CSBA advocacy contributes to veto of school start time bill
On Sept. 20, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his veto of Senate Bill 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge), the CSBA-opposed bill that would have mandated an 8:30 a.m. or later start to the regular school day for all non-rural middle and high schools in California.

“This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards,” the Governor said in his veto message. “Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”

Needless to say, we agree — as do the hundreds of school and county board members and superintendents who sent messages and letters to Gov. Brown urging his veto throughout September. Hundreds more kicked in veto messages of their own in mid-September when CSBA began running radio ads throughout the state urging members of local communities to also contact the Governor to request a veto.

CSBA’s “What’s New for 2019” report is available at www.csba.org/legislativenews, detailing each bill signed into law by Gov. Brown, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Other vetoed legislation:

Assembly Bill 1951 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) — Also known as the Pathways to College Act, AB 1951 would have allowed an alternate assessment (i.e., SAT or ACT) to be administered by local educational agencies during the school day in place of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Gov. Brown stated in his veto message that he is “not convinced” that the bill achieves the goal of improving student access to college and reducing “testing fatigue.”

SB 1127 (Hill, D-San Mateo) — This bill would have allowed LEAs to opt to permit a parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis in a non-smoking/non-vaping form to their child on school grounds if the child has a doctor’s recommendation for such medication. “Generally, I remain concerned about the exposure of marijuana on youth and am dubious of its use for youth for all ailments — I think we should pause before going much further down this path,” the Governor stated.

AB 2772 (Medina, R-Riverside) — The ethnic studies grant program bill supported by CSBA was also vetoed, with Gov. Brown stating that he is “reluctant to encourage yet another graduation requirement, especially when students are already overburdened by multiple tests and endless hours of homework.”

Bills held in the Legislature:

Assembly 276 (Medina, D-Riverside) — This CSBA co-sponsored bill would have required charter school adherence to the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Political Reform Act of 1974 and Government Code 1090. As the legislative session progressed, a lack of consensus emerged over certain components of the bill, specifically, over how the bill would define “entity managing a charter school.” Without agreement on this definition, the bill lacked the support necessary to secure a signature from Gov. Brown and was moved to the Senate Inactive File on Aug. 27.

AB 2808 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance) — Likewise shelved over uncertainty surrounding a possible veto, this CSBA co-sponsored bill would have significantly increased the size of the Local Control Funding Formula base grant targets. In August, the bill was gutted and amended to add language that expressed the intent of the Legislature to raise K-12 education funding, but the new language did not raise the targets. The bill was moved to the Assembly Inactive File on the final day of the session.

SB 1490 (Stern, D-Canoga Park) — This CSBA-supported bill, which would have changed the name of “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in California, was set for its first hearing in April in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee but was not heard by the committee and therefore did not advance in 2018.

AB 2635 (Weber, D-San Diego) — CSBA-supported AB 2635 would have allocated $300 million in the 2018–19 budget to provide LCFF funding eligibility for California’s lowest-performing student subgroup(s). Pursuant to the budget action, the bill became duplicative and hence did not advance. However, it is noteworthy that the $300 million in the budget is one-time money and will be allocated by a competitive grant program, rather than the ongoing funding that AB 2635 had sought.

SB 1203 (Bates, R-Laguna Niguel) — This CSBA-supported bill would have required the development of procedures for conducting a school lockdown, in consultation with local first responder agencies and mental health professionals; the bill was held on the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file.

AB 3136 (O’Donnell) — This CSBA-supported bill would have addressed several elements of special education funding, including leveling up base special education funding rated to the 95th percentile and providing a mechanism to provide additional funding for high-cost disabilities; the bill was held on the Senate Appropriations suspense file.

As always, there is a possibility that all bills not signed into law in 2018 could be reintroduced (with the same or similar language, but under different bill numbers) when the new legislative session convenes in early January.