a foster child who changes residences pursuant to a court order or decision of a child welfare worker is immediately deemed to have met all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities; AB 167 (Anderson) exempting pupils in foster care from district graduation requirements that exceed state requirements if the pupil transfers to the district; AB 174 (Carter) streamlining the process for specified school district reorganizations; AB 343 (Saldana) enacting, until January 1, 2013, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which addresses issues experienced by children of military families who transfer schools; AB 386 (Ruskin) establishing a process whereby a public postsecondary education institution requests and receives or creates captioned format of electronic instructional materials for students with hearing impairments; AB 487 (Brownley) relaxing some of the restrictions placed on the SBE and school districts as it relates to the disposal of unusable surplus or undistributed obsolete instructional materials, and extends these provisions to include county offices of education; AB 544 (Coto) requiring the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to issue an American Indian language credential for a two-year period, upon recommendation of the tribal government of federally recognized Indian tribes in California; AB 669 (Fong) allowing entering students who currently reside in California, 19 years of age and younger who are wards of the state or who were served by California’s child welfare system may be classified as residents for tuition purposes until they have resided in the state for the minimum time needed to become residents; AB 774 (Cook) authorizing all local community college districts to charge a fee to students and employees in order to fund transportation services if specified requirements are met and applies to only those using the services; AB 851 (Brownley) simplifying calculation of school district general purpose funding (revenue limits) by consolidating four add-on formulas into two fixed adjustments; AB 870 (Huber) making it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail, to bring or process a razor blade or a box cutter, upon the grounds of, or within, any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, except as specified; AB 947 (Brownley) authorizing a community college district to charge a facilities fee to any nonresident student, in addition to the nonresident tuition fee; AB 1390 (Blumenfield) requiring a school principal or the principal’s designee to report any act involving either the possession, sale, or furnishment of a firearm, as specified, or the possession of an explosive, as specified, committed by a pupil or nonpupil on a schoolsite to the city police or county sheriff with jurisdiction over the school and the school security department or the school police department, as applicable; AB 1393 (Skinner) requesting the CCC and the UC, and requiring the CSU, in order to ensure stable housing for current and former foster youth, to give priority of campus housing to current and former foster youth with first priority for housing open for uninterrupted year-round, as specified; AB 1398 (Blumenfield) changing the definition of “technology-based materials,” for purposes of the instructional materials and testing part of the Education Code, to include the electronic equipment required to make use of those materials only if that equipment is to be used by pupils and teachers as a learning resource; AB 1463 (Smyth) allowing a pupil who has fulfilled all high school graduation requirements and is an active member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces to wear his/her dress uniform in his or her graduation ceremony; AB 56XXX (Evans) repealing the funding mechanism as a part of the July budget package for the Quality Education and Investment Act program in 2009-10 and implementing a new funding mechanism for the program in 2009-10; AB 2XXXX (Evans) providing the necessary statutory changes in the area of education in order to enact modifications to fiscal year 2008-09 and 2009-10 Budget Acts; AB 3XXXX (Evans) providing statutory changes for Proposition 98 funding for K-14 education relating to implementation of the 2009 Budget Act; AB 12XXXX (Evans) establishing the California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program to enhance retention within the California National Guard.
