BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1683
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          Date of Hearing:   April 7, 2010

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                 AB 1683 (Torres) - As Introduced:  January 26, 2010
           
          SUBJECT  :   Education: finance

           SUMMARY  :   Makes two separate changes to the Education Code.   
          Specifically,  this bill  : 

          1)Expands priority for openings that become available in  
            state-funded preschool programs to children who have a  
            biological parent who is, or who has been within the previous  
            six months, a dependent or ward of the juvenile court.  

          2)Requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to include school  
            districts, county offices of education (COEs), and other  
            agencies deemed eligible pursuant to state and federal law, in  
            any application for federal aid to education, in any  
            allocation of federal funds made pursuant to law, and in any  
            rules and regulations adopted governing the allocation of  
            those funds.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to  
            administer state preschool programs, including part-time day  
            and preschool appropriate programs for prekindergarten  
            children three to five years of age.

          2)Provides base funding by requiring the SPI to make prescribed  
            calculations for the apportionment of state aid to local  
            educational agencies.

          3)Establishes and funds categorical programs that focus  
            resources and/or compliance requirements on specific classes  
            of students or schools, or on specific uses of funds,  
            identified by the Legislature as priorities.

          4)Authorizes the allocation and apportionment of federal funds  
            to recipients and for uses, as specified in federal and state  
            law.

          5)Requires the SBE to make timely application for federal  








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            education funds and to direct the allocation of federal funds  
            to local education agencies.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   This bill makes separate proposals related to state  
          funded pre-school programs and to the inclusion of county  
          offices of education in federal funding.  Each of these  
          proposals was made in a bill (AB 769 and AB 339, respectively)  
          introduced by the author in 2009.  Both AB 769 and AB 339 were  
          passed by this Committee and by the Legislature; both bills were  
          subsequently vetoed by the Governor.

          No background material on this bill was received from the  
          author's office, although background material on AB 769 and AB  
          339 was available to Committee staff.

          State Funded Pre-school Programs:
          The state provides funding for both part-day and full-day state  
          preschool programs.  The part-day state preschool programs  
          provide comprehensive developmental programs for three- to  
          five-year-old children from low-income families.  The programs  
          emphasize parent education and encourage parent involvement.  In  
          addition to preschool education activities that are  
          developmentally appropriate for the children served, the state  
          preschool programs (part-day and full-day) provide meals or  
          snacks to children, referrals to health and social services for  
          families, and staff development opportunities to employees.  AB  
          2759 (Jones), Chapter 308, Statutes of 2008, consolidated  
          preschool programs, including the portions of general child care  
          programs that serve three and four-year-olds, into one program  
          called the California State Preschool Program.  In fiscal year  
          (FY) 2009-10, the State Preschool Program received $439 million.
           
          Preschool Programs Eligibility:  Existing law and regulations  
          give eligibility priority for State Preschool Program services  
          to neglected and abused children who are recipients of child  
          protective services, upon written referral from a legal,  
          medical, or social services agency, or recipients who are at  
          risk of being neglected or abused, followed by four-year-old  
          children and three-year-old children.  Families with the lowest  
          adjusted monthly income are admitted first, with an income  
          ceiling of 75 percent of the state median income based on family  
          size.  According to the Legislative Analyst's Office in 2009,  
          there were 110,000 state preschool slots for children between  








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          the ages of three through five who met the income eligibility  
          threshold of 75 percent of the state median income.  According  
          to the county centralized eligibility list, as of June 30, 2009,  
          there were almost 200,000 children on the waiting list for  
          subsidized child care, 83,078 of which were between three to  
          five years of age.

          This bill adds children who have a biological parent who is, or  
          who has been within the previous six months, a dependent or ward  
          of the juvenile court, to the priority for enrollment.  The  
          author provided the following statement for last year's AB 769,  
          "Children of youth who are in custody, on probation or in the  
          foster system are at high risk of developmental delays and other  
          cognitive, social and emotional difficulties.  Even if these  
          children are not being raised by their biological parents, there  
          is sufficient evidence to suggest that stressful prenatal  
          experiences--and even the physical and mental condition of  
          parents prior to conception--impact brain development and future  
          well-being."

