School start time bill passes Legislature, heads to Governor’s desk
School start time bill passes Legislature, heads to Governor’s desk
On the final day of the 2019 legislative year, the Assembly heard and passed Senate Bill 328 (Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge), which would require all non-rural middle and high schools to begin the regular school day no earlier than 8 a.m. (middle schools) or 8:30 a.m. (high schools). The bill is on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk awaiting his action, as of this writing.

Forty-four members of the Assembly voted “aye” on the bill, with 20 members voting no and 15 declining to vote. In 2018, a prior version of SB 328 squeaked through the Assembly and was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. CSBA continues to oppose the statewide mandate contained in SB 328, as decisions related to school start times should be made by locally elected boards with input from local communities.

Both the Senate and Assembly adjourned at approximately 3 a.m. on Sept. 14, having concluded their 2019 business, moving a number of bills between the houses to be heard in the final hours. All told, nearly 70 bills on which CSBA had adopted a formal legislative position have been sent to Gov. Newsom, 16 of which have already been signed into law as of this writing.

CSBA’s “What’s New for 2020” report detailing all new K-12 education laws will be released in October, following Gov. Newsom’s Oct. 13 deadline to act on 2019 legislation. Visit to view the ongoing “New Laws for California Schools” series detailing newly signed laws and their impact on public schools.

School facilities bond
On Sept. 10, a legislative agreement was reached on Assembly Bill 48 (O’Donnell & Glazer), now known as The Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020. Gov. Newsom is expected to sign the measure, which would place a $15 billion school facilities bond on the March 3, 2020 ballot.

Of the $15 billion, a total of $9 billion would go to K-12 education — a figure less than the $11 billion originally proposed, and one that would come alongside significant changes to the funding distribution model for school facilities projects, eschewing the current “first-come, first-served” model in favor of a system that would prioritize project funding for schools in lower-income communities. A total of $2.8 billion would be allocated for new construction and $5.2 billion for modernization, including money for lead in water testing and remediation. Career technical education and charter schools would each receive $500 million, with the remaining $6 billion going to community colleges and universities.

The bill would also increase bonding capacity for unified school districts from 2.5 percent to 4 percent of assessed valuation and from 1.25 percent to 2 percent for elementary and high school districts, temporarily modify certain developer fees and provide immediate assistance (i.e. temporary facilities) for schools impacted by disasters. All of these changes to the School Facilities Program are contingent on the passage of the measure on the March 2020 ballot — no parts of the bill would become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

Charter schools
In a year that began with the signing of Senate Bill 126 (Leyva and O’Donnell) requiring charter school adherence to transparency and accountability measures that have long applied to traditional public schools, several additional bills on charters have gone to Gov. Newsom’s desk — bills which he has indicated his intent to sign.

Among them are AB 1507 (Smith, D-Santa Clarita), which would ban charters from being located outside the boundaries of the authorizing entity (with some specified exemptions), and AB 967 (Smith), which would specify that existing requirements for Local Control and Accountability Plan development, adoption and transparency would also apply to charter schools; CSBA supports both bills. CSBA is likewise supportive of AB 1505 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), which makes a number of sweeping changes to charter school petition and renewal processes that will benefit local educational agencies. CSBA will continue to work with legislative leadership on remaining implementation issues with the bill when the 2020 legislative year begins.

Other bills of note
Bills already signed by Gov. Newsom in 2019 include SB 419 (Skinner, D-Berkeley), which prohibits schools from suspending students in grades 1-5 for willful defiance and from suspending students in grades 6-8 for the same offense until 2025; AB 34 (Ramos, D-Highland), which seeks to unify state and local resources into a single “Bullying and Harassment Prevention Handbook”; and SB 316 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park), which would require that student identification cards contain the telephone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.