Last Friday afternoon, the Legislature released SB 185 and AB 185, the two houses’ versions of the K-12 education budget clean-up bill. Essentially identical in language, these measures contain both clarifying changes and corrections to proposals funded in the 2022 Budget Act, including the transitional kindergarten (TK) expansion and the 2021-22 ADA protection language, as well as additional, new policy changes. Our team has put together a summary of the major proposed changes:
2021-22 ADA Protection
The trailer bill clarifies the average daily attendance (ADA) protection requirements for school districts and county offices of education (COEs) for the 2021-22 school year. Recall that school districts and COEs may utilize this ADA protection for 2021-22 only, so long as they certify meeting certain requirements related to IS. Specifically, the trailer bill makes the following changes to those requirements:
- Requires school districts and COEs to have offered Independent Study (IS) to all students for the 2021-22 school year (and notified parents of that option) by November 1, 2021 (previously October 1).
- Requires school districts and COEs, no later than November 1, 2021, to have adopted written policies for IS and have verifiable documentation that they offered live interaction and synchronous instruction, or have pupil work product that is equivalent to in-person instruction.
- Deletes the requirement that IS be offered to students who were subject to quarantine.
The trailer bill also states that if a school district or COE received an IS waiver by June 15, 2022, or if it entered into a contract with a COE or an inter-district transfer agreement for the offering of IS, then that LEA shall be deemed in compliance with these requirements.
The trailer bill also extends the date by which the California Department of Education (CDE) must provide a certification form for school districts and COEs to certify their compliance with these requirements, to October 11, 2022 (previously September 30).
CTE Graduation Requirement Extension
Existing law requires each pupil completing grade 12 to satisfy certain requirements as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation from high school. These requirements include the completion of designated coursework in grades 9 to 12, including the completion of one course in visual or performing arts, foreign language, or, commencing with the 2012–13 school year, career technical education (CTE). The authorization for CTE to count toward that graduation requirement expired on July 1, 2022.
The trailer bill extends this authorization to July 1, 2027.
In addition, if a pupil completed a CTE course that met that graduation requirement between July 1, 2022 and the operative date of the trailer bill, the bill requires the course to be deemed to have fulfilled that requirement.
COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Extension
As you may recall, SB 114 (Chapter 4, Statutes of 2022) from earlier this year required employers with 26 or more employees to provide full-time employees with 40 hours of supplemental COVID-19 sick leave, with an option for an additional 40 hours with proof of a positive COVID-19 test. SB 114 provided that this leave would expire on September 30, 2022. SB 136 and AB 152, which are identical in their provisions, would extend the availability of this supplemental COVID-19 leave through December 31, 2022. The bills also provide that an employer is not required to provide the additional 40 hours of leave an employee is entitled to upon testing positive for COVID-19 if the employee refuses to submit to the diagnostic testing required under the bill.
The trailer bill adds a new section to the Education Code that would establish a formal procedure for when a school employer, defined as a school district, COE, or charter school, determines that one of its employees has received an overpayment of wages. Under the new procedure, the school employer would be required to notify the employee of the overpayment and provide an opportunity for the employee to respond before beginning recoupment actions. The bill also establishes the ways by which reimbursement to the employer may be made by the employee, to be mutually agreed to by the employer and the employee. If mutual agreement cannot be reached, installment payments through payroll deduction is established as the default recoupment method.
Teacher Residency Grant Program – School Counselor Capacity Grants
The 2022 Budget provided $184 million to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to support teacher and school counselor residency programs. This trailer bill authorizes the CTC to allocate up to $10 million of that funding for capacity grants for this purpose. Capacity grants cannot exceed $250,000 and would go out to LEAs or consortia partnering with institutions of higher education to create school counselor residency programs.
Classified Employee Layoff Procedures – Right to Representation
Last year’s AB 438 (Chapter 665, Statutes of 2021) extended the same layoff notice and hearing procedures that apply to certificated staff to classified staff. The trailer bill clean-up adds language to allow an employee to be represented during layoff proceedings by an attorney or a non-attorney representative of the employee organization designated as the exclusive representative of the employee’s classification.
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Expansion Clean-up
The Universal TK expansion contained various requirements for school districts and charter schools to receive funding. As a reminder, those requirements included:
- Maintaining an average TK class enrollment of not more than 24 pupils for each schoolsite
- Commencing with the 2022-23 school year, maintaining an average of at least 1 adult for every 12 pupils in TK classrooms (shifts to a 1:10 ratio beginning 2023-24)
- Requiring TK teachers first assigned to a TK classroom after July 1, 2015, to demonstrate their qualifications to teach in an early childhood environment by August 1, 2023 – this can be accomplished by meeting one of a suite of qualifications options (24 semester units in early childhood education, for example)
The trailer bill contains various clarifications and definitions as they pertain to these requirements, and the funding penalties for school districts and charter schools that fail to meet them. Specifically, the bill clarifies how class size and adult-to-pupil ratio should be defined for purposes of calculating the LCFF for TK. It further clarifies CDE authority on expanded learning wrap for TK, using State Preschool contracts. The bill also further explains how the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) will calculate fiscal penalties for failing to meet the above-mentioned requirements.
