BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                    AB 1012


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          Date of Hearing:  May 20, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          1012 (Jones-Sawyer) - As Amended May 6, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill prohibits, starting with the 2016-17 school year, a  
          school district maintaining any of grades 7 to 12 from assigning  
          any students to any "course period without educational content"  








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          for more than one week in any semester, or to a course that the  
          student has previously completed with a grade sufficient to meet  
          the A-G requirements and graduation requirements, unless  
          specifically authorized per requirements of the bill.  
          Specifically, this bill:





          1)Defines "course period without educational content" as one  
            course period during which any of the following occurs: the  
            pupil is sent home or released from campus before the  
            conclusion of the designated schoolday; the pupil is assigned  
            to service, instructional work experience, or to a course that  
            has a different name, but involves the pupil providing  
            assistance to a certificated employee in a situation in which  
            the ratio of pupil to employee is greater than one to one; or  
            the pupil is not assigned to any course for the relevant  
            course period.



          2)Sets forth reasons why a pupil may be assigned to a course  
            without educational content  and requires the principal or  
            assistant principal to certify and place the rationale in the  
            students cumulative file.



          3)Clarifies a school district is not prohibited from  
            establishing and offering evening high school classes,  
            independent study, courses of work-based learning or work  
            experience, or distance learning if the program otherwise  
            meets all of the requirements of law governing that program.



          4)Excludes pupils enrolled in an alternative school, a community  








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            day school, a continuation high school or an opportunity  
            school from provisions of the bill.



          5)Sets forth an expedited Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP)  
            process: 



             a)   Requires the local education agency (LEA), within five  
               days of receipt of a complaint, to conduct a complete  
               investigation, issue a written decision, and if the agency  
               determines the complaint has merit, report back to the  
               Department of Education (CDE) regarding the basis for the  
               complaint, the findings and the remedy provided.  



             b)   Authorizes a complaint to be appealed to the CDE, who  
               shall issue a written decision within 30 days of receipt of  
               the appeal.   



             c)   Requires the LEA, if the CDE renders a decision in favor  
               of the complainant, to immediately convene a local  
               assistance committee to develop a written plan to ensure  
               that the school district satisfies the requirements of the  
               complaint. Establishes the membership and stakeholders  
               involved in the committee, including a CDE representative.  
               Requires the committee to complete the plan no later than  
               21 days after the CDE makes the determination.



             d)   Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI)  
               to prepare an annual report detailing actions taken  
               pursuant to the UCP process and submit to the Legislature. 








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             e)   Provides the SPI with all power and authority necessary  
               to effectuate these requirements.



          6)Requires the SPI to adopt regulations to establish procedures  
            governing specified provisions, including the form of the  
            certifications required by the bill and the new UCP. 



          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Administrative costs to the CDE, potentially in excess of  
          $800,000.  Currently CDE does not have a unit tasked with the  
          specific requirements of the bill. CDE indicates they would need  
          substantial resources, potentially five to eight research  
          consultants and legal staff, to adequately review UCP appeals.  
          CDE staff would also be required to participate in local  
          assistance committees under the new UCP process established by  
          this bill. In order to meet the 21-day requirement for  
          developing an action plan for the school, multiple local  
          assistance committees will likely be convened at the same time.  
          Sufficient CDE staff would need to be available to travel on  
          short notice to participate in these committees. 


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. According to the author, thousands of high school  
            students across California are tracked into so-called  
            "classes," where they are given meaningless "credits" for  
            sitting at home, in the office, or taking a course they've  
            already passed.  School districts have given these courses  








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            different names ("home," "service," "work-experience,"  
            "college," "adult") and many of the affected students need  
            real, academic classes to fulfill graduation or college access  
            requirements. This bill would prohibit this practice unless  
            the principal can certify why a student needs to be placed in  
            such classes.


          2)Pending litigation. This bill addresses one of the five parts  
            of the Cruz v. State of California, a class action lawsuit  
            filed May 29, 2014, in Alameda County Superior Court against  
            the state on behalf of students in seven schools in four  
            school districts: Oakland Unified School District (USD); Los  
            Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), West Contra Costa  
            USD, Compton USD.


            The plaintiffs allege that the state has violated the Equal  
            Protection clauses of the state constitution by failing to  
            provide students with basic educational opportunities equal to  
            those that other students elsewhere in the State receive with  
            regard to meaningful learning time.  They allege that this  
            lack of instructional time is due to several factors.


            On February 5th of this year, the plaintiffs filed a motion  
            for a preliminary injunction.  On April 24th, Alameda County  
            Superior Court Judge George C. HernŠndez, Jr. denied this  
            motion, stating that "If, at this stage, Plaintiffs cannot  
            supply reliable evidence regarding the actual practices of  
            most California high schools with regard to the use of  
            contentless classes and the timely implementation of  
            appropriate master schedules, the court lacks a fair standard  
            against which to measure the performance of Plaintiff's own  
            high schools and cannot determine, even preliminarily, whether  
            Plaintiffs have some possibility of prevailing on their  
            claims." The plaintiffs have until June 16, 2015, to appeal  
            the denial of their motion for preliminary injunction. If the  
            plaintiffs do not appeal, they will continue with discovery on  








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            all allegations of the complaint. 

            According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, the Legislature  
            approved $3.4 million in the current year for the CDE and SBE  
            to contract for legal services related to this case, and the  
            Governor's Budget proposes providing an additional $3.7  
            million for this contract in 2015-16.  

          3)Uniform Complaint Procedures Process. The UCP was established  
            in 1991 as a means of creating a "uniform system of complaint  
            processing" for educational programs. The authority for this  
            process is located in regulations, not state statute.   
            Complaints permitted under this process include violations of  
            state law regarding certain educational programs,  
            discrimination, harassment and civil rights. Parents,  
            students, employees, and community members can file complaints  
            on behalf of themselves or on behalf of another individual.   
            Most procedural activities required under the state's UCP have  
            been found to be reimbursable state mandates. 



          4)Related Legislation:






             a)   AB 379 (Gordon), pending in this committee, establishes  
               an expedited UCP process requiring action within five days  
               for complaints alleging violations of certain educational  
               rights afforded to students in foster care and students who  
               are homeless.



             b)   AB 304 (Garcia), pending in this committee, establishes  
               an expedited UCP process, requiring action within five days  








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               with regard to lactation accommodations for students. 



             c)   AB 907 (Burke), pending in this committee, extends the  
               existing UCP process to financial aid recipients enrolled  
               in COE programs in order to comply with federal  
               requirements. 



             d)   AB 1391 (Gomez), pending in this committee, authorizes  
               complaints regarding local education agency (LEA)  
               noncompliance with the physical education instructional  
               minute requirement to be filed under the Uniform Complaint  
               Procedures (UCP) process.
          Analysis Prepared by:Misty Feusahrens / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081