BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1643
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 1643 (Buchanan)
          As Amended  August 19, 2014
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |60-9 |(May 29, 2014)  |SENATE: |35-0 |(August 25,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2014)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    ED.

          SUMMARY  :  Adds a representative of the county district  
          attorney's office and a representative of the county public  
          defender's office to county and local school attendance review  
          boards (SARBs) and makes changes to the provisions governing  
          SARBs.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Specifies that a county SARB may accept referrals or requests  
            for hearing services from one or more school districts within  
            its jurisdiction.  Specifies that a county SARB may be  
            operated through a consortium or partnership of a county with  
            one or more school districts or between two or more counties.

          2)Requires a representative of the county district attorney's  
            office and a representative of the county public defender's  
            office to be added to the county SARBs, or, if more than one  
            county is represented, a representative from each county's  
            district attorney's office may be included.

          3)Specifies that for the purposes of conducting hearings, the  
            chairperson of the county SARB is authorized to determine the  
            members needed at a hearing, based on the needs of the pupil,  
            in order to address attendance or behavioral problems.

          4)Specifies that for the purposes of conducting hearings, a  
            county SARB may meet as needed.

          5)Authorizes a representative of the county district attorney's  
            office and a representative of the county public defender's  
            office to be added to the local SARBs, or if more than one  
            county is represented, a representative from each county's  
            district attorney's office may be included.

           The Senate amendments  strike the requirement that a county SARB  








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          be established in each county and strike all the provisions  
          related to the requirement.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, potentially significant local costs to counties that  
          have SARBs and elect to continue them, to ensure compliance with  
          these provisions.  Likely minor additional costs to the  
          California Department of Education (CDE) to provide technical  
          assistance to county offices of education to ensure a county  
          SARB complies with the requirements of this bill.

           COMMENTS  :  When this bill passed the Assembly, the bill required  
          a SARB to be established in each county.  Amendments adopted by  
          the Senate Appropriations Committee removed the requirement and  
          reverted the bill back to current law authorizing county SARBs  
          to be established in each county.  The current version of the  
          bill adds a representative of the county district attorney's  
          office and a representative of the public defender's office to  
          the county SARB and authorizes the two representatives to be  
          included in a local SARB.  This bill also makes a few  
          clarifications regarding the operations of county SARBs,  
          including that a county SARB may accept referrals for hearings  
          from school districts and may be operated through a consortium  
          with school districts or other counties.   

          California's compulsory education law requires all students  
          between the ages of six and 18 to attend school full-time and  
          their parents and legal guardians to be responsible for ensuring  
          that children attend school.  A student who is absent from  
          school without a valid excuse for more than 30 minutes on three  
          days in a school year is considered a truant.  Parents or legal  
          guardians are notified when their children has been classified  
          as a truant and are reminded of their obligation to compel the  
          attendance of pupils at school.  Upon a pupil's third truancy in  
          a school year and following a district's conscientious effort to  
          hold a conference with the parent or legal guardian of the pupil  
          and the pupil, a pupil is classified as a habitual truant and  
          may be referred to a SARB or to the local probation officer.   
          Upon a fourth truancy, students and/or their parents or legal  
          guardians may be fined.  In 2011-12, the CDE reported a truancy  
          rate of 28.5%, with 1.829 million students out of a total  
          enrollment of 6.2 million considered truants.  

          According to the CDE, students who are chronically absent in  
          lower grades are much less likely to be proficient readers and  








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          have higher levels of suspensions.  Chronic absence in the sixth  
          grade is the most predictive indicator that a student will not  
          graduate from high school.  

          California established a SARB process over 30 years ago to  
          provide intensive guidance and coordinated community services to  
          meet the needs of students with school attendance or school  
          behavior problems in an effort to prevent a student from  
          dropping out of school.  A county superintendent of schools may  
          convene a county SARB.  A county SARB or a local school district  
          governing board located in areas where there is not a county  
          SARB may authorize the establishment of one or more local SARBs.  
           Some areas of the state have both county and local SARBs while,  
          in other areas, a county or regional local SARB provides  
          services to multiple school districts.  The Superintendent of  
          Public Instruction is required to coordinate and administer a  
          state SARB to encourage the cooperation, coordination and  
          development of strategies to support county SARBs in carrying  
          out their responsibilities to establish local SARBs, which may  
          include training of SARB personnel.  
          
          SARBs meet with referred pupils and their parents or legal  
          guardians to assess their personal and family situations that  
          may cause pupils to be tardy or absent from school on a regular  
          basis and identify community or public resources that may help  
          pupils improve their attendance in school, or refer pupils to  
          law enforcement agencies, if necessary.  Successful SARBs are  
          those that have a prevention and intervention focus with the  
          goal of getting students back in school.      

          Existing law requires county SARBs and authorizes local SARBs to  
          include, but need not be limited to, specified members from  
          school, local law enforcement, and community and county service  
          agencies, as follows:   

          1)A parent.

          2)A representative of school districts.

          3)A representative of county probation department.

          4)A representative of county welfare department.

          5)A representative of county superintendent of schools.
          6)A representative of law enforcement agencies.








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          7)A representative of community-based youth service centers.

          8)A representative of school guidance personnel.

          9)A representative of child welfare and attendance personnel.

          10)A representative of school or county health care personnel.

          11)A representative of school, county, or community mental  
            health personnel.

          When SARBs were initially established, county SARBs received  
          funding from the state.  Due to budget constraints, funding was  
          eliminated over 20 years ago.  Some county SARBs have been  
          eliminated as a result of the loss of funding.  There is no  
          statewide data available, but it is estimated that between 30%  
          to 50% of the 58 counties do not have SARBs.  It is unclear how  
          many local SARBs are established in counties where there are no  
          county SARBs.    

          This bill is part of a package of truancy-related bills  
          sponsored by Attorney General (AG) Kamala Harris.  Last fall,  
          the AG's office released a report titled, In School and On Track  
          on truancy of elementary school kids.  Calling it a crisis, the  
          AG argues that truancy at the elementary level has negative  
          impacts on the students, who are more likely to drop out of high  
          school; on public safety, when students become more likely to  
          become involved with gangs, substance abuse, and incarceration;  
          on school districts, who lose attendance dollars; and on the  
          economy, due to lost economic productivity and revenues.  

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087  



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