In addition to the handful of bills highlighted below, you can find a list of all the remaining active education bills we are tracking, sorted by subject area, here.
Job Posting Bill Moves Forward
AB 1699, authored by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would require school and community college employers to offer any vacancies for part-time and full-time positions with priority to current regular non-probationary classified employees who meet the minimum job qualifications of the position, or who could meet the minimum job qualifications after 10 or fewer hours of training paid for by the employer. Further, the bill would require the employer to provide all of its classified employees notice of, and instructions for applying for, any new classified position at least 10 business days before the general public is authorized to apply for the position.
The bill, which is sponsored by labor groups, was heard in the Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee last week amidst opposition from many management organizations in the education community, including the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California School Boards Association (CSBA), Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA), California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), and the School Employers Association of California (SEAC). Noting opposition testimony, some Democrats on the committee expressed concerns around the potential impacts the provisions of the bill could have on efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring practices at local educational agencies (LEAs). Several of the committee’s members urged the author to continue working with the opposition to address those concerns. Despite their comments, however, the bill passed on a 4-1 vote. It now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Driver Qualifications Bill Heavily Amended before Advancing at Deadline
SB 88, authored by Senate Budget Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Alameda) and sponsored by the California School Employees Association (CSEA), seeks to regulate student transportation drivers. The bill has been highly problematic for months as it originally imposed debilitating new standards for school drivers and eliminated 3rd party drivers at a time when staffing for school transportation has arguably never been more difficult. Hard fought lobbying by a coalition of education advocates, including Capitol Advisors, and spearheaded by ACSA and the California County Superintendents, was able to secure a commitment from the author to make significant amendments to the bill. The tentative agreement will delay implementation to 2025; remove the prohibition on independent contractors; expand the driver exemptions to address certain circumstances related to IEPs, social services, athletics, and extracurricular activities; expand the LEA employee exemption; remove minimum training hours; remove a mandated reporter requirement; and reduce marijuana testing requirements.
As this update is being written, the amendments are not yet in print, but pending confirmation, the amendments are sufficient for representatives of school districts and county offices of education to remove opposition to the bill. The California Charter Schools Association remains opposed to the bill due to the fact the bill imposes additional standards on student transportation at a time when charter schools are excluded from state transportation funding. The bill passed the Assembly Education Committee on a 5-2 vote last week and next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Both School Bond Bills Still Alive
As election season draws closer, both school bond bills continue to move, although slight differences remain between the two.
AB 247 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance) would enact the Transitional Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2024 and place a $14 billion bond before voters. The ballot on which the bond would appear remains unspecified at this time. In addition to the bond itself, the bill contains provisions related to set-asides for small school districts.
SB 28 (Glazer, D-Orinda) would enact the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2024. This bill would place a $15 billion dollar bond before voters and is currently slated for the March 2024 primary election. In a break from AB 247, SB 28 includes the University of California and California State University systems in its provisions. Keep in mind, this makes it strikingly similar to Prop 13, which was defeated by voters in March of 2020.
Both bills are continuing to move, currently pending before the Appropriations Committees in both the Senate and Assembly. Eventually, however, the authors of both bills will have to come together with the Governor’s office and hammer out some form of compromise. The politics will be something to watch in what ultimately shakes out, as Governor Newsom has a slew of priorities around environmental policy, homelessness, and mental health that he plans to ask voters to support via bonds. It remains unclear if he will support a school bond, particularly one of the size listed in either bill, at this point.
Tensions Over Instructional Materials, School Boards Remain High
Debates over school boards and their ability to remove or approve curriculum have transcended the local level and made their way to Sacramento in recent months. However, they reached a fever pitch the past several weeks when a local school board’s decision to reject Social Studies curriculum came under firefrom Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta.
Similarly, a high-profile bill is making its way through the Legislature and looks to tighten up the law around materials adoptions, insufficiency of materials, and the situations in which a school board can reject curriculum and/or instructional materials. AB 1078, authored by Assembly Member Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley), recently passed the Senate Education Committee on a partisan, 5-2 vote, and now will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
You may recall a recent update we shared detailing the provisions of the bill, but some of the key pieces of which to be aware include:
- Prohibiting a school board from prohibiting the use of an existing textbook, other instructional material, or curriculum that contains inclusive and diverse perspectives;
- Requiring a two-thirds vote to be met in order to remove a textbook or other instructional materials, outside an LEA’s regular adoption schedule;
- Requiring, by July 1, 2025, the California Department of Education to issue guidance related to how to help school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and school personnel manage conversations about race and gender, and how to review instructional materials to ensure that they represent diverse perspectives and are culturally relevant; and,
- Expanding the duties of county superintendents of schools regarding intervention when sufficient textbooks and instructional materials have not been provided by a district.
As we previously reported, it appears the language in the bill has been agreed to by the Senate, Assembly, and the author, so it could be smooth sailing to the Governor’s desk.
Bill Looking at School Funding Reform Stalls for the Year
SB 98, authored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), was a redo of his prior effort (SB 830, 2022) to try to capture the difference between enrollment funding and funding based on average daily attendance. Specifically, the bill would have provided additional LCFF funding to LEAs based on a calculation of how much additional funding the LEA would receive if the student count methodology of the local control funding formula (LCFF) was based on enrollment instead of attendance. One additional provision of note – the bill would have required that at least 30% of the additional funds be used for LEA expenditures to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy.
Although the bill was set for hearing last week, the author pulled the bill back and subsequently, the bill did not meet the deadline to move forward for the year. While unclear on the reasons for holding the bill, there are likely concerns around cost in a down budget year – it is estimated the bill would cost the state roughly $3.6 billion per year – as well as the need to continue working on other provisions of the bill. In particular, the requirement to spend 30% of the additional funding on chronic absenteeism drew concern from some in the education community. Look for that piece to be a point of negotiation going forward.
Given we are in the first year of the 2023-24 Legislative Session, we anticipate this bill will be brought back for consideration when the Legislature returns next year for the second year of session.
The Legislature is out for Summer Recess, returning Monday, August 14. From that point, they only have until September 14 to conclude their work for the year, at which time Governor Newsom will enter his 30-day sign/veto window on any bills that make it to his desk. As always, we will keep you up to date as these and other bills have their final fates decided. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any questions.
Capitol Advisors Group