BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       AB 1358
          AUTHOR:        Fong
          AMENDED:       June 27, 2013
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  July 3, 2013
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Daniel Alvarez

           SUBJECT  :  Student body association: student representation  
          fee.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill increases the current community college student  
          representation fee from one dollar ($1) to two dollars ($2)  
          per semester, subject to an affirmative majority vote  
          (rather than two-thirds) of a community colleges' students  
          and directs the additional one dollar ($1) fee increase to  
          be expended on the establishment and support the operations  
          of a statewide community college student organization, as  
          specified.

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law permits the governing board of a community  
          college district to authorize the students of a college to  
          organize a student body association. (Education Code   
          76060)

          Current law provides that a student body association may  
          order an election be held for the purpose of establishing a  
          student representation fee of one dollar ($1) per semester.  
           An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the students  
          voting in the election shall be sufficient to establish the  
          fee.  However, the number of students who vote must equal  
          or exceed the average number of students who voted in the  
          previous three student body elections.  The fee money  
          collected shall be expended to provide support of  
          governmental affairs representatives who may be stating  
          their positions and viewpoints before city, county, and  
          district governments and before offices and agencies of  
          state government.  Students may refuse to pay the fee for  
          religious, political, financial, or moral reasons. The  







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          chief fiscal officer of the community college shall have  
          custody of the fee money collected, but the funds shall be  
          disbursed to the student body association for the specified  
          purposes.  Finally, the community college district may  
          retain a portion of the fees collected that is equal to the  
          actual cost of administering these fees up to, but not more  
          than, seven percent.  (EC  76060.5) 

           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  increases the current community college student  
          representation fee from one dollar ($1) to two dollars ($2)  
          per semester, subject to an affirmative majority vote  
          (rather than two-thirds) of a community colleges' students  
          and directs the additional one dollar ($1) fee increase to  
          be expended on the establishment and support the operations  
          of a statewide community college student organization, as  
          specified.  More specifically, this bill:

          1)   Clarifies that current and prospective student  
               representation fee (SRF) revenue may be expended on  
               local or statewide student body associations.

          2)   Authorizes a student body association (SBA) to call  
               campus-wide elections to determine whether to assess a  
               SRF of two dollars ($2) per semester.

          3)   Reduces the affirmative vote from two-thirds to a  
               majority of the students voting in the election, as  
               specified, to establish the SRF.

          4)   Specifies that $1 of every $2 fee collected shall be  
               expended to establish and support the operations of an  
               independent statewide community college student  
               organization that is recognized by the Board of  
               Governors of the California Community Colleges, with  
               governmental affairs representatives to advocate  
               before the Legislature and other state and local  
               governmental entities. The measure specifies this  
               provision only applies to SRFs adopted on or after  
               January 1, 2014.

          5)   States that any community college SBA that has adopted  
               a SRF before January 1, 2014 retains authority to  








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               continue to receive the one dollar ($1) fee as  
               authorized prior to enactment of this measure.  The  
               SBA may conduct an election to adopt a revised SRF -  
               if the students pass the revised SRF, then one dollar  
               ($1) of every two dollars ($2) collected shall be  
               expended for purposes specified under #3 above.

          6)   Requires the community college district (CCD) to  
               annually prepare a summary of all revenue collected  
               from the SRF and the expenditures of the proceeds. The  
               summary shall be presented at the community college  
               district board meeting each year and posted to the CCD  
               Internet web site. 

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  According to the author, the 2.4  
               million students at the California Community College  
               (CCC), unlike their counterparts at the University of  
               California and the California State University, do not  
               have a sustainably funded statewide student  
               association.   AB 1358 will assist CCC students in  
               establishing and sustaining statewide legislative and  
               governmental advocacy through their recognized  
               representative organization, the Student Senate of  
               California Community Colleges (SSCCC).

           2)   Is this the right time to raise fees of any kind  ?    
               Although the price per unit at California Community  
               Colleges remains the lowest in the nation, students  
               face increased costs for books and other school  
               related materials.  Although the student  
               representation fee is voluntary and students can opt  
               out for various reasons, including if they cannot  
               afford the cost; it is presently unknown how many  
               students are aware that they can opt-out of paying the  
               SRF.  According to the SSCCC, there is a great deal of  
               support for an increased SRF for the sole purpose of  
               being able to form an organized independent statewide  
               organization.

           3)   Fund balance of current fee viewed from a statewide  
               perspective.   At present, according to unaudited  
               survey information provided by the California  








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               Community College Chancellor's Office, for the  
               three-year period ending with 2011-12, there was a  
               total statewide fund balance of approximately $3.8  
               million - actual fund balance amounts vary among the  
               community college districts that have a student  
               representation fee (SRF) currently in place - and  
               likely understates the actual amount available on a  
               statewide basis.
                
                In an attempt to provide more transparency and review,  
               this bill now requires the community college district  
               (CCD) to annually prepare a summary of all revenue  
               collected from the SRF and the expenditures of the  
               proceeds. The summary shall be presented at the  
               community college district board meeting each year and  
               posted to the CCD Internet Web site.

           4)   Why don't local colleges use a portion of their  
               current SRF fund balance to provide for a statewide  
               advocacy approach for community college students  ?   
               Current law permits the existing fee revenue to be  
               used to "provide support of governmental affairs  
               representatives who may be stating their positions and  
               viewpoints before city, county, and district  
               governments and before offices and agencies of state  
               government."  According to current Student Senate of  
               the California Community Colleges (SSCCC)  
               representatives, many local student body associations  
               (SBA) have been advised by their colleges that  
               expenditures of SRF can only be used for expenses  
               incurred by the specific colleges' student  
               representatives for advocacy approaches consistent  
               with statute, and not for statewide advocacy.  In  
               addition, some colleges do provide some level of  
               financial assistance; however, this type of support  
               varies from year-to-year and does not create a stable  
               funding environment to support on-going statewide  
               advocacy efforts.  

