May 2019 Vol. 25, 5
Charter school bills taking shape as 2019 legislative session kicks into high gear
Charter school bills taking shape as 2019 legislative session kicks into high gear
In a legislative year that in early March saw the signing of Senate Bill 126 (Leyva, D-Chino and O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), a long-sought transparency and accountability bill, charter schools remain a hot topic as the 2019–20 session moves forward.
With SB 126 signed into law, California’s charter schools, like its traditional public school districts, are now subject to the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Political Reform Act and Government Code 1090. The conversation is continuing in earnest with a package of bills addressing several aspects of authorization and location, and the fiscal impacts of charters, highlighted by Assembly Bill 1505 (O’Donnell, et al.)
  • Visit for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.
full and fair funding
Research provides further evidence for Full and Fair Funding
To adequately educate every student, California needed to spend $16,890 per pupil in the 2016–17 school year. The state spent $12,204.
The vast funding gap was the highlight of Getting Down to Facts II research presented by Policy Analysis for California Education at an April 12 event in Sacramento. Presenters for the research brief, “Working Toward K-12 Funding Adequacy: California’s Current Politics and Funding Levels,” said that while funding levels have increased since the advent of the Local Control Funding Formula, they remain well below those seen in many other states.

“It turns out, on average, our districts still receive less than in most other states,” said researcher Jennifer Imazeki, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at San Diego State University. Further, the higher costs of living and wages in California, coupled with the lower revenue, leads to fewer teachers and staff per student than most other states experience.

The issue is also one of equity across the state, as the American Institutes for Research found that the most dramatic spending gaps between actual spending and estimated costs for adequate programs are in districts serving high concentrations of low-income students and English learners.

Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Hugh Biggar |
Andrew Cummins |
Aaron Davis |
Mike Ambrose |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Mauricio Miranda |

Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Vice President:
Tamara Otero | Cajon Valley Union USD

Immediate Past President:
Mike Walsh | Butte COE

CEO & Executive Director:
Vernon M. Billy

The California School Boards Association is the essential voice for public education. We inspire our members to be knowledgeable leaders, extraordinary governance practitioners and ardent advocates for all students.
California School News (ISSN 1091-1715) is published 11 times per year by the California School Boards Association, Inc., 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691. 916-371-4691. $4 of CSBA annual membership dues is for the subscription to California School News. The subscription rate for each CSBA nonmember is $35. Periodicals postage paid at West Sacramento, CA and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to California School News, 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691.

News and feature items submitted for publication are edited for style and space as necessary.

President’s Message: Emma Turner
Emma Turner
Let the quest for quality guide our work in charter school reform

On Monday, April 22, I contributed to one of California’s most significant policy discussions when I joined CSBA staff at the Capitol for a press and legislative briefing on CSBA’s report Uncharted Waters: Recommendations for Prioritizing Student Achievement and Effective Governance in California’s Charter Schools. The Uncharted Waters report has gained additional resonance as pending legislation intensifies the debate over charters. In fact, some of its recommendations on transparency and accountability were already adopted into law when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 on March 5.

That development was gratifying, as it validated years of CSBA research, advocacy and leadership in the area of charter reform. Uncharted Waters provides a potential roadmap as the Legislature finally begins to address the issue in earnest. The report focuses on charter schools and their impact in four key areas:

  • Quality Expectations
  • Equitable Access
  • Equity, Governance and Transparency
  • Elevating and Replicating What Works in Public Education

CSBA CEO Vernon M. Billy selected as one of most influential Californians

CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy

The Sacramento Bee has selected CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy for its 2019 California Influencer series, which surveys 100 of California’s most thoughtful and prominent individuals on critical policy matters.

Billy joins a host of leaders from varied industries and perspectives in dissecting the challenges and opportunities facing California in 2019 and beyond. His fellow influencers represent the fields of academia, business, conservation, construction, education, finance, government, housing, journalism, labor, law, medicine, politics, public advocacy, social services and transportation.

“I’m honored to join this group of respected leaders in addressing the important challenges facing California at this critical point in our state’s history,” said Billy. “I hope that our conversation provides a model for how people from across the social spectrum can thoughtfully and civilly discuss divergent points of view with an eye toward solutions that improve the lives of all Californians.”

Participants in the California Influencer series will answer questions posed by readers, offer analysis on pressing issues and gather for live events to discuss how California can achieve the substantive change needed to realize its potential. This year’s Influencer project represents the second time The Sacramento Bee, Modesto Bee, Merced Sun-Star, Fresno Bee and San Luis Obispo Tribune are hosting a discussion on “the policy challenges that most affect our community and our future.”

