On July 5, 2021, the education budget trailer bill was put into print as AB/SB 130. The Senate and Assembly Budget Committees will hear the bill today, and the floor vote is expected on Thursday.

The trailer bill, among other things, authorizes Universal Transitional Kindergarten, Expanded Learning programs, Special Education Preschool and the Educator Effectiveness Block Grant; expands many existing programs, including the California Community Schools Partnership Program and various educator pipeline programs; amends the Independent Study statute; and makes major changes to the Local Control Funding Formula.

We will provide a full summary of the trailer bill language in an upcoming NewsBreak. In the meantime, a summary of the anticipated changes to the independent study program and an update on the unemployment insurance rate are provided.

Independent Study Provisions (California Education Code Section 51745; pp. 232-254)

For the 2021-22 school year, local education agencies (LEAs) are required to offer an independent study option for families who determine that in-person instruction would put the pupil’s health at risk. This can include entering into a contract with a county office of education or by entering into an interdistrict transfer agreement with another school district.


School districts and county offices of education may seek a waiver to offer independent study for the 2021-22 school year if they meet both of the following conditions:

  1. Offering non-classroom based independent study would create an unreasonable fiscal burden on the LEA, and
  2. The school district does not have the option to enter into an interdistrict transfer agreement with another school district or contract with a county office of education.

Board Policies

Requires an LEA to adopt and implement policies to:

  • require a level of satisfactory educational progress that would allow a student to remain in an independent study program;
  • provide content aligned to grade level standards and equivalent to in-person instruction;
  • provide procedures for tiered re-engagement for students who are not generating attendance for three or more school days, or 60% of instructional days in a school week; or who are violating the independent study agreement;
  • provide a plan for specified synchronous instruction requirements by grade level; and
  • provide a plan to transition students when families wish to return to in-person instruction.


  • “Live interaction” means interaction between the pupil and LEA classified or certificated staff, and may include peers, provided for the purpose of maintaining school connectedness, including, but not limited to, wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services and instruction. This interaction may take place in person or in the form of internet or telephonic communication.
  • “Synchronous instruction” means classroom-style instruction, or designated small-group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person or in the form of internet or telephonic communications, involving live two-way communication between the teacher and pupil.

Instruction Requirements

  • TK to Grade 3: daily synchronous instruction
  • Grades 4 to 8: daily live interaction and weekly synchronous instruction
  • Grades 9 to 12: weekly synchronous instruction


  • Written independent study agreements must be signed before a student commences an independent study course.
  • Electronic signatures are allowable for auditing purposes.
  • Documentation of live and synchronous instruction is required for each school day.
  • Includes amended requirements to school closures for unanticipated events or natural disasters to include a plan for independent study.
  • Makes similar changes to the course-based independent study program.

Unemployment Insurance

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, the Legislature passed AB1 38 (Employment: health care benefits: unemployment insurance: policies and practices). Section 8 (pp. 20-21) of the bill amends Unemployment Insurance Code Section 823 to set the School Employees Fund rate to 0.5% instead of 1.23% for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, and for the subsequent fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.


AB/SB 130 Education Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill

AB/SB 129 Budget Bill Jr.

Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee – July 7 Agenda

Assembly Budget Committee – July 7 Agenda

Assembly Budget Committee – July 7 Analyses Packet