The trailer bill also contains clarifications pertaining to the TK Planning and Implementation Grant Program:
- Provides funds must be expended by June 30, 2026
- Specifies how funds should be awarded and spent; and
- Requires LEAs to provide program data to CDE.
California State Preschool Program
In addition to expanding access to TK to all four-year-olds by 2025-26, the state continues to look at how it can serve all young children via a mixed delivery system. To that end, SB/AB 185 contains the implementation language for a statewide stakeholder workgroup, convened by the SPI, and in consultation with Department of Social Services (DSS), that will provide recommendations to the Legislature and Department of Finance (DOF) on increasing access to high-quality universal preschool programs for three- and four-year olds. The workgroup shall be established no later than December 1, 2022, and must provide a report with these recommendations to the Legislature and DOF by January 15, 2023.
The trailer bill also makes minor and clarifying changes around state preschool eligibility. Specifically, the bill clarifies that a full-day program may provide services to children in families whose income is no more than 15 percent above the income eligibility threshold after all eligible three- and four-year-old children have been enrolled.
Finally, for programs leading to the issuance of new PK-3 early childhood education specialist credentials, the trailer bill clarifies that the mentor teacher must have at least three years of teaching experience in prekindergarten, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, or any of grades 1 to 3, and hold a clear multiple subject credential.
Alternative Design-Build Contracts
The trailer bill contains language that establishes an alternative design-build contract process, as specified, for school facilities projects over $5 million until January of 2029. The language defines alternative design-build as a project delivery process in which both the design and the construction of the project are procured from a single design-build entity based on its proposed design cost, general conditions, overhead and profit as a component of the project. Initially, this language was included in AB 902 (O’Donnell) which was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee in early August.
The 2022 Budget Act included additional ongoing funding to reimburse LEAs for up to 60% of their transportation costs in the prior year. This trailer bill makes a number of changes to this additional pot of funding, including:
- Specifying how expenditures will be reported for certain types of districts,
- Clarifying that an LEA’s prior year LCFF transportation add-on should be used to calculate funding within this pot
- Clarifying that school districts and COEs that provide transportation services through a joint-powers agreement, a cooperative pupil transportation program, or a consortium shall receive reimbursements from this pot,
- Removing the requirement for the SPI to adopt regulations for the program.
Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant
The trailer bill requires CDE to develop an expenditure report for Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant allocations by June 30, 2023. LEAs are required to use this template for the grant’s interim and final reporting requirements and to publicly post these expenditure reports on their website.
Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P)
The trailer bill includes the following changes and clarifications to the ELO-P program:
- Provides that an LEA in Tier I shall receive at least three years of funding upon becoming eligible for funding under that Tier, even if they do not meet the eligibility threshold after the initial year. If an LEA fails to meet the Tier I eligibility threshold for four consecutive years, they would no longer be eligible for funding under that tier. For purposes of the 2022-23 school year, Tier I includes LEAs with an unduplicated pupil percentage of 75% or higher.
- Removes the requirement that a program’s required operation during at least 30 non-schooldays occur during intersessional periods.
- Clarifies that the requirement to provide programing for at least 30 non-schooldays includes extended school year days provided pursuant to Education Code 56345(b)(3).
- Defines “non-schooldays” for purposes of ELO-P.
District of Choice Extension
The trailer bill extends the Districts of Choice program, which was set to sunset on July 1, 2023, an additional 5 years, until July 1, 2028. It also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) to do a comprehensive analysis of the program by September 30, 2026.
2021-22 Kitchen Infrastructure Funding Reporting
The 2021 Budget Act provided $120 million for grants to LEAs to use on kitchen infrastructure upgrades that will increase pupil access to, or improve the quality of, fresh and nutritious school meals. As a condition of receiving this funding, LEAs are required to report to CDE how the funding was used to improve the quality of school meals or increase participation in subsidized school meal programs. The trailer bill extends the date by which this reporting must occur by an additional year, to June 30, 2024.
Educator Workforce Investment Grants (EWIG)
The Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG) Program provides competitive grants to fund professional learning opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals across the state in designated areas of need. The 2022 Budget Act provided $20 million for EWIG grants in the areas of special education and English learners and an additional $15 million for grants in computer science.
While previous grants under this program had gone out to institutions of higher learning or nonprofit organizations, the trailer bill would now require these grants to go out to a COE or a consortium of COEs with expertise in developing and providing professional learning to teachers and paraprofessionals in K-12 public schools. The bill also provides that an applicant COE can submit an application in partnership with one or more institutions of higher learning or nonprofit organizations.
The Legislature is set to adjourn the 2021-22 legislative session this Wednesday, August 31. The Senate Budget Committee held its hearing on the bill yesterday and the Assembly Budget Committee held its hearing this morning. However, with the 72-hour rule requiring bills to be in print for 72-hours prior to receiving their final vote on the floor, these measures are not expected to be amended prior to their expected passage by Wednesday.
Once passed, the Governor will have until September 30th to sign any bills still on his desk. As a bill related to the budget, the clean-up measure will take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
Please let us know if we can provide any additional information.
Legislative Counsel | Capitol Advisors Group