On August 26, 2021, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees acted on hundreds of bills that had been held on the suspense file due to their significant fiscal impacts. Bills are generally held on the suspense file before each fiscal deadline to allow the respective house to evaluate the total impact the proposed policies can have on the state. For the bills that moved out of suspense, they now head over to the Assembly Floor or Senate Floor for a final vote.

The legislative session ends on September 10, 2021, and bills that continue to proceed with the corresponding approval vote threshold will head to Governor Newsom’s desk. The governor will have until October 10, 2021, to sign or veto legislation.

It’s important to highlight one particular bill that continues to make it through the process, AB 438 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D – District 47), which would require a school or community college district to provide written layoff notice(s) to the governing board and affected classified employee(s) no later than March 15. The bill would authorize a classified employee to request a hearing to determine if there is cause for not re-employing for the ensuing year.

The bill would express the intent of the Legislature in enacting the bill to provide classified school employees with the same rights to notice and hearing with respect to layoffs as is provided to certificated employees of school districts, including teachers and administrators, and academic employees of community college districts. If, after January 1, 2021, the Legislature provides certificated or academic employees with any additional rights to notice or hearing as to layoffs, the bill would require the respective classified employees to be afforded the same rights by their local education agency (LEA).

CASBO, alongside education management organizations, continues to oppose AB 438 because it limits LEAs’ ability and fiduciary responsibility to make informed budgetary decisions that focus on ensuring the best services and support systems are available to meet the needs of students.

Before the Senate votes on this bill, we urge you to contact your senator and inform them:

  • AB 438 would eliminate any remaining flexibility LEAs have to make accurate personnel decisions and preserve jobs once they have a clearer picture of state funding and enrollment for the coming school year.
  • AB 438 would force LEAs to determine which support staff to retain three months before the state budget passed.
  • AB 438 would exacerbate the disruption and uncertainty that the March 15 deadline already creates during difficult budget years.

Read Opposition Letter         Find Your State Senator

Bills That Stalled

AB 22 (McCarty): Childcare: preschool programs and transitional kindergarten: enrollment: funding. This bill would expand eligibility for transitional kindergarten (TK) incrementally to achieve universal TK eligibility, adds specific requirements for TK and identifies a funding stream.
Amendments: The amendments would specify an incentive allocation of 14.5%.
CASBO Position: Support if amended

AB 388 (Medina): Certificated school employees: probationary employees. This bill would require a certificated employee of a school district or county superintendent of schools, regardless of the average daily attendance of the school district or county superintendent of schools, who completes two consecutive school years and is so re-elected, to become, and be classified as, a permanent employee.
CASBO Position: Oppose

Active Bills

AB 898 (Lee): Criminal records: automatic conviction record relief. This bill would require the Department of Justice, in cases where probation has been transferred, to electronically submit notice of conviction record relief to both the transferring court and any subsequent receiving court. This bill would also amend Penal Code Section 1203.425, which excludes a court from disclosing information concerning a conviction granted relief to any person or entity, in any format, except to the person whose conviction was granted relief or a criminal justice agency.

Penal Code Section 1203.425 in its current form prohibits a superior court from disseminating records to the Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CTC) and LEAs where a conviction has been dismissed. Without the ability to access conviction information, LEAs and the CTC cannot fulfill their legal duty to evaluate whether volunteers and prospective or current educators with convictions are fit to serve among students in public schools.
Location: Senate Floor
CASBO Position: Oppose unless amended

SB 4 (Gonzalez): Communications: California Advanced Services Fund: Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program: surcharges. This bill would extend the California Advanced Services Fund from December 31, 2026, to December 31, 2032, increase the annual surcharge collection limit from $66 million per year to $150 million per year, and revise the surcharge collection methodology by the California Public Utilities Commission. This bill will enable the state to continue funding broadband infrastructure and adoption projects after federal funding expires.
Location: Assembly Floor
CASBO Position: Support

SB 270 (Durazo): Public employment: labor relations: employee information. This bill, commencing July 1, 2022, would authorize an exclusive representative to file a charge of an unfair labor practice with the Public Employment Relations Board, as specified, alleging a violation of the above-described requirements only if specified conditions are met, including that the exclusive representative gives written notice of the alleged violation and that the public employer fails to cure the violation. The bill would limit a public employer’s opportunity to cure certain violations.
Location: Assembly Floor
CASBO Position: Oppose

SB 488 (Rubio): Teacher credentialing: reading instruction. This bill would authorize candidates who have been unable to take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) due to the COVID-19 pandemic to take a CTC-approved assessment in reading instruction, and requires the CTC to update the Teaching Performance Assessment to replace the RICA by July 1, 2025. This bill also requires the CTC to revise their teacher preparation program standards and teaching performance expectations for literacy.
Location: Assembly Floor
CASBO Position: Support

SB 556 (Dodd): Street light poles, traffic signal poles: small wireless facilities attachments. This bill would require street light poles and traffic signal poles owned by a local government or local publicly owned electric utility to be made available for the placement of small wireless facilities, outlines the rates and fees that may be imposed for such use of these poles, and establishes the processes for reviewing and responding to requests for placing these facilities on these poles.
Location: Governor’s Desk
CASBO Position: Support

View the full list of education-related legislative proposals.

In Other News

The California Safe Schools for All team has released the following updates:

Resources to Support Safe and Successful Schools

The team created a presentation to provide school stakeholders with real-time information to support communications, planning and implementation. Topics include:

  • What has and has not changed with the Delta variant
  • Key patterns regarding COVID-19 and schools in the last month
  • Support and resources for vaccines, testing and outbreak response
  • Quarantines, testing and staffing challenges

The PowerPoint slides are available for direct download, or you may access them via the Safe Schools for All Hub. You may also view the California Department of Education’s “Safe and Successful Schools Webinar” from August 25, 2021.

Quarantines and Independent Study

In responding to questions regarding independent study during quarantines, the team has created the following message:

“Public schools may use independent study to serve students during quarantine. The Administration and Legislature are working on clean-up legislation to ensure that local educational agencies are funded for independent study provided while a student is quarantined, beginning on day one of the quarantine.”

Updates to the K-12 Schools Guidance

Yesterday, September 1, 2021, the California Department of Public Health released updated COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, which is also posted on the Safe Schools for All Hub.

The updated guidance provides the following changes:

  • Clarifies revisions were made to Section 8 on modified quarantine to confirm the setting of exposure can be outdoors or indoors;
  • Clarifies revisions were made to Section 9 to confirm that this section applies to students in either modified or standard quarantine; and
  • Adds Section 16 to address school-based extracurricular activities, including school-based sports.