Masters in Governance graduates
March 29, 2019, Redding, California

CSBA is proud to recognize our Masters in Governance graduates and salute their exceptional commitment to professional development in the service of students. MIG completion signifies mastery of the roles and responsibilities of school boards and a strong understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to build and support an effective governance structure that helps produce better outcomes for students. MIG is just one part of CSBA’s commitment to our strategic initiative to support professional development by providing accessible, high-quality training.

CSBA is proud to recognize our Masters in Governance graduates and salute their exceptional commitment to professional development in the service of students

Front Row: Left to Right
Michelle Allen, Board Member, Orland USD; Richard Gingery, Board Member, Paradise USD; Shannan Ovard, Board Member, Orland USD; Patti Cortese, Board President, East Side Union HSD; Jewel Fink, Board Member, Dixon USD; Darlene Fultz, Board Member, Thermalito Union SD; Gregory Blake, Superintendent, Thermalito Union SD

Second Row: Left to Right
Richard Lopez, Board President, Merced Union HSD; Rebecca Bridwell, Board President, Gazelle Union ESD; Melissa Crick, Board Member, Paradise USD; Michelle John, Superintendent, Paradise USD; Nicholas Herndon, Board Member, Paradise USD; Katharine Scovill, Board President, Mt. Shasta Union SD; Mike Greer, Board President, Paradise USD; Sherry Crawford, Regional Director, Region 2, Siskiyou COE; Misha Grothe, Board Member, Middletown USD; Tori Anderson, Board President, Thermalito Union SD; Mark Walker, Board Member, Thermalito Union SD

Back Row: Left to Right
Dave Parsons, Superintendent, Yreka Union ESD; Joe Ayer, Board Member, Shasta Union HSD; Roger Longnecker, Board President, Shasta Union ESD; Laurie Stringer, Board Member, Bella Vista ESD; Dwight Pierson, Delegate, Region 2C, Plumas County & USD; Jaymes Lackey, Board Member, Thermalito Union SD; Alicia Walker, Board Member, Thermalito Union SD

Not Pictured
Sue Cooper, Superintendent, Oak Run ESD and Bill Sharrett, Board Member, Paradise USD

GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

Preparing to adopt your 2019–20 budget

At an upcoming board meeting, you may expect to adopt your 2019–20 budget. Many boards can anticipate reviewing the first budget draft during a workshop or study session this May. These types of special meetings can help boards to better understand the budget and prepare to meet the deadline for adopting the 2019–20 budget by June 30.

In the study session, boards should ensure that the key factors of the upcoming year, also known as budget assumptions, are accounted for in the draft budget. These factors include, but are not limited to, the district’s enrollment, the Governor’s May state budget revise, scheduled salary improvements, and maintenance and replacement costs.

Asking and discussing the following questions may help the board to determine if the proposed budget will accurately support the findings of the key factors.

  • What are the average daily attendance, or ADA, projections?
  • Have we settled our collective bargaining agreements for next year? If not, what assumptions have been made for salary and benefits? If you are a county board, does the budget include any proposed salary increases or bonuses of $10,000 or more?
  • Does the budget reflect the 2019–20 Local Control and Accountability Plan educational priorities? Are resources efficiently allocated to meet the LCAP priorities?
  • Is deficit spending projected? If so, was this planned? Is the deficit spending ongoing (structural deficit versus one-time only)?
  • Are there any trends — positive or negative — expected for the district or county office of education?
  • Does the budget allocate financial resources in a manner that provides all students with equitable access to district programs, support services and opportunities for success? Does it promote equity and inclusion in the district?
  • How does the budget compare to the last interim budget report?

The responses to these questions will help guide your board to making informed decisions. Budgets are covered in the School Finance module of CSBA’s Masters in Governance Course 3; information is available at Additional resources can be found at the Financial Crisis Management Assistance Team website at

The limited impact but substantial importance of Cal Fire v. CalPERS

On March 4, 2019, the California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the appellate court’s decision in Cal Fire 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, upholding the 2012 elimination of a pension benefit for public employees. The narrow decision in favor of the State will not have much effect on school boards and county offices of education, but the Court’s decision is still significant.

The law at issue

In 2012, the Legislature enacted the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 to address existing underfunding of the public pension systems. PEPRA made several revisions to the laws governing public employee pensions, including eliminating the ability to purchase “additional retirement service” credit, commonly referred to as “airtime.” The ability to purchase ARS credit began in 2003, when many public employees were granted the opportunity to buy up to five years of additional retirement service credit by paying for the cost to the system of the additional years, without needing to work those years. A local firefighters union for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, challenged PEPRA’s elimination of the ability to purchase ARS credit, arguing that the opportunity to purchase ARS credit was a vested right protected by the contract clause of the California Constitution.

