BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 13
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          Date of Hearing:   May 4, 2011

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                     AB 13 (Knight) - As Amended:  March 24, 2011
           
          SUBJECT  :   Public school volunteers.

           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits school districts, county offices of 
          education (COEs), or charter schools that elect to fingerprint 
          volunteers from allowing individuals who have been convicted of 
          specific sex, felony drug or violent offenses to volunteer in 
          schools, and requires charter schools to comply with existing 
          fingerprinting laws.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Specifies that any person who would be prohibited from 
            employment in a school district due to a conviction of a sex, 
            felony drug or violent offense shall also be prohibited from 
            serving as a nonteaching volunteer aide (NTVA) at a district, 
            COE, or a charter school.

          2)Requires charter schools to comply with existing employment 
            prohibitions due to convictions of sex, drug or violent 
            offenses; and, requires charter schools to comply with 
            provisions regarding fingerprinting for pupil activity 
            supervisors.

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)Specifies, notwithstanding any other law, that any person, 
            except a person required to register as a sex offender, may be 
            permitted by the governing board of any school district to 
            perform the duties related to supervising pupils during 
            breakfast, lunch or other nutrition period, or to serve as a 
            NTVA under the immediate supervision and direction of the 
            certificated personnel of the district to perform 
            non-instructional work which serves to assist the certificated 
            personnel in performance of teaching and administrative 
            responsibilities.  (Education Code 35021)

          2)Specifies that a school district or county office of education 
            may request that a local law enforcement agency conduct an 
            automated records check of a prospective NTVA in order to 
            ascertain whether the prospective NTVA has been convicted of 
            any sex offense as defined in Section 44010. A plea or verdict 








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            of guilty, a finding of guilt by a court in a trial without 
            jury, or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere 
            shall be deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this 
            section. If the local law enforcement agency agrees to provide 
            that automated records check, the results therefrom shall be 
            returned to the requesting district or county office of 
            education within 72 hours of the written request. A local law 
            enforcement agency may charge a fee to the requesting agency 
            not to exceed the actual expense to the law enforcement 
            agency. (Education Code 35021.1)

          3)Specifies when a school district or COE requests from the 
            Department of Justice (DOJ) records involving criminal 
            offenses committed by a prospective volunteer, the school 
            district or COE may request that the DOJ provide subsequent 
            arrest notification service and specifies the DOJ shall comply 
            with such a request.  (Education Code 35021.2)

          4)Specifies that parents and guardians of pupils enrolled in 
            public schools have the right and should have the opportunity 
            to participate in the education of their children, including 
            but not limited to, by volunteering their time and resources 
            for the improvement of school facilities and school programs 
            under the supervision of district employees, including, but 
            not limited to, providing assistance in the classroom with the 
            approval, and under the direct supervision, of the teacher.  
            (Education Code 51101)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee, for a substantially similar measure, minor absorbable 
          costs to school districts, COEs, and charter schools that choose 
          to conduct an automated records check of NTVAs, as specified.  
          Current law authorizes school districts to conduct a check for 
          sex offenses.  In most cases, the NTVA pays all or part of the 
          automated records check fee.  It costs approximately $32 to the 
          DOJ, and $19 to the Federal Bureau of Investigations to cover 
          the costs of fingerprinting and the background check.  Potential 
          one-time General Fund/Proposition 98 (GF/98) cost pressure to 
          charter schools, likely less than $100,000, to develop initial 
          systems to ensure employees and paid volunteers serving in a 
          coaching capacity comply with automated record checks.  In most 
          cases, individuals pay all or part of the automated records 
          check fee, as referenced above.  According to a May 2006 
          decision by the Commission on State Mandates (CSM), charter 
          schools are not eligible to claim mandate reimbursements.  In 








                                                                  AB 13
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          denying charter schools' mandate claims, the CSM repeatedly 
          cites the fact that charter schools are "voluntarily" created.

           COMMENTS  :   Background regarding Nonteaching Volunteer Aides 
          (NTVA)  .  NTVAs are under the immediate supervision and direction 
          of certificated personnel of a district and are generally 
          parents who choose to volunteer in their child's classroom, in 
          the school office, or for school field trips.  Current law 
          authorizes any individual to volunteer in school districts, 
          unless that individual is a registered sex offender.  Current 
          law also authorizes school districts to fingerprint NTVAs to 
          ascertain whether the prospective volunteer has been convicted 
          of certain sex offenses that would prohibit employment of that 
          individual by the school district.  In practice, many school 
          districts require volunteers to be fingerprinted; however, there 
          is no state statutory requirement for districts to do so.

          The intent of this bill is to prohibit districts from allowing 
          individuals from volunteering in schools, if the district 
          chooses to fingerprint them, and finds that they have been 
          convicted of the same sex, felony drug and violent/serious 
          offenses that would prohibit that person from otherwise being 
          employed by the school district.  

          According to the author, local school districts have reported 
          instances where parents of students and other individuals will 
          offer to volunteer in their child's classroom, on field trips 
          and/or for other district activities.  However, when the 
          district has run their fingerprints, the DOJ report comes back 
          showing convictions for offenses that would prohibit the 
          district, under current law, from employing them but does not 
          prohibit them from volunteering. While school districts want to 
          encourage parents to participate in their children's education, 
          they must at the end of the day ensure the safety of all 
          students, staff and other district visitors.  

           Employment Prohibition  .  Several sections of the Education code 
          currently deal with criminal offenses that prohibit individuals 
          from being employed by school districts.  Section 45122.1 of the 
          Education code lists specific felonies and misdemeanors and 
          violent/serious felonies that prohibit classified staff from 
          being employed by school districts.  Section 44010 of the 
          Education code lists specified sex offenses and Section 44011 
          lists controlled substance offenses.  Both Section 44010 and 
          44011 are included in Section 44836, which prohibits anyone 








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          convicted of these offenses from being employed by a school 
          district.  Individuals who are convicted of these offenses, 
          except those that require the applicant to register as a sex 
          offender, become eligible for school district employment if they 
          obtain an expungement pursuant to Section 1203.4 of the Penal 
          Code.  By referencing these same employment code sections, NTVAs 
          will also be provided the same opportunity to expunge their 
          record under Section 1203.4.

           Convictions in the Past  .  This bill prohibits individuals with 
          certain convictions from volunteering in schools, without regard 
          to how long ago those convictions took place.  For example, an 
          individual could have been convicted of selling heroin 15 years 
          ago, and despite any personal rehabilitation that person has 
          undergone, they would still be prohibited from volunteering at a 
          school.  The committee should consider whether a time limit 
          should be included in the bill for drug offense convictions. 

          This bill also prohibits individuals with certain serious and 
          violent felony convictions from volunteering in schools.  These 
          serious or violent felonies include, but are not limited to: 
          conspiracy to commit a crime, arson, first degree burglary, 
          assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, firefighter, 
          public transit employee, custodial officer or school employee, 
          use of weapons of mass destruction, shooting from a vehicle, 
          detonating an explosive device. The committee should consider 
          whether individuals convicted of these crimes should be 
          prohibited from volunteering in schools indefinitely, or if a 
          time limit should be included in the bill for serious and 
          violent felonies. 

           Crimes Involving Children  .  Some of the felony drug offenses 
          included in the bill involve children, such as drug sales on a 
          school ground, or drug sales involving a minor child.  The 
          committee should consider whether these offenses should be 
          treated differently than drug offenses that do not involve 
          children or school facilities.  

           Arguments in Support  :  According to the California School 
          Employees Association, "Conforming safeguards regarding 
          volunteers to those that already exist for employees, as well as 
          ensuring that such protections apply to charter schools, will 
          ensure the safety of all students, staff and volunteers in 
          California's public schools."









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           Arguments in Opposition  :  According to Public Advocates, East 
          Bay Community Law Center, Legal Services for Prisoners with 
          Children, American Civil Liberties Union, Bay Area Parent 
          Leadership Action Network and the National Employment Law 
          Project, "AB 13 would prohibit parents and other community 
          volunteers from helping out in classrooms and on school field 
          trips if they have certain drug or any "serious and violent 
          felony" convictions.  As currently written, regardless of 
          whether the past conviction occurred more than 10, 20, or even 
          30 years ago, AB 13 will bar parents from meaningful 
          participation in their children's education.  Excluding people 
          with past drug and other serious convictions from volunteering 
          will disparately impact low-income communities and communities 
          of color because of the racial disparities in the criminal 
          justice system.  In fact, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 
          prohibits blanket bans against hiring people with past 
          convictions because of the racially disparate effect of such 
          bans."

           Committee Amendments  :  Staff recommends the bill be amended to 
          remove the felony drug offenses that do not involve minors, from 
          the volunteer prohibition.  Staff recommends the bill also be 
          amended to authorize individuals to volunteer in schools who 
          have been convicted of felony drug offenses that involve minors 
          and violent/serious offenses, when those convictions occurred 
          more than 5 years in the past.  This will provide a 5-year 
          "wash-out" for individuals convicted of felony drug offenses 
          involving minors and violent/serious offenses and allow them to 
          volunteer in schools after 5-years has elapsed from the 
          conviction.  

           Related legislation  : AB 2034 (Knight), which failed passage in 
          the Senate Education Committee, would have prohibited school 
          districts, COEs, or charter schools that elect to fingerprint 
          volunteers from allowing individuals who have been convicted of 
          specific sex, drug or violent offenses to volunteer in schools, 
          and required charter schools to comply with existing 
          fingerprinting laws.  

          AB 346 (Conway) Chapter 52, Statutes of 2010, made changes to 
          the requirements for the Activity Supervisor Clearance 
          Certificate (ASCC).

          AB 1025 (Conway) Chapter 379, Statutes of 2009, authorizes the 
          Commission on Teacher Credentialing to issue an ASCC to allow 








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          non-credentialed individuals, in a paid or volunteer capacity, 
          to supervise or coach a pupil activity program.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   
           
          Support 
           
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California School Employees Association
          California State Sheriffs' Association
          Child Abuse Prevention Center
          United Teachers Los Angeles

           Opposition 
           
          American Civil Liberties Union
          Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network
          Californians United for a Responsible Budget
          Drug Policy Alliance
          East Bay Community Law Center
          Equal Justice Society
          Fair Chance Project
          Friends Committee on Legislation of California
          Justice Now
          Legal Services for Children
          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
          National Employment Law Project
          Public Advocates
          Stanford Community Law Clinic
          Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project
          Numerous Individuals

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Chelsea Kelley / ED. / (916) 319-2087