BILL NUMBER: AB 122	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Coto

                        JANUARY 15, 2009

   An act to add and repeal Chapter 3.2 (commencing with Section
58530) of Part 31 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code,
relating to small schools.



	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 122, as introduced, Coto. Small schools.
   Existing law grants authority to school districts to establish and
operate public schools within their boundaries.
   This bill would authorize a school district to establish a small
school, subject to specified conditions including, among others, a
requirement to develop a school plan, as specified, and a requirement
to adopt regulations that include the small school as part of an
academic reform strategy focused on the positive outcomes small
schools are intended to produce. The bill would encourage school
districts that establish one or more small schools pursuant to this
authority to apply for new construction grants for unhoused pupils as
a vehicle for establishing small schools on, adjacent to, or
separate from existing campuses, use modernization funding to
modernize and reconfigure existing campuses into small schools,
either as part of a comprehensive school complex or as a cluster of
small schools, and establish the small school pursuant to a dependent
charter, as defined, in order to provide the small school with the
flexibility of a charter school while allowing it to be located
within the district. The bill would repeal these provisions on
January 1, 2015.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1.  (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
following:
   (1) Research has shown that school size is an important predictor
of pupil success, second only to socioeconomic status. The research
literature clearly states the superiority of small schools as
learning environments. In small schools all of the following occur:
   (A) Dropout and truancy rates dramatically decrease and graduation
rates and postsecondary education enrollment rates increase.
   (B) Parents are much more likely to be involved in the school and
to have greater participation in decisionmaking.
   (C) Pupils experience a greater sense of belonging and are more
satisfied with their schools.
   (D) Fewer discipline problems occur.
   (E) Crime, violence, and gang participation decrease.
   (F) Incidences of alcohol and tobacco abuse decrease.
   (G) Pupil attendance increases.
   (H) Ample evidence exists that well-planned and well-implemented
small schools can result in astonishing growth in pupil achievement
and a significant narrowing of the achievement gap.
   (2) A recent study of large and small schools in four states has
shown that smaller schools reduce the damaging effects of poverty and
help pupils narrow the achievement gap between them and pupils from
more affluent communities.
   (3) Reducing school size has also been shown to significantly
increase the likelihood of success of school reform efforts. Small
schools are more effective at staff development and in implementing
new curriculum.
   (4) Based upon the research on the benefits of small schools, the
United States Department of Education has created the Smaller
Learning Communities Program and is currently providing a small
number of planning and implementation grants to school districts
across the country to support the development of small schools and
small learning communities.
   (5) Other states have recognized the value of small schools and
have developed state policy to encourage small schools development.
In Florida, for example, all schools built after 2003 will be small
schools.
   (6) Many parent groups and school districts in the state,
including Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San
Francisco, have initiated efforts to create small schools. These
efforts include the creation of new small schools on new sites as
well as the reconfiguration of existing schools into small schools
and small learning communities.
   (7) The trend in California, over the last few decades, has been
to build larger and larger schools. For example, in 2000, more than
73 percent of California high schools had more than 1,000 pupils and
more than 57 percent of middle schools had more than 800 pupils.
   (8) The trend to build large schools has been driven by California'
s rapidly growing population and by the assumption that large schools
are more cost effective.
   (9) Research, however, has also shown that small schools, due to
lower dropout rates and factors such as reduced school violence, can
be more cost effective in total per pupil spending than large
schools.
   (b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to reenact and
revise provisions in state law that have been repealed to create an
incentive for school districts to establish small schools with the
assistance of funding for new construction, modernization, and
reconfiguration of existing schoolsites.
  SEC. 2.  Chapter 3.2 (commencing with Section 58530) is added to
Part 31 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:
      CHAPTER 3.2.  SMALL SCHOOLS


   58530.  A school district may establish a small school pursuant to
this chapter, subject to all of the following conditions:
   (a) If the school provides instruction in kindergarten or any of
grades 1 to 5, inclusive, the number of pupils enrolled in the school
for those grades shall not be fewer than 80 pupils and not more than
250 pupils. If the school provides instruction in any of grades 6 to
12, inclusive, the number of pupils enrolled in the school for those
grades shall not be fewer than 80 pupils and not more than 400
pupils.
   (b) The school shall be staffed by school district employees who
volunteer to be assigned to the school.
   (c) The facilities that house the pupils enrolled in the school
shall be located in proximity to one another.
   (d) Enrollment in the school is open to all pupils who have at
least one parent who is a resident in the attendance area of the
school district.
   (e) Admission to the school shall not be determined by pupil
achievement. The school shall have a heterogenous pupil population in
terms of pupil achievement.
   (f) The school shall have a governing board elected by parents of
pupils enrolled in the school.
   (g) The school shall have a significant and agreed upon level of
autonomy within the school district. A school district that
establishes one or more small schools pursuant to this chapter shall
develop, with collaboration from representatives of community groups,
bargaining units representing the employees of the school district,
and parents of pupils of the school, a school plan for each small
school that includes all of the following:
   (1) Goals for pupil achievement.
   (2) Teaching and learning philosophy.
   (3) Curricular focus of the school.
   (4) Goals for school culture and practices.
   (5) Leadership goals.
   (6) Decisionmaking process, including the role of the governing
board of the small school.
   (h) A school district that establishes one or more small schools
pursuant to this chapter shall adopt regulations that include the
small school or schools as part of an academic reform strategy
focused on the positive outcomes small schools are intended to
produce. The positive outcomes resulting from the adopted academic
reform strategy shall include, but are not limited to, any of the
following:
   (1) A clearly defined mission and goals.
   (2) High standards and expectations for pupils and staff.
   (3) Personalization.
   (4) Individual respect.
   (5) Universal involvement in decisionmaking.
   (6) Integrated learning.
   (7) Multiple measures of pupil achievement.
   (8) Antiracist and relevant curriculum.
   (9) Differentiated instruction.
   (10) Project-oriented learning.
   (11) Heterogeneous pupil grouping.
   (12) Pupil-centered classrooms.
   (13) Connectedness with stakeholders.
   (14) Diversity.
   (15) A safe environment.
   (16) A high-quality learning environment.
   (17) Alignment of resources with goals.
   (18) Maximizing community resources and partnerships.
   (19) Lifelong professional development.
   (20) A plan for continuous improvement, including data analysis.
   (i) A small school may be located within an existing elementary,
middle, or comprehensive high school and may be newly constructed,
located on a single site, or located with other small schools or
learning communities. The total enrollment of a small school site
shall not exceed the recommendation of the department.
   58531.  A school district that establishes one or more small
schools pursuant to this chapter is encouraged to do any or all of
the following:
   (a) Apply for new construction grants for unhoused pupils as a
vehicle for establishing small schools on, adjacent to, or separate
from existing campuses.
   (b) Use modernization funding to modernize and reconfigure
existing campuses into small schools, either as part of a
comprehensive school complex or as a cluster of small schools.
   (c) (1) Establish the school pursuant to a dependent charter in
order to provide the small school with the flexibility of a charter
school while allowing it to be located within the district.
   (2) A small school established under a dependent charter as
described in this subdivision shall not claim reimbursement for state
mandates, except for costs related to the administration of the high
school exit examination.
   (3) For purposes of this subdivision, "dependent charter" means a
charter granted pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 47605)
of Part 26.8 in which the chartering authority retains all
governance powers regarding the operation of the charter school.
   58532.  This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1,
2015, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted
statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2015, deletes or extends
that date.