BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                            Senator Kevin de León, Chair

          SB 49 (Lieu) - School Safety Plans
          Amended: May 1, 2013            Policy Vote: Education 9-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: Yes
          Hearing Date: May 13, 2013      Consultant: Jacqueline  
          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Bill Summary: This bill requires school safety plans to include  
          procedures related to response to a person with a gun on campus,  
          extends from annually to every third year the frequency of  
          review of safety plans, and requires charter school petitions to  
          include a description of a school safety plan.

          Fiscal Impact: Provisions of this bill create new costs and new  
          savings for the state. The realization of savings in certain  
          provisions does not depend upon incurring the costs in other  
          provisions of the bill.
              Extending frequency of school safety plan reviews:  
              Extending the frequency of required reviews from annually to  
              every three years will likely significantly reduce the costs  
              associated with an existing reimbursable state mandate.
              New requirements for school safety plans: Significant costs  
              to expand the scope of an existing reimbursable mandate for  
              which the state currently pays in excess of $3 million,  
              New requirements for charter petitions: Significant costs  
              for charter petitioners, and for existing charter schools to  
              the extent that they do not have school safety plans in  
              place. New requirements may result in a reimbursable mandate  
              on school districts and county offices of education (COEs)  
              in their capacity as charter authorizers. See staff  

          Background: Existing law requires each school district and COE  
          to be responsible for the overall development of all  
          comprehensive school safety plans for its schools. The  
          schoolsite council is required to write and develop a  
          comprehensive school safety plan relevant to the needs and  
          resources of that school.  (Education Code § 32281)


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          School districts and COEs, in consultation with law enforcement,  
          are authorized to elect to not have schoolsite councils develop  
          and write portions of the school safety plan that include  
          tactical responses to criminal incidents. Portions of the safety  
          plan containing tactical responses may be developed by school  
          administrators in consultation with law enforcement. Governing  
          boards are authorized to approve the tactical response portion  
          of the safety plan in a closed session.  (EC § 32281)

          Existing law requires the comprehensive school safety plan to  
          include: (1) an assessment of the current status of school crime  
          committed on school campuses and at school-related functions,  
          and (2) identification of appropriate strategies and programs  
          that will provide or maintain a high level of school safety and  
          detail procedures for complying with existing laws; disaster  
          procedures; policies regarding suspension or expulsion; a  
          discrimination and harassment policy; and, a safe and orderly  
          environment conducive to learning. The comprehensive school  
          safety plan is required to be evaluated at least once a year.   
          (EC § 32282)

          Existing law further requires each school to submit its school  
          safety plan to the school district or COE for approval and  
          requires a school district or COE to notify the California  
          Department of Education by October 15 of every year of any  
          school that is not in compliance.  (EC § 32288)

          Existing law requires governing boards to grant a charter  
          unless: 1) the charter school presents an unsound educational  
          program; 2) the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to  
          successfully implement the program described in the petition; 3)  
          the petition does not contain the number of required signatures;  
          4) the petition does not contain specified affirmations; or, 5)  
          the petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive  
          descriptions of among other elements, the procedures that the  
          school will follow to ensure the health and safety of pupils and  
          staff.  (EC § 47605)  

          Existing law requires the State Board of Education (SBE), in its  
          capacity as a charter authorizer, to develop criteria to be used  
          for the review and approval of charter school petitions  
          presented to the state board. It specifies that the criteria  
          shall address all elements required for charter approval, and  


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          shall define "reasonably comprehensive," for purposes of the  
          required descriptions. (EC § 47605)  

          Existing law requires charter schools to comply with the  
          provisions of their charters and provisions of the Education  
          Code that apply to charter schools. Charter schools are exempt  
          from most laws governing school districts except where  
          specifically noted, including establishing minimum age for  
          public school attendance, specified building code regulations,  
          availability of coverage in a public retirement system, and the  
          Charter School Revolving Loan Fund.  (EC § 47610)

          Proposed Law: SB 49 makes changes to mandatory comprehensive  
          school safety plans. Specifically, this bill:

             1)   Adds to the required components in school safety plans  
               the inclusion of procedures related to individuals with  
               guns on school campuses and at school-related functions,  
               including training programs related to active shooters and  
               active terrorists. 

             2)   Requires the adoption of a plan with the changes  
               proposed by this bill by March 1, 2014, and requires plans  
               to be reviewed and updated by March 1 of every third year  

             3)   Modifies the existing requirement that schools report  
               annually in the school accountability report card the  
               status of school safety plans, to require the status of  
               plans for the upcoming school year to be accurately  
               reported no later than July 31 of every third year.

             4)   Allows school districts to keep confidential information  
               relating to planned tactical responses to criminal  
               incidents from being included at the public meeting  
               currently required prior to the adoption of a school safety  

             5)   Requires each school principal or administrator of a  
               school without a principal to provide written or electronic  
               notice to each teacher and classified employee that the  
               adopted school safety plan is readily available for  


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             6)   Requires each superintendent of a school district or  
               COE, or each administrator in charge, to annually provide  
               written notification, by October 15, to the Superintendent  
               of Public Instruction (SPI) identifying each school that  
               has not accurately reported the status of plans in the  
               school accountability report card.

             7)   Adds to the required elements of a charter school  
               petition development of a school safety plan, which must  
               include specific topics. 