Vetoed education legislation included SB 84 (Steinberg) which would have provided funding for the Quality Education and Investment Act, AB 56XXX (Evans) was on this subject and enacted instead; SB 86 (Yee) which would have prohibited the CSU Board of Trustees from increasing the monetary compensation or approving payment of a bonus for any executive officer in any year in which the amount of General Fund monies appropriated to that segment is less than or equal to the amount appropriated in the immediately preceding fiscal year and requests the UC Board of Regents comply with these provisions; SB 212 (Florez) which would have allowed each school district with a high school to provide for the annual cleaning and sterilization of wrestling equipment; SB 219 (Yee) which would have revised the Whistleblowers Protection Act to treat complaints by the UC employees the same as those of CSU employees; SB 272 (Wiggins) which would have allowed school districts that choose to provide an educational counseling program to include in that program specific academic, career and vocational counseling that would have provided that professional development would have included strategies for pupils about educational and career options; SB 305 (Corbett) which would have required the State Architect’s Office to update the seismic safety inventory of school buildings, as specified; SB 520 (Pavley) which would have allowed school districts to award credit towards high school graduation for hours of community service completed by a pupil up to a maximum of the equivalent of two semesters; SB 645 (Denham) which would have declared that nothing in California law prohibits the institutions of public higher education from coordinating with the United States Armed Forces to establish training programs at military facilities; AB 1 (Monning) which would have authorized an individual program of professional growth for teachers to include courses in negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution; AB 8 (Brownley) which would have convened a working group to make findings and recommendations regarding the restructuring of California’s education finance system; AB 24 (Block) which would have required the Chancellor of the CSU to conduct a study of the feasibility of establishing a satellite program and, ultimately, an independent CSU campus, at Chula Vista; AB 132 (Mendoza) which would have specified the policies of the state in regards to federal immigration agents and the involvement of children in schools; AB 261 (Salas) which would have enhanced the confidentiality of pupil records; AB 267 (Torlakson) which would have authorized an education finance district, as defined, to impose a qualified special tax, as defined, within the district; AB 332 (Fuentes) which would have allowed school districts to provide work-based learning opportunities for pupils through existing programs such as partnership academies and regional occupational programs; AB 339 (Torres) which would have clarified that county offices of education are eligible for federal funding pursuant to state and federal law; AB 374 (Block) which would have required the SPI to produce a consequence of dropping out notice to inform pupils of the consequences of dropping out of school prior to reaching 18 years old or completing high school graduation requirements, as specified; AB 429 (Brownley) which would have required the advisory committee, that the SPI has established under current law, by January 1, 2011, to make recommendations to the SPI for the establishment of a methodology for measuring a school’s academic achievement growth and a pupil’s academic achievement growth more accurately and validly over time; AB 627 (Brownley) which would have required that child day care facilities meet specified health and nutritional requirements; AB 690 (Ammiano) which would have authorized ex officio members of the CSU Board of Trustees, except for the CSU Chancellor, to designate a non-voting representative, as specified, to attend CSU Board of Trustees meetings in the ex officio member’s absence; AB 769 (Torrico) which would have expanded priority enrollment in state preschool programs to include children who have a custodial parent who is, or who has been within the previous six months, a dependent or ward of the juvenile court; AB 836 (Torlakson) which would have established an education technology task force that is to make preliminary recommendations to the SPI on technology literacy model standards for grades 7-12; AB 1007 (Carter) which would have established a timeline by which a K-12 school district governing board must include a pupil as a member of the board, based on the current process of the submission of a pupil petition requesting such an appointment; AB 1120 (Niello) which would have required the Department of General Services to distribute information on the use of constructability reviews of plans and specifications used for the construction of school facilities and the potential for cost savings that may be realized by the use of a constructability review; AB 1222 (Lowenthal) which would have extended the sunset date on current law which permits the CSU and the UC to disclose the name, addresses, and e-mail addresses of alumni to their “affinity partners” (nonaffiliated businesses with whom the university has a contractual agreement to, among other things, offer commercial products and services to alumni), subject to specified privacy requirements; AB 1281 (Portantino) which would have enacted the California School Racial Equality Designation Act which placed an additional requirement on public schools with respect to the collection of race and ethnicity data; AB 1400 (Fong) which would have authorized a community college district, under specified circumstances, to deny or condition enrollment to an individual who has been expelled or is being considered for expulsion from a CCC for certain violent or serious offenses, as specified; AB 1435 (V. Manuel Perez) which would have required the advisory committee on matters relating to the Academic Performance Index (API) to make recommendations to the SPI concerning the inclusion of results of English language development tests and English language proficiency in the API; AB 1510 (Eng) which would have authorizes parents and guardians of English language learners to bring an oral language interpreter to conferences, meetings or proceedings held at a district building or schoolsite or sponsored by the district or school, unless doing so conflicts with state or federal law.