               The author has attempted to partially address this  
               issue by clarifying a SBA may expend current or  
               prospective SRF funds for "?local and statewide  
               student body associations?"  The proposed language is  
               an attempt to clearly permit existing SRF to be used  








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               for statewide purposes, if so directed by the local  
               SBAs; this in part may have the effect of lowering  
               existing fund balances. 

          5)    Senate Education Committee of June 19.   The committee  
               had a robust discussion on the SRF fund balances, the  
               necessity for an additional dollar fee, the concept of  
               community college students having a greater statewide  
               presence, but also the additional fiscal and  
               management accountability that comes with a statewide  
               organization.  Since this time, the representative  
               students and author's office have had numerous  
               meetings, with various entities, on the outstanding  
               issues raised.

               The concept of greater statewide advocacy and uniform  
               representation continues to make sense; however, the  
               bill is vague on the goals of what an independent  
               statewide community college student organization  
               should strive to accomplish.  In addition,  
               transparency and accountability should be cornerstones  
               of a responsible statewide entity.

               Therefore, consistent with subsequent discussions with  
               the author's office, staff recommends the following  
               amendments as refined with assistance from Legislative  
               Counsel:

               a)        On page 3, line 21 after the comma, insert: 
                    With effective student representation and  
                    participation in state-level community college  
                    shared governance and

               b)        On page 3, line 23 after the period insert: 
                    The underlying goals shall include, but are not  
                    limited to: (a) establishing a sustainable  
                    foundation for statewide community college  
                    student representation and advocacy; (b)  
                    promotion of institutional and organizational  
                    memory; (c) insuring and maintaining responsible  
                    community college student organizational  
                    oversight and decision-making; (d) strengthening  
                    regional approaches for college representation  
                    and coordination; (e) promote and enhance student  








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                    opportunities for engagement in community college  
                    student issues and affairs; and (f) provide for  
                    open and public transparency and accountability.

               c)        On page 3, between lines 24 and 25, insert  
                    new subdivisions (d) and (e):
                    (d) Fees collected pursuant to subdivision (c)  
                    shall be distributed to the Board of Governors  
                    annually prior to February 1.  The Board of  
                    Governors shall have custody of the money and  
                    distribute annually to the recognized statewide  
                    community college student organization by April  
                    15 annually, provided that the student  
                    organization shall satisfy specified conditions  
                    as follows: (1) establish itself as a legal  
                    entity type that is registered with the  
                    California Secretary of State; (2) demonstrate  
                    compliance with all applicable state and federal  
                    laws and reporting requirements; (3) exercise  
                    prudent fiscal management by establishing  
                    generally accepted accounting controls and  
                    procedures; (4) complete on an annual basis an  
                    independent financial audit, the results of which  
                    shall be provided to the Board for review each  
                    year and serve as a condition for further funding  
                    provided that the results of the annual audit  
                    identify no significant audit findings; however  
                    in no event shall funds be withheld without the  
                    student organization having the ability to  
                    address and correct any identified concerns,  
                    errors or deficiencies contained in the annual  
                    audit; and (5) meet its obligations and address  
                    the goals identified in subdivision (c) .

                    (e) Meetings of the statewide community college  
                    student organization shall be open to the public  
                    and adhere to Government Code section 54950 et.  
                    seq. and Government Code section 6250 et. seq."
                     
               d)        On page 4, between lines 28 and 29, insert  
                    new subdivisions (h) and (i): 

                    (h) Any costs, incurred by the Chancellor's  
                    office to implement subdivisions (c) and (d)  








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                    shall be reimbursed by the statewide community  
                    college student organization. 

                    (i) In the event no organization that qualifies  
                    for funding in accordance with this section is  
                    recognized by the Board of Governors, funds  
                    collected pursuant to this section shall be held  
                    by the Chancellor's office until such time as a  
                    qualifying organization is recognized, or  
                    returned to the source of funds.

               e)        Two technical changes as follows: 
                               On page 3, lines 18 and 19, strike  
                      "an independent" and insert: a
                               On page 3, line 13, strike  
                      "associations" and insert: organizations

           1)   Student Representative Fee  .  According to the 2012  
               California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office  
               (CCCCO) Student Fee Handbook, a newly formed student  
               government organization cannot order an election for  
               the purpose of having the student body vote to  
               establish a student representation fee (SRF) without  
               having held three prior student body elections.  In  
               specifically requiring three previous student body  
               elections prior to raising the student fee issue, the  
               intent of the Legislature was to ensure meaningful  
               participation in the student body election process.   
               However, under certain circumstances, voting results  
               from student body elections held under a previous and  
               related student government structure may satisfy this  
               requirement.  

               The CCCCO finds that if a CCC district has multiple  
               colleges and a student attends more than one college  
               within the district, that he/she may be responsible  
               for a SRF at each college he/she attends.

           SUPPORT  

          Associated Students of El Camino College
          Associated Students of Pasadena City College
          Associated Students of Los Angeles Trade Technical College
          Associated Students of Modesto Junior College








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          California Community College Association of Student  
          Trustees
          California Federation of Teachers
          California State Student Association
          California Teachers Association
          Coast Community College District Student Council
          Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
          San Jose City College Student Senate
          Santa Rosa Junior College Associated Students
          Student Senate for California Community Colleges
          Student Trustee of Napa Valley College
          University of California Student Association

           OPPOSITION

           Community College League of California