          The author also added that, "Studies consistently show that  
          early childhood education has a positive impact on pupils'  
          future educational success.  [This bill] would go a long way in  
          furthering successful education opportunities for the state's  
          at-risk youth."

          Delinquency Court:  When a minor (under 18) commits a crime, the  
          minor can be admitted to a juvenile center, where an  
          investigation takes place and a recommendation can be made to  
          the District Attorney to file charges.  The Delinquency Court  
          can dismiss the case, put the minor on informal probation, or  
          make the minor a ward of the court.  When a minor is a ward of  
          the Court, the Court takes over all or some of the decision  
          making for the minor in regards to the minor's care and  
          treatment.  The Court can send the minor home on probation with  
          supervision, send the minor to live with a relative, put the  
          minor in foster care, a group home or institution, or send the  
          minor to a local detention facility, ranch or county boot camp.

          Juvenile Dependency Court:  The Dependency Court hears cases  
          regarding minors who are abused or neglected and makes decisions  
          regarding the placement of the minors.  Section 300 of the  
          Welfare and Institutions Code defines this population as  
          children who have suffered or have a substantial risk of  
          suffering serious physical harm or illness as a result of the  








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          failure or inability of their parents or guardians to adequately  
          supervise or protect them, or the willful or negligent failure  
          of parents or guardians to provide adequate food, clothing,  
          shelter, or medical treatment; children who are suffering or are  
          at substantial risk of suffering serious emotional damage;  
          children who have been or have substantial risk of being  
          sexually abused; or children freed for adoption due to the  
          relinquishment or termination of parental rights.  

          According to the California Department of Education, children of  
          youths who are dependents or wards of the juvenile court are  
          likely to be recipients of child protective services and thus  
          already have priority for enrollment.  The Los Angeles County  
          Office of Education (LACOE), the sponsor of AB 769, stated that  
          while many of these children may already be served by the  
          existing structure, they are a "hidden population".  In  
          practice, some of these youths do not receive priority because  
          they are not known to the Court or social services systems.   
          There is no data on the number of children that would have  
          eligibility priority for state preschool programs specified  
          pursuant to this bill.  

          Abused and neglected children have priority eligibility for both  
          general child care and preschool programs.  Why limit the bill  
          to just preschool?  LACOE stated last year that it recognized  
          the importance of general child care programs, but wanted to  
          prioritize preschool to ensure that these children have a chance  
          of success in kindergarten and beyond.  

          The Chief Probation Officers of California, in support of AB 769  
          in 2009, stated that this proposal would help "ensure that no  
          child is left behind by allowing children who live in unstable  
          home environments to receive the same educational opportunities  
          as others.  Preschool provides many fundamental principles to  
          children as it prepares them for kindergarten, such as enhancing  
          problem solving, socialization, and other developmental skills.   
          These essential qualities are later improved as children  
          continue their education, which means they are less susceptible  
          of entering into the criminal justice system."

          LACOE offered the following reasons for why this proposal is  
          important:

          1)Children of incarcerated fathers are four times more likely to  
            go into the foster system, while children of incarcerated  








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            mothers are five times more likely to go into the foster  
            system.

          2)These children are more likely to experience financial  
            instability and material hardship, residential mobility,  
            instability in family relationships, and behavior and school  
            performance problems.

          3)Children who experienced the incarceration of a parent from  
            the age of six or younger were more than twice as likely to be  
            convicted of a criminal offense between the ages of 19 and 30  
            compared with children who did not have a parent incarcerated  
            during early childhood.

          Alternative program:  The California School Age Families  
          Education (Cal-SAFE) program, established by SB 1064 (Johnston),  
          Chapter 1078, Statutes of 1998, provides community-linked,  
          school-based support services and child care/development  
          programs for expectant mothers and teen parents.  These programs  
          are available at school sites, including alternative schools.   
          While foster care youths and youths who are wards of the courts  
          would be eligible for this program, the revised FY 2008-09  
          Budget imposed two year cuts and gave districts flexibility to  
          spend the funds for other purposes [SB 4 X3 (Ducheny), Chapter  
          12, Statutes of 2009-10 Third Extraordinary Session].  The  
          program received $58 million for FY 2008-09 and was reduced by  
          15.4 percent, to $49.1 million.  The FY 2009-10 allocation is  
          $46.4 million, reflecting a 19.8 percent reduction.  It is  
          unclear how many districts have or will redirect these funds for  
          other purposes.    

