BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                                                                      AB 1014

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          1014 (Thurmond)

          As Amended  June 1, 2015

          Majority vote

          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                 |Noes                 |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |Education       |6-0   |O'Donnell, Chávez,   |                     |
          |                |      |McCarty, Santiago,   |                     |
          |                |      |Thurmond, Weber      |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |Appropriations  |12-4  |Gomez, Bonta,        |Bigelow, Gallagher,  |
          |                |      |Calderon, Daly,      |Jones, Wagner        |
          |                |      |Eggman,              |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |Eduardo Garcia,      |                     |
          |                |      |Gordon, Holden,      |                     |
          |                |      |Quirk, Rendon,       |                     |
          |                |      |Weber, Wood          |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |

          SUMMARY:  Establishes the Our Children's Success - The Early  
          Intervention Attendance Pilot Grant Program for the purpose of  


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          helping public schools resolve the attendance problems of pupils  
          in kindergarten through grade 3.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Specifies that the grant program shall be implemented upon the  
            appropriation of sufficient funding.

          2)Provides that a public school, school district or county office  
            of education (COE) maintaining any of grades kindergarten  
            through grade 3 seeking to participate in the grant program may  
            apply to the California Department of Education (CDE) for a  
            grant.  Requires an application submitted by a public school,  
            school district or COE to reflect a plan that may include, but  
            is not necessarily limited to, all of the following:

             a)   Establishment of a training program for key school  
               officials and attendance staff to identify pupils with  
               chronic attendance problems upon their second occurrence of  
               tardiness or absence in a school year, and the mailing of  
               attendance letters to the pupil's home in a timely manner.

             b)   Establishment of a phone call outreach program, including  
               a minimum of two calls from a school official, not limited to  
               a recording, to follow up on those pupils whose attendance  
               problems continue during that school year after the  
               attendance letters are mailed.

             c)   Establishment of a parent advocate position or positions,  
               designated for ongoing follow-up with the pupil and the  
               parent throughout the school year to ensure the pupil's  
               continued consistent school attendance.  The number of these  
               parent advocate positions may vary according to the  
               applicant's needs, resources, and the parent advocate's  
               ability to manage the workload.


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             d)   Establishment of an outreach worker position or positions  
               whose primary job is assisting families with a child or  
               children who have ongoing chronic attendance problems.  The  
               duties of an outreach worker include sending letters, making  
               phone calls and home visits, and helping to connect the  
               family to the appropriate local, state, or federal programs  
               in order to resolve issues that are creating impediments to  
               the child's consistent attendance in school. The number of  
               these outreach worker positions can vary according to the  
               school's needs, resources, and the outreach worker's ability  
               to manage the workload.

             e)   Determination that the applicant's plan is instituted, to  
               the best of the applicant's ability, before a pupil enters  
               the school attendance review board (SARB) process.

             f)   Establishment of a plan for teacher follow-up with pupils  
               with chronic attendance problems to make up for lost  
               instructional time.

             g)   Establishment of a plan to assess trends in attendance and  
               chronic absence rates among pupils who are English learners,  
               eligible for a free or reduced-price meal, or are foster  
               youth, and target resources towards those groups of pupils  
               who are most at risk for ongoing attendance problems.

             h)   Submission of deindentified, aggregate data on chronic  
               absence and attendance rates to the Bureau of Children's  
               Justice within the Department of Justice for inclusion in the  
               report "in School + On Track" prepared by the Office of the  
               Attorney General.  Defines "deidentified" as information that  
               cannot be used to identify an individual student.


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             i)   Establishment of a plan to track both longitudinal, pupil  
               level pupil attendance and aggregate data on tardiness and  
               attendance throughout the school year to determine whether  
               improvement has been made.

          3)Specifies that the grant program established by this section  
            shall not be construed as a replacement of, or a substitution  
            for, the SARB.

          4)Requires the CDE to give priority for awarding grants to those  
            applicants who demonstrate financial need for the grant and with  
            the highest truancy rates in each of the following areas:

             a)   Urban areas.

             b)   Rural areas.

             c)   Suburban areas.

          5)Specifies the following regarding the grants:

             a)   The grants shall be awarded for three years and be used to  
               address the attendance problems of pupils in kindergarten and  
               in grades 1 to 3, inclusive, pursuant to the plans submitted  
               by the applicant.

             b)   Each grant shall be for no more than $500,000.

             c)   Requires the CDE to provide no less than 10 grants and  
               award no more than $5 million in total grant moneys.


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          6)Requires an applicant that receives a grant to submit a report  
            to the CDE at the conclusion of the grant.  Requires the report  
            to specify how the grant funds were used and the strategies  
            employed to address pupil attendance problems.  Requires the  
            report to include pupil attendance data measured both before and  
            after the implementation of the grant.