Why this case matters

Public employers and employees alike have watched closely to see how this ruling will affect them. For decades, the “California Rule” has guaranteed public employees the benefits of their pensions — courts have found that public employees have vested rights in their pension benefits, and that these pension benefits are protected compensation. Essentially, pension benefits in California cannot be reduced unless offset by a benefit such that the employee is not disadvantaged.

Governance brief examines uptick in student mental health concerns
Provides evidence that schools are an effective partner in identification and treatment
Governance brie
Of the estimated one in five students living with a mental illness, only a third of those receive treatment
The most recent data regarding youth mental health in the United States is alarming: teens are struggling with depression and anxiety in steeply rising numbers. Data from children’s hospitals across the country show that the number of children and teens admitted for thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than doubled from 2008–15. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate for youth ages 10-17 rose 70 percent from 2006 to 2016 and suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers.

The statistics are dire, but research into the roles of treatment, education and community offer hope that these trends can be reversed. In CSBA’s new governance brief “Why Schools Hold the Promise for Adolescent Mental Health,” Deborah Anderluh, formerly of the Steinberg Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing sound public policy on mental health issues, posits that schools play a central role in the solution. Board members are in a unique position to influence the curriculum, policies and community partnerships that shape the school environment. The brief offers a summary of the latest alarming findings in youth mental health, context on why schools have become a vital link in supporting youth mental health, and best practices and resources to help districts address this pressing issue.

Director-at-Large shares insights during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
CSBA joins the nation in celebrating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Gino Kwok
Of the 6.2 million K-12 students attending California public schools in 2018–19, 9.3 percent are Asian, 2.4 percent are Filipino and .5 percent are Pacific Islander. These populations are composed of students from many cultural backgrounds who are an important part of California’s fabric. They also each bring their own unique stories, aspirations and qualities to the state’s public schools.

To help ensure representation for these students, CSBA’s Board of Directors includes a Director-at-Large ethnic position for Asian Pacific Islander. Gino Kwok, a board member for Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, was recently elected to this Director role. The east San Gabriel Valley district, from which Kwok graduated, serves nearly 20,000 students. California School News talked with Kwok about his leadership position, background and goals for California’s education system.

What does it mean to you to represent students and communities as CSBA’s Director-at-Large API? What made you decide to run for the position?
This is an honor of a lifetime — having the privilege to represent a diverse and international group of children and families in the most vital, important and transformative institution ever created: public education. I have to thank my predecessor [Bob Gin, Alhambra Unified School District board president] who asked me to run, who appealed to the highest sense of public duty and who kindly said that my passion, knowledge and skills as a public servant and as an advocate was what the API community needs at this time.
county boards
CCBE Annual Conference
Registration is now open to attend the 2019 CCBE Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel, Sept. 13-15 at
This year’s theme is “Educational Changes on the Horizon: What and how to prepare for them” and will provide county board members with the opportunity to focus on county-specific issues and to network with other county board members. Speakers and programs will highlight best practices, real-world tools and new ideas that address the unique issues faced by county boards and the students they serve, now and in the future. For new board members, the conference will be a delightful chance to network and for all attendees to share tips and best practices.

A block of rooms has been secured at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa located in Monterey with a room rate of $210 single/double. To make your hotel reservation online, please visit or call the hotel at 831-372-1234 and mention you are with CCBE Fall Conference to receive the group rate. Please note that the cutoff date to reserve a room through the group block is Aug. 12, 2019. This room block is limited, so be sure to make your room reservation today! Once this room block is sold out, rooms may still be available at the prevailing rates.

CCBE Annual Conference
Don’t miss out on the exciting workshops, keynote sessions and ample networking opportunities that await you!
Submit your nomination for CCBE’s 2019 Outstanding Legislator Awards program
CCBE encourages county boards to participate in nominating a member of the California State Legislature, the California Congressional delegation, or other federal/state elective or appointed office holder for CCBE’s 2019 Outstanding Legislator Awards program. The award is bestowed upon one or more individuals who have been actively involved in legislation or other activities supporting the work of county offices of education and their programs.

Nominations for the 2019 Outstanding Legislator Awards program must be received no later than Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, to be considered. The nomination form, a resolution or written explanation of why the nominated individual should be honored can be sent to It is important that your nominations include as much specific information as possible, and highlight activities with a direct, beneficial effect on county offices of education and their students. For more information please visit

county boards
County Perspective
Standing strong among the ashes
Navigating the aftermath of the Camp Fire
By Mike Walsh, CSBA Immediate Past President and trustee, Butte COE
Mike Walsh
Last year, as the President of CSBA, and the previous year as the President-elect, I, like so many other people, watched in disbelief and shock at the wildfires as they broke out across the state. From the Tubbs Fire in October 2017 that devastated Sonoma County to the Carr Fire of August 2018, I heard firsthand from board members across the state just how heartbreaking it is to have students and families lose everything in the blink of an eye. At CSBA, we interviewed board members and superintendents so that we could better understand the challenges in rebuilding and help other school districts prepare in the unlikely event that they were ravaged by disaster. Tips like:

