BILL ANALYSIS Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair 167 (Adams) Hearing Date: 06/29/2009 Amended: 06/17/2009 Consultant: Dan Troy Policy Vote: ED 8-0 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: AB 167 would exempt pupils in foster care from district graduation requirements that exceed state requirements if the pupil transfers to the district, or transfers from one high school to another within a district, in the 11th or 12th grade. The bill would require the district to notify the pupil if the exemption granted would affect the pupil's ability to gain admission to postsecondary institution and to provide information about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Fund Exemption notifications $75 to $150, annually General* * Counts toward meeting the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. In addition to passing both portions of the California High School Exit Exam, current law requires the completion of the following courses to receive a high school diploma: Three years of English. Two years of mathematics. Two years of science, including biological and physical science. Three years of social studies, including: United States history and geography, one semester of government and one of economics. One year of visual or performing arts or a foreign language. Two years of physical education, unless exempted. Current law also allows school district governing boards to add additional requirements beyond those specified in law, such as health or other courses that meet requirements for admission to the University of California or the California State University (a-g requirements). By waiving district-specific requirements, this bill would make it easier for certain pupils in foster care to graduate by age 19 (foster care may extend to age 19 depending on certain circumstances, including educational status). As exemption from these requirements may prevent a pupil from meeting a-g requirements, this bill would require districts to notify pupils who receive exemptions if these exemptions will affect their ability to gain admission to postsecondary educational institutions and to provide information about community college transfer opportunities. Page 2 AB 167 (Adams) Available data indicates that there are 73,000 children in California's foster care system. Typically, these children will transfer to new homes multiple times before exiting the system, and these transfers will frequently move children to different school districts. A report from the California Education Collaborative for Children in Foster Care suggest that foster youth face significant obstacles toward completing a high school degree, as indicated by the fact that only 46 percent obtain a diploma and less than 3 percent attend a four-year college. Assuming 2,500 to 5,000 annual notifications are necessitated by this bill, this bill would result in state reimbursable mandated costs of $75,000 to $150,000. AB 2138 (Adams, 2008), legislation substantially similar to this bill, was vetoed by the Governor last year. The Governor's veto message expressed concern that this bill would usurp the authority of local school boards to establish their own graduation requirements and noted that boards could exempt students from local requirements at their own discretion.