BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair SB 634 (Price) - Schools Safety Plans: Safety Drills Amended: May 1, 2013 Policy Vote: Education 8-0 Urgency: No Mandate: Yes Hearing Date: May 23, 2013 Consultant: Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez SUSPENSE FILE. Bill Summary: SB 634 requires comprehensive school safety plans to include procedures for conducting school safety drills. This bill would require each school during each school year to conduct a minimum number of school evacuation drills relating to fire incidents, as provided, and authorize schools to conduct other specified school evacuations. This bill would further require schools to conduct at least one law enforcement school lockdown drill. Fiscal Impact: Mandate: Potentially significant reimbursable costs incurred by requiring schools to develop procedures for conducting school safety drills, and for requiring schools to conduct at least one law enforcement lockdown drill per year. 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) School districts and COEs, in consultation with law enforcement, are authorized to elect not to 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) SB 634 (Price) Page 1 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 (CDE) by October 15 of every year of any school that is not in compliance. (EC § 32288) Existing law also requires, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, if he or she determines that there has been a willful failure to make any report required in school safety plan statutes, to: a) Notify the school district or county office of education in which the willful failure has occurred; and, b) Make an assessment of up to $2,000 against that school or county office, which may be done by deducting funding from the district's or COE's future apportionment. (EC § 32287). Existing law requires every public, private or parochial school building having an occupant capacity of 50 or more, or with more than one classroom, to have a dependable and operative fire alarm system, and for the fire alarm to be tested at least once a month. Existing law requires a fire drill to be conducted at least once every month at elementary schools and at least four times a year at the intermediate levels. (EC § 32001) Proposed Law: SB 634 requires that, as a component of the comprehensive school safety plan, a school establish procedures for conducting school safety drills. This bill would require each school, during each school year, to conduct a specified minimum number of school evacuation drills relating to fire incidents, and authorize schools to conduct school evacuation drills for other incident types. This bill would also require schools to conduct at least one law enforcement school lockdown drill per school year. The bill would authorize schools, school districts, and COEs preparing for and executing these drills to SB 634 (Price) Page 2 work with local first responders and law enforcement agencies, as specified. Related Legislation: SB 49 (Lieu) 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. This bill is also scheduled to be heard in this Committee on May 13, 2013. 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 educational agency (LEA) reimbursements for the 1,450 mandate claims related to comprehensive school safety plans. This bill places two new requirements on LEAs with regard to their comprehensive school safety plans already mandated in state law. Both are likely to expand the scope of the existing school safety plans mandates and result in significant additional state costs. This bill requires LEAs to establish procedures for conducting school safety drills, including for law enforcement lockdown drills newly required by this bill. This mandate will apply to the more than 10,000 schools in California, and is likely to result in significant reimbursable costs to LEAs. These new duties and requirements will expand the reimbursement level for the existing mandate. Since the mandate has already been proven 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. School districts can also aggregate their costs among all their schools and file a single mandate claim. This bill requires all schools to conduct at least one law enforcement school lockdown drill "to prepare pupils, school personnel, and law enforcement personnel to respond to situations in which conditions inside school buildings are safer than conditions outside school buildings." This requirement is likely to result in reimbursable costs for LEAs to coordinate SB 634 (Price) Page 3 with law enforcement, as well as to plan and conduct the drills. While the bill states that LEAs "may work with local first responders and law enforcement agencies to formulate safety plans and to prepare and execute safety drills," it appears to functionally require that coordination by specifying that part of the purpose of the lockdown drill is to prepare law enforcement personnel to respond to incidents occurring in school campuses. There may be additional costs to LEAs to involve law enforcement personnel, and those costs could be deemed reimbursable.