  • Ensure communications and updates are available in languages commonly spoken by district students and families
  • Be prepared to offer refuge to nonstudents and serve as a community shelter
  • Prepare for donations
  • Help find care and activities for children when schools are closed
These were just a few of the tips offered in the spring 2018 CSBA California Schools magazine article “Trial by Fire: Schools rebuild after the 2017 wildfires.” (I strongly recommend that if you don’t have that particular edition handy, go online to, where you can download an electronic copy of the article.) And still none of that fully prepared me for the magnitude of the Camp Fire.
Nominate a CCBE Officer
Leaders are wanted to help guide California County Boards of Education’s future. Nominations are open for CCBE’s 2020 President-elect, Vice President and Treasurer positions. Submit a nomination form for yourself or for another member with their consent and/or encourage potential candidates to run for office.

Candidates must serve on a CCBE-member county office of education board, and nominations must come from either the governing board of a CCBE-member county office of education or from an individual member of a CCBE-member board.

Nomination and candidate application forms for 2020 CCBE Officers must be received by CCBE no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 31. Candidates will be scheduled for interviews during the CCBE Annual Conference, Sept. 13-15 in Monterey.

Elections will be held at the General Membership Breakfast Meeting in December during CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Diego. Nomination materials can be found at, or by contacting CCBE at

What’s new around graduation?
The close of the school year brings graduation and recognition ceremonies to campuses across the state.
“These community events bring hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of community members to our school grounds and are important milestones in the lives of students and their families,” said Robert Tuerck, CSBA assistant executive director, Policy and Governance Technology Services. “Governing boards, superintendents and staff are encouraged to review, update and communicate their policies and practices related to graduation ceremonies to ensure compliance with law, the safety of students and visitors, and a memorable experience that appropriately recognizes this significant educational achievement.”

Many districts set guidelines for the attire that participants in graduation exercises can wear. With the passage of Assembly Bill 1248 in 2018, students now may wear traditional tribal regalia or recognized objects of religious or cultural adornment at school graduation ceremonies. “Adornment” is defined as something that is attached to or worn with, but not replacing, the cap and gown. “Cultural” is defined as “recognized practices and traditions of a certain group of people.” Examples include, but are not limited to, eagle feathers worn by Native American students or Kente cloths worn by African American students as signs of the importance of the occasion. The law was not intended to allow students to adorn the traditional cap and gown with any item of their choosing.

Under the new law, local educational agencies retain the discretion to prohibit an item that is likely to cause a substantial disruption of the ceremony. It is recommended that LEAs require advance approval of any adornment so that these determinations are not made immediately before the ceremony. For example, CSBA’s sample board policy BP 5127 – Graduation Ceremonies and Activities, updated in March 2019 to reflect the new law includes optional language that students wishing to wear such adornments seek permission from the superintendent or designee at least 14 days prior to the graduation ceremony. Furthermore, high school students and parents/guardians should be given sufficient notice of the deadline and approval process.

Experts share insights on future of Prop 64 funds for health programs
Experts from Washington and Colorado, two states that legalized recreational marijuana before California, weighed in at a Capitol briefing on the best ways to design youth drug prevention and health programs using cannabis tax revenue. The March 26 event was hosted by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr. (D-Los Angeles).

With California’s passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in 2016 comes a fund that will use marijuana tax revenue to subsidize such programs across the state. Of interest to districts and school boards is that 2019 will be first year the state has enough money to fund youth programs through the Youth Education, Prevention, Early Intervention and Treatment Account, according to the State Controller’s office.

“There is really not any money in the Youth Fund right now, but the discussions on how to design it are underway,” said Susan Bonilla, state director for the Council for a Strong America.

After funding the law’s implementation and enforcement, 60 percent of remaining Prop 64 funds are to be allocated to the Department of Health Care Services to fund youth prevention and education programs. There are no funds dedicated specifically to the California Department of Education, but any remaining funds may go to schools for drug prevention programs. The setup of Prop 64 is further explored in the CSBA governance brief “The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on K-12: Current Status and Future Expectations.”

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at
May 10 | Rancho Cucamonga
Masters in Governance Course 5
May 10 | Sacramento
California Council of School Attorneys Spring Workshop
May 10 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 1
May 11 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 2
May 18–19 | Sacramento
May Delegate Assembly Meeting
June 6 | Sacramento
PIVOT Smarter School Spending Master Class
June 20 | San Diego
PIVOT Smarter School Spending Master Class
June 21 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 3
July 12–13 | Santa Barbara
Masters in Governance Course 4 & 5
Thanks for reading our May 2019 newsletter!