             8)   Requires each principal or administrator in charge of a  
               school without a principal to keep and maintain a copy of  
               the most recent school safety plan for that school, and  
               requires each superintendent of a school district or a COE,  
               or each administrator in charge, to keep a copy of the most  
               recent school safety plan and a copy of every notification  
               sent to the SPI of schools that have not developed school  
               safety plans.

             9)   Requires all related books, documents, records, and  
               other papers kept and maintained to be open for inspection  
               and copying, as specified. 

             10)   Requires the CDE to monitor compliance using an  
               existing monitoring framework.  

             11)   Modifies the requirement that all safety-related plans  
               and materials be readily available for inspection to strike  
               "public" and instead specify that plans are to be available  
               for inspection by law enforcement and school employees.

          Related Legislation: SB 634 (Price) requires schools to conduct  
          specific safety drills, and adds standards for safety drills to  
          the required elements of school safety plans. 
          SB 634 is also scheduled to be heard in this Committee on May  
          13, 2013.

          SB 755 (Lieu) 2011 made numerous changes to the requirement that  
          each school have a school safety plan, and how those plans  
          should be updated, and required the SPI to publish on the CDE  
          website the name of each school reported as not complying with  
          the requirements to adopt, review, and update a comprehensive  
          school safety plan. That bill was held under submission in this  


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          Staff Comments: This bill makes statutory changes to the  
          existing state mandates regarding comprehensive school safety  
          plans. The state has paid nearly $10 million over the past three  
          years in local reimbursements for the 1,450 mandate claims  
          related to mandatory comprehensive school safety plans.

          This bill adds new requirements for comprehensive school safety  
          plans, and new administration, reporting, and notification  
          requirements on school administrators. These new duties and  
          requirements will expand the reimbursement level for the  
          existing mandate. Since the mandate has already been approved  
          and the reimbursement methodology determined, it will be  
          relatively simple for school districts and COEs to show that  
          this bill further increases their mandated duties with respect  
          to comprehensive school safety plans. 

          This bill extends frequency of required reviews from annually to  
          every three years. This provision will likely reduce the costs  
          associated with the existing reimbursable state mandate, because  
          it reduces some of the annual workload to only being required to  
          occur every third year. While this reduction of duties will  
          likely offset the mandate expansion in other provisions, the  
          reduction does not depend on that expansion. In other words, the  
          frequency of reviews can be extended, leading to state savings,  
          without placing in law new requirements that will lead to new  
          state costs.

          Charter school petitions are currently required to include "a  
          reasonably comprehensive description of the procedures that the  
          school will follow to ensure the health and safety of pupils and  
          staff." This bill adds, as part of that requirement, that a  
          charter school petition specifically include a comprehensive  
          school safety plan that adheres to the requirements of this  

          The fiscal impact of this requirement on charter schools will be  
          determined by local decisions and actions regarding the  
          evaluation of a charter's comprehensive school safety plan as  
          part of its petition. The fiscal impact on the state, in turn,  
          will be determined by the extent to which authorizers (often  
          school districts) that do incur significant new costs file  
          successful mandate claims seeking state reimbursement. While the  


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          bill's requirements appear to be on charter schools, they have a  
          ripple effect that necessarily results in requirements on the  

          The local costs incurred by existing charter schools have been  
          deemed by the Commission on State Mandates to not be  
          reimbursable state mandates because charter schools choose to  
          form and operate. Similarly, groups attempting to establish new  
          charter schools would bear these costs themselves. It is not  
          clear, however, if new requirements on school districts that  
          have authorized charter schools and are statutorily bound to  
          consider their renewal or revocation would be eligible for  
          reimbursement for the cost of any new activities that could  
          result from this legislation. Any school district or COE that  
          may receive a new charter proposal in the future may have to  
          take on new activities in anticipation of receiving charter  
          proposals, whether or not it ever does. Associated costs across  
          school districts can be aggregated in a mandate claim.

          Charter petitions are very extensive documents which lay out a  
          charter's goals, the details of how its proposed education  
          program would be implemented, and descriptions of various  
          aspects of how the school itself will run. While there are  
          statutory requirements for what must be included in a charter  
          petition, those elements are subject to local interpretation as  
          to whether a proposed charter has met all of the requirements. A  
          school district receiving a charter petition may deny a charter  
          after determining, using its own standards for evaluating the  
          statutory components, that a charter does not meet certain  
          criteria, only to have the SBE decide that the charter does meet  
          that criteria because the SBE has evaluated the same component  
          in a different way.

          Charter schools are statutorily bound to operate consistent with  
          the policies, procedures, and educational programs committed to  
          in the charter proposal; thus, numerous areas of the proposal  
          can be subject to scrutiny and discussion, and can potentially  
          become reasons for denial. If a charter is denied, the denial  
          can be appealed to the COE or the SBE.

          At a minimum, authorizers would have to formally develop  
          criteria for evaluating whether a charter has provided a school  
          safety plan that meets the requirements of this bill. As a  
          practical matter, charter authorizers will also need to  


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          communicate their expectations for fulfilling the provisions to  
          existing charter school administrators (who will need to include  
          new information in renewals), and individuals proposing new  
          charters. This bill changes the work of charter petitioners; new  
          charter schools will have to commit to a school safety plan very  
          early in a school's planning process, and possibly before the  
          school has secured a physical site for locating the school.