A look at new laws impacting California schools
The new year brings with it an assortment of important education laws for school boards to review.
To help understand 2018 legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the California School Boards Association launched a weekly blog highlighting the laws and their significance. An overview of three new laws is provided below. Read the full blog posts and the examination of additional new laws at The full What’s New for 2019 report on all new laws affecting K-12 education is also available at

Assembly Bill 406: For-profit charter schools

Gov. Brown ended a years-long debate over for-profit charter schools when he signed AB 406 (McCarty, D-Sacramento) in September. The CSBA-supported legislation prohibits for-profit charter schools in California effective July 1, 2019. The bill was also supported by several other organizations, including the California Charter Schools Association.

Brown vetoed a similar bill, AB 787 (Hernandez) in 2015, writing at the time that, “I don’t believe the case has been made to eliminate for-profit charter schools in California.”

Although for-profit charter schools have not been as common in California as in other states, the facilities still serve tens of thousands of students in California — legislative analysis on AB 406 found there are 34 charter schools in the state run by for-profit education management organizations or for-profit charter management organizations, and that those schools serve more than 25,000 students.

The track record of these for-profit charter schools has been inadequate on several measures, including transparency and student achievement.

When reviewing charter petitions, renewals or material revisions, school district boards and county offices of education should ensure the charter school is not operated by a for-profit corporation, as defined under AB 406.

Assembly Bill 2449: Seating date for board members

Effective for all school district and county office of education board elections moving forward, the CSBA-supported AB 2449 (Arambula, D-Fresno) changes the seating date for newly elected board members to the second Friday in December following the election.

The move stems from a shift to even-numbered year elections for most local educational agencies to comply with 2015’s California Voter Participation Rights Act (Senate Bill 415), which addressed the issue of low voter turnout in odd-year (or “off-cycle”) elections by shifting local elections to even-numbered years unless specified voter turnout levels had been achieved.

Before AB 2449, however, education law stated that newly elected board members at the county office of education level be seated on the last Friday in November, and that the date be the first Friday in December for school district and community college boards. The conflict between this education law and election law stating that the Secretary of State has up to 30 days to certify election results created situations in which board members could be seated before election results are officially certified, introducing the possibility of a board seating the incorrect member. Assembly Bill 2449 untangles the situation, ensuring board members are not seated before election results are final.

The law did not apply to the 2018 election cycle and contains an exception for members of county boards of education elected in a primary — those members then would take office on the first day of July.

Assembly Bill 2657: Pupil restraint and seclusion

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, AB 2657 (Weber, D-San Diego) states that school staff are not permitted to physically restrain or isolate students as a form of discipline and may use restraint or seclusion only if a student’s behavior poses an immediate threat of physical harm. The law applies to all students.

While many local educational agencies follow this or a similar protocol, Education Code did not specifically outline when or how LEAs were permitted to use restraint and seclusion practices. CSBA had an “Approve” position on the bill.

The new law also specifies that pupils in seclusion must be constantly and directly supervised by staff through a window or other barrier that allows for direct eye contact (indirect methods such as closed-circuit cameras are not allowed), and that, if a face-down (or “prone”) restraint is used, the pupil must be monitored for signs of physical distress — where possible, this monitoring must be done by staff who were not involved in the restraint.