          7)Requires the CDE to, on or before January 1, 2021, submit a  
            report to the respective Appropriations Committees and Education  
            Committees of the Assembly and the Senate.  Requires the report  
            to evaluate the strategies and the attendance data of the  
            applicants that received funds from the grant program  
            established by this bill.  Requires the report to include, but  
            not necessarily be limited to, a recommendation on whether the  
            grant program should continue.

          8)Sunsets and repeals on January 1, 2022, unless a later enacted  
            statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2022, deletes or  
            extends that date.  

          9)Appropriates an unspecified amount to the CDE for purposes of  
            implementing the Our Children's Success - The Early Intervention  
            Attendance Grant Program.  Expresses the intent of the  
            Legislature that the funds appropriated pursuant to this bill be  
            drawn from sources that may include, but are not necessarily  
            limited to, the General Fund, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools  
            Fund established by Proposition 47 on the November 2014  
            statewide general election ballot, federal and local government  
            funds, and contributions from nonprofit organizations and other  
            private entities.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, General Fund (GF) administrative costs to the CDE of  


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          approximately $600,000 to create and review the application,  
          assist with implementation of the grant and provide technical  
          assistance.  These costs assume applications flow from the  
          district.  CDE anticipates additional staff resources if  
          individual school sites submit applications.  Additional costs in  
          the range of $150,000 to $200,000 to complete the report at the  
          end of the pilot, most likely through a contract.  Proposition 98  
          (1988)/GF costs not to exceed $5 million dollars, contingent upon  
          an appropriation for the purpose of establishing the grant  

          COMMENTS:  Truancy.  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 2012-13, the CDE  
          reported a truancy rate of 29.28%, with 1.9 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 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.  

          In 2013, the Attorney General's (AG's) office released a report  


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          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.

          Purpose of the bill.  According to the author, this bill attempts  
          to improve student attendance while generating needed revenue for  
          schools, and creating brighter, long term outcomes for  
          California's youth.  Schools receive their funding based on  
          average daily attendance (ADA).  According to the AG's report,  
          school districts lost approximately $1.4 billion in the 2010-11  
          school year due to absences.  The author believes that early  
          intervention will not only improve student attendance, it will be  
          a good investment in increasing a school's ADA.

          This bill appropriates an unspecified amount of funds to establish  
          the Our Children's Success - The Early Intervention Attendance  
          Pilot Grant Program.  However, the bill also specifies that the  
          CDE shall not award more than $5 million.  The grant program is  
          intended to provide outreach to pupils from kindergarten through  
          grade 3.  A school, school district or COE interested in receiving  
          a grant must submit an application to the CDE.  The application  
          must include a plan that includes specified components.  

          Some of the components of the plan are already required in current  
          law, including notification to parents by mail or phone call,  
          which takes place upon an initial classification as a truant  
          (tardy 30 minutes or absent without a valid excuse three times).   
          Grant funds will be used for an outreach worker, whose job isn't  
          just to send letters or make phone calls, but also to make home  
          visits and help connect families with social services that may be  
          the cause(s) of attendance problems.  This is similar to the role  


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          of SARBs, which are established by a county superintendent of  
          schools or a school district comprised of representatives of  
          school districts, social services agencies, and law enforcement  
          agencies to evaluate and address a student's attendance problems.   
          Students are typically referred to SARBs after the third  
          classification as a truant (nine tardies or absences). The  
          outreach worker established by this bill would start the  
          intervention earlier.      

          It is not clear what the difference is between the outreach worker  
          and the parent advocate.  It is also unclear whether the parent  
          advocate is a parent or a paid staff position.  If the intent is  
          to provide a paid staff position, the author may wish to  
          incorporate the parent advocate duties with the outreach workers'  
          duties.  If the intent is to recruit parents for this role, the  
          author may wish to consider confidentiality issues and providing  
          training to parents.

          According to the author, this bill is modeled after an attendance  
          program established by the Berkeley Unified School District  
          (BUSD), which spent $100,000 in the first year and saw an increase  
          of $500,000 in ADA the following year.  The author states, "The  
          school district successfully brought the students back into the  
          classroom, while at the same time helping their families address  
          the challenges that lead to the students' attendance problems.   
          Attendance levels at BUSD have remained high due to the school  
          district's focus on holistic solutions to the complex set of  
          problems that cause children to miss school regularly.  Schools  
          and school districts across the country are demonstrating the  
          value of addressing student attendance prior to the point of  
          delinquency.  Early intervention and a broad set of tools is the  
          best way to get children back into the classroom consistently."  

          Analysis Prepared by:                                               


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                          Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087  FN: