BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                             Alan Lowenthal, Chair
                           2011-2012 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       AB 169
          AUTHOR:        Torres
          AMENDED:       March 25, 2011
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  June 8, 2011
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:    Daniel Alvarez

           SUBJECT  :  Education finance: County Offices of Education.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill defines school districts to include county 
          offices of education and "other agencies or entities" so 
          that the county offices and other agencies or entities will 
          be eligible for federal funding distributed by the State 
          Board of Education.   

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law provides that whenever federal aid to education 
          is provided to the state, and the disposition of the funds 
          is not otherwise specified by federal or state law, then 
          the distribution of those funds to local educational 
          agencies shall be determined by the State Board of 
          Education, consistent with the requirements of federal law. 
            (Education Code  12000)

          Current law provides for county boards of education and 
          county superintendents of schools to direct county offices 
          of education.  County offices of education operate a 
          variety of alternative schools such as county community 
          schools, juvenile court schools, as well as Regional 
          Occupational Programs and Centers (ROP/C) and Special 
          Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA).  County offices also 
          assist school districts in a variety of ways, providing 
          instructional and financial support services and exercising 
          oversight over the fiscal condition of districts, among 
          other functions.  (EC  1000 et. al.)

          County offices have historically received federal funds 
          provided for services related to their areas of 
          responsibility, such as special education and neglected and 




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          delinquent youth.  On the other hand, counties have often 
          not been eligible for federal funds under programs such as 
          the Title I basic grants because those programs are 
          distributed to schools on the basis of the characteristics 
          of pupils in an attendance area, and county schools serve 
          pupils that are referred to them, but do not serve pupils 
          on the basis of their residence in an attendance area.

           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  defines school districts to include county 
          offices of education and "other agencies" so that the 
          county offices and other agencies will be eligible for 
          federal funding distributed by the State Board of 
          Education.   
          This bill serves a technical purpose in that it 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 deemed eligible are required to be considered by 
          the State Board of Education when any application or 
          allocation of federal funds is being made.

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  According to the author, this 
               measure would clarify that the state allocations of 
               federal funds to school districts also include county 
               offices of education.  This legislation would provide 
               equity in funding county offices of education.  County 
               offices of education play a vital role in providing 
               educational programs and services for students, 
               parents, school districts and the community. This 
               measure will ensure the county offices are not 
               inadvertently left out when federal funds are 
               allocated. 

           2)   California Department of Education (CDE)  . The CDE 
               indicates that there are no instances where federal 
               education funds are currently made available to school 
               districts, but not to California Office of Education 
               (COE)  or other agencies, unless there is federal or 
               state statute requiring that differentiation; this is 
               true despite there being no current statutory 
               requirement on the inclusion of COE or other 




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               educational agencies.  This bill would thus codify 
               current practice and continue to ensure that all 
               eligible educational entities are included in federal 
               funding opportunities available to the state.

           3)   Prior and related legislation  . 
           
               AB 1683 (Torres, 2010) and AB 339 (Torres, 2009), both 
               bills were nearly identical to this measure and both 
               were vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  The more 
               recent veto message of AB 1683 read:

               "Nothing in current law prohibits county offices of 
               education from receiving federal funds consistent with 
               federal law.  The Administration does not have any 
               evidence that county offices of education have been 
               denied access to federal dollars that should 
               appropriately be distributed to them.  Therefore, it 
               is unclear why the statutory change in this bill is 
               necessary.

               However, I am directing the State Board of Education 
               to be especially cognizant of this issue and be 
               diligent about working with the State Department of 
               Education and the county offices of education to 
               ensure that no inadvertent omissions occur in the 
               future."
          
           SUPPORT  

          Alameda County Board of Education
          Alameda County Office of Education's Alliance for the Arts 
          Learning Leadership
          Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
          California School Boards Association
          Kern County Superintendent of Schools
          Los Angeles County Office of Education
          Monterey County Office of Education
          Riverside County Superintendent of Schools

           OPPOSITION

           None on file.







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