Legislation Update - 09/08/2010

Federal Funding On the Way

In the closing hours of the Legislative session, the Legislature approved two bills that will allow the CDE to allocate more than $1.5 billion in federal funding for K-12 education.

SB 847 (Steinberg) authorizes the allocation of about $1.2 billion in one-time federal Education Jobs funding. Ninety percent of this funding will be allocated quickly (likely by October) on the basis of school district, county office of education, and charter school revenue limits. The funds may be used over the current and subsequent school year for compensation, benefits, and other expenses, including support services, that are necessary to retain existing employees, recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees at the school-level for educational and related services.

Because the state lacks a current-year budget, SB 847 is an appropriation outside the budget. Therefore, the Governor must ask the Legislature to send him the bill in order to approve the spending ahead of the budget. The Governor is expected to ask for the bill before he leaves the state for international travel next week. Education groups are sending letters to the Governor encouraging him to ask for the bill and sign it so funds can move as quickly as possible.

The CDE has posted the preliminary calculations for the amounts local educational agencies are entitled to receive based on the state’s revenue-limit formulas at http://www.cde.ca.gov/193082.

AB 185 (Buchanan) authorizes the allocation of federal SIG funding to the districts and schools whose applications were approved by the SBE last month. This program allocates more than $400 million one-time funds to these schools over a three-year period. Relatively few schools are impacted, but the level of funding for those schools is high. For example, several high schools on the list will receive nearly $2 million per year, for three years, to implement major restructuring efforts.

AB 185 also authorizes the allocation of the final installment of the federal SFSF, representing about $271 million in one-time funding for K-12 education. These funds (approximately $40 per ADA) will be allocated to offset cuts to school district and county office of education revenue limits, likely on the same basis as the prior SFSF funds were released. Districts will have three years to expend the funds. The Governor is expected to sign this bill.

Still No State Budget

The Legislature failed to approve a state budget during its last day of the regular legislative session. Legislative leaders staged a budget drill, but the votes were predictable and fell along party lines. The Democrats voted for the Conference Committee version of the budget, which rejects all the Governor's proposed cuts to K-12 education. The Republicans voted for the Governor's May Revision proposal, which contains no tax increases, but makes deep cuts (approximately $275 per ADA) to K-12 education.

While at his Wednesday press conference the Governor posited that they were “very close”, no one in the leadership of either house thinks that is true.

City of Bell Fallout Legislation

In response to recently reported abuses in the City of Bell and other public agencies, the Legislature approved a package of bills concerning executive compensation, disclosure, and final calculations for the purposes of PERS and STRS. Although the bills were approved by strong, bi-partisan votes, there remains some question as to whether the Governor will veto them because they "don't go far enough".

Of potential interest for your operation is a provision in SB 1425 (Simitian) that would prohibit a retiree from returning to work as a retired annuitant or as a contract employee for a period of 180 days after retirement. This provision would apply to individuals who retire on or after January 1, 2012. The bill also limits the compensation used in retirement calculations for members not in a group or class’ which will apply to Superintendents and some administrators.

2009-10 Legislative Session Ends

Tuesday marked the official end of the legislative session. All legislation having passed both houses of the Legislature must now be signed by the Governor within 30 days in order to become law.

Following are key education bills sent to the Governor:

AB 391 (Torlakson) Pupil assessment: STAR Program
Summary: Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to contract for a one-time independent evaluation of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program to be completed on or before November 1, 2011, specifies that the California Department of Education (CDE) use federal funds for this evaluation, and requires that these provisions become operative only if an appropriation is provided for this purpose by the Legislature. Also requires the advisory committee advising the SPI on matters involving the Academic Performance Index to advise the SPI on the evaluation of the STAR Program, and requires the SPI to appoint four additional members, educators or large-scale assessment experts, to the advisory committee for the purposes advising the SPI on the evaluation.

SB 675 (Steinberg) Partnership academies: Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention Program
Summary: This bill would require the Controller annually to allocate $8,000,000 from the Energy Resources Program Account, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for expenditure in the form of local grants to be allocated pursuant to the existing provisions for creating and maintaining partnership academies. The bill would require a grantee to implement or maintain a partnership academy that focuses on employment in clean technology businesses and renewable energy businesses and provides skilled workforces for the products and services for energy or water conservation, or both, renewable energy, pollution reduction, or other technologies.

SB 1317 (Leno) Truancy
Summary: This bill would define a chronic truant as any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuing education who is absent from school without a valid excuse for 10% or more of the schooldays in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, provided that the appropriate school district officer or employee has complied with specified provisions of law.

SB 1357 (Steinberg) California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System
Summary: This bill would require the department, contingent on federal funding for this purpose and in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst's Office, to prepare CALPADS to include data on a quarterly rate of pupil attendance. The bill would require that CALPADS be capable of issuing to local educational agencies periodic reports on district, school, class, and individual pupil rates of absence and chronic absentees, as defined.

SB 1381 (Simitian) Kindergarten: age of admission
Summary: This bill would change the required birthday for admission to kindergarten and first grade to November 1 for the 2012-13 school year, October 1 for the 2013-14 school year, and September 1 for the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter, and would require a child whose admission to a traditional kindergarten is delayed to be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program, as defined. The bill would require pupils who are participating in transitional kindergarten to be included in computing the average daily attendance of a school district in accordance with specified requirements.

SB 1425 (Simitian) Public retirement: final compensation: computation: retirees
Summary: This bill would provide that any change in salary, compensation, or remuneration principally for the purpose of enhancing a member's benefits would not be included in the calculation of a member's final compensation for purposes of determining that member's defined benefit. The bill would generally require the board of each state and local public retirement system to establish, by regulation, accountability provisions that would include an ongoing audit process to ensure that a change in a member's salary, compensation, or remuneration is not made principally for the purpose of enhancing a member's retirement benefits. This bill would revise the definition of "creditable compensation" and would limit the calculation of a member's final compensation to an amount not to exceed the average increase in compensation received within the final compensation period and the 2 preceding years by employees in the same or a related group as that member. This bill would also provide that a person who retires on or after January 1, 2012, may not perform services for any employer covered by a state or local retirement system until that person has been separated from service for a period of at least 180 days. This bill would provide for the implementation of these required changes under the laws that govern PERS and STRL.

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