Today, March 16, 2020, Governor Newsom requested and the Legislature adopted emergency legislation to amend the 2019 Budget Act and appropriate $500 million for disaster response to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with additional authority for the state to provide a total appropriation of $1 billion.

For local educational agencies (LEA), the legislation will provide $100 million to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to be distributed on the basis of average daily attendance generated by local educational agencies that provide a classroom-based educational program to students after March 4, 2020 and before June 30, 2020. The funds are to be used to purchase personal protective equipment, or to pay for supplies and labor related to cleaning school sites, or both. An eligible LEA will receive no less than $250 per school site.

For local educational agencies, AB 117/SB 117 will enact the following statutory changes:

    • Expresses the intent of the Legislature that a local educational agency receiving a hold harmless apportionment ensures that its employees and contractors are compensated and paid during the period of time a school is closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • Ensures that local educational agencies continue to receive funding for the school year, regardless of the closure of schools in response due to COVID-19.
    • Waives Education Code Sections 41420, 46207, 46208 and paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 47612.5 regarding instructional days and minutes requirements for local educational agencies that closed schools due to COVID-19.
    • Requires the superintendent of a school district, county superintendent of schools, or administrator of a charter school to certify in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction that the school was closed due to COVID-19 and provide any additional information related to the school closure that is requested by the Superintendent.
    • Allows a charter school that does not have an independent study program or a distance learning program in its currently approved charter petition to offer those types of services without having to submit a material revision to its authorizer.
    • Ensures continuity of funding for the After School Education and Safety Program (ASES) if a school closed due to COVID-19, and the obligation for a program grantee to submit a request for pupil attendance credits will be waived.
    • On or before June 30, 2020, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall develop informal directives and bulletins, in compliance with Executive Orders, to address contractual and reporting requirements applicable for the 2019-20 fiscal year for childcare and development programs impacted by COVID-19. Childcare and development programs shall be reimbursed using the most recent certified record or invoice available.
    • Extends the testing window for the English language proficiency assessment required by statute by 45 days and the testing window for all other assessments, including the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress assessments required is extended by the length of time a school is closed due to COVID-19.
    • Specifies that the Department of Education shall consider the days a school is closed due to COVID-19 as days between a pupil’s regular school session, up until the time the school reopens and the regular school session reconvenes to determine a local educational agency’s compliance with the special education timelines and services provisions.

Emergency Legislation

SB 89 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review): Budget Act of 2019

SB 117 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review): Education Finance

CalSTRS Employer Information – Effects of School Closure due to COVID-19

The California State Teachers Retirement has released an employer circular as informal guidance that provides immediate information on the impact to members’ service credit. Download here.