          Related legislation:  SB 244 (Wright), pending in the Assembly  
          Rules Committee, expands priority for openings that become  
          available in state-funded preschool programs to neglected or  
          abused children who are in family maintenance, family  
          preservation, and unification.  AB 769 (Torres), vetoed in 2009,  
          made the proposals also made in this bill regarding state-funded  
          pre-school programs.  The Governor vetoed AB 769 stating that,  
          "This bill results in significant Proposition 98 General Fund  
          costs pressures.  Absent additional funding to support this  
          policy shift, enacting this measure would result in denying  
          access to state funded preschool programs to other low income  
          families who are currently on waiting lists for subsidized care.  
           Moreover, children of those under the jurisdiction of the  
          juvenile court system already may access child care on a  








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          priority basis under current law, to the extent that they are at  
          risk of abuse or neglect."

          Inclusion of County Offices of Education in Federal Funding:
          This bill also proposes to require the SBE to include COEs in  
          any application for federal aid to education, in any allocation  
          of federal funds currently made to school districts, and in any  
          rules and regulations adopted governing the allocation of those  
          funds.  This proposal has pointed out inconsistencies in  
          statute. In the code sections amended by this bill, regarding  
          the SBE making applications for federal funds or allocating  
          those funds, there are references to "school districts", "local  
          education agencies", and "local school districts and other  
          agencies entitled to receive federal funds for the support of  
          schools."  These different references do not appear to be  
          related to any substantive difference in the treatment of those  
          agencies in terms of the application for or allocation of  
          federal funds.  Five observations can be made about this issue:  
          i) these terms are used in an ambiguous, but interchangeable,  
          manner in these sections of code; ii) these code sections exist  
          the context of the authorization of the state's full  
          participation in Federal Programs and Interstate Agreements;  
          iii) the federal government generally focuses education funding  
          on schools and students rather than on school districts, county,  
          or regional education agencies (note that the federal government  
          has to take a one-size-fits-all approach to local education  
          governance, since there are many organizational models across  
          the states); iv) according to the CDE, there are no instances  
          where federal education funds are currently made available to  
          school districts, but not to COEs, unless there is federal or  
          state statute requiring that differentiation; and v) these  
          sections of the code were enacted by AB 3100 (Greene), Chapter  
          1010, Statutes of 1976, which implemented a complete revision of  
          the education code and have not been clarified since.  Given  
          these observations, it could be concluded that this proposal, to  
          have the students and schools under the administration of COEs  
          included in applications and eligible for the receipt of federal  
          funds, unless specifically excluded, is consistent with the  
          intent of the Legislature as stated in the Education Code  
          sections amended by this portion of the bill.  Given this  
          conclusion, this proposal is of a technical nature in that it  
          would serve to clarify that COEs be considered eligible for  
          federal education funds during application or allocation, unless  
          excluded by statute.









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          Effectively, this bill reconciles existing ambiguous and  
          seemingly interchangeable references to "school districts" and  
          "local education agencies" in existing law, and thus clarifies  
          that school districts, county offices of education, and all  
          other educational agencies, including charter schools and  
          educational joint powers authorities, deemed eligible under law  
          are required to be considered by the SBE when any application  
          for or allocation of federal funds is being made.

          Previous legislation: AB 3100 (Greene), Chapter 1010, Statutes  
          of 1976, implemented a complete revision of the education code,  
          including the statute related to which educational entities  
          would be included by the SBE in any applications for or  
          allocations of federal education funds.  AB 339 (Torres), vetoed  
          in 2009, made the proposals also made in this bill to require  
          the SBE to include county offices of education in federal  
          funding decisions.  The Governor vetoed AB 339 stating that,  
          "This bill would redefine 'school districts' to include school  
          districts, county offices of education, and other agencies  
          deemed eligible pursuant to state and federal law, for the  
          purpose of allocating federal education funds. However, in its  
          current form, I am concerned that the bill may have unintended  
          consequences for charter schools and/or other educational  
          agencies currently eligible for these federal funds."

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,  
          AFL-CIO

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim and Gerald Shelton /  
          ED. / (916) 319-2087