BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 946             
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          |Author:    |Leyva                                                |
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          |Version:   |February 3, 2016                         Hearing     |
          |           |Date:      March 16, 2016                            |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     | Yes            |
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          |Consultant:|Lynn Lorber                                          |
          |           |                                                     |
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          Subject:  Pupil attendance:  service on precinct board


            SUMMARY
          
          This bill deems a student who is serving as a member of a  
          precinct board for an election to be participating in  
          independent study for purposes of calculating average daily  
          attendance, and thus allows the school district to generate  
          state apportionment payments for the student's absence.

            BACKGROUND
          
          State aid to school districts for general purposes (revenue  
          limit funding) is driven by the average daily attendance (ADA)  
          of the school district.  Average daily attendance is generated  
          by students actually attending classes "under the immediate  
          supervision" of a properly credentialed teacher.  (Education  
          Code  46300, et seq.)

          Existing law:

          1)   Provides that excused absences shall not generate state  
               apportionment payment, but does allow the student to make  
               up any missed classroom assignments or tests during the  
               absence.  (EC  48205)

          2)   Establishes that the absence of a student is to be excused  
               when the absence is:








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                  a)        Due to his or her illness, or quarantine under  
                    the direction of a county or city health officer.

                  b)        For the purpose of having medical, dental,  
                    optometric, or chiropractic services rendered.

                  c)        For the purpose of attending the funeral  
                    services, as specified.

                  d)        For the purpose of attending jury duty.

                  e)        Due to the illness or medical appointment of a  
                    child of whom the student is the custodial parent.


                  f)        For justifiable personal reasons, including an  
                    appearance in court, observation of a religious  
                    holiday or ceremony, or attendance at an employment or  
                    educational conference, as specified.

                  g)        For the purpose of serving as a member of a  
                    precinct board for an election pursuant to Elections  
                    Code Section 12302. 

                  h)        For the purpose of spending time with an  
                    immediate family member who is an active duty member  
                    of the military, as specified.  (EC  48205)

          1)   Requires that the attendance of students participating in  
               independent study be included in the calculation of average  
               daily attendance (ADA) only if those students participate  
               for five or more consecutive schooldays.  (EC  46300)

          2)   Authorizes an elections official to appoint up to five  
               students per precinct, subject to the approval of the  
               governing board of the local educational agency in which  
               the student is enrolled if the student meets the following  
               qualifications:

               a)        Is at least 16 years of age at the time of the  
                    election.

               b)        Is a United States citizen, will be a citizen at  
                    the time of the election, or is lawfully admitted for  








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                    permanent residence.

               c)        Is in good standing attending a public or private  
                    secondary educational institution.

               d)        Has a grade point average of at least 2.5.   
                    (Elections Code  12302)

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill deems a student who is serving as a member of a  
          precinct board for an election to be participating in  
          independent study for purposes of calculating average daily  
          attendance, and thus allows the school district to generate  
          state apportionment payments for the student's absence.   
          Specifically, this bill:

          1)   Prohibits a student serving as a member of a precinct board  
               for an election through independent study from being  
               required to participate in that activity for five or more  
               consecutive schooldays if the student is required to do  
               both of the following:

                    a)             Complete all assignments and tests  
                    missed during the absence.  

                    b)             Complete a report or written assignment  
                    on the subject of the activities engaged in by the  
                    student while serving as a member of a precinct board  
                    for an election.




          2)   Requires the teacher of any class from which a student is  
               absent to ensure that the assignments and tests are  
               reasonable equivalent, but not necessarily identical, to  
               the assignments and tests that the student missed during  
               the absence.

          3)   Requires the teacher of any class from which a student is  
               absent to ensure that the report or written assignment is  
               submitted within a reasonable time after the activities are  
               completed.








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          4)   Provides that an absence due to a student serving on a  
               precinct board, who meets the requirements of this bill,  
               shall be computed as average daily attendance (ADA),  
               thereby generating state apportionment payments.

          5)   Deletes reference to an obsolete section of the Education  
               Code relative to computing attendance.

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1)   Need for the bill.  According to the author, "According to  
               the California Civic Engagement Project, only 52% of the  
               eligible Californians aged 18-24 are registered to vote,  
               and just 8.2% actually cast a ballot in the last statewide  
               election.  The Center for Information and Research on Civic  
               Learning and Engagement found that there is a clear  
               relationship between a student's high school civic  
               education experience and their political participation.   
               Currently, an excused absence for serving as a student poll  
               worker does not allow school districts to receive average  
               daily attendance payments.  This omission suggests that  
               schools are not incentivized to promote student  
               participation in polling places during elections."

          2)   California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning.  This task  
               force was established in 2013 by California Chief Justice  
               Cantil-Sakauye and the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
               to explore and elevate the status of civic learning and  
               engagement in California.  The task force produced a  
               report, Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California,  
               that made several recommendations to improve civic learning  
               in all schools.  The Power of Democracy Steering Committee,  
               led by California Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, will work  
               to implement the recommendations contained in this report.   
               http://www.powerofdemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/C 
               LTF-Final-Report.pdf  

               According to the Power of Democracy website, the following  
               core activities (the Six Proven Practices) are shown to  
               improve the quality and effectiveness of civic learning  
               both in and out of the classroom and ultimately build a  
               stronger and more engaged society:









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               a)        Classroom instruction in government, history, law  
                    and democracy combining formal instruction of fact and  
                    documents with illustration and discussion  
                    demonstrating their relevance and application in  
                    today's society.

               b)        Discussion of current events and controversial  
                    issues, including their relevance to young people's  
                    lives.

               c)        Service learning experiences that are directly  
                    linked to curriculum and instruction and provide  
                    students a chance to apply what they are learning.

               d)        Extracurricular activities that give students  
                    opportunities to get involved in their schools and  
                    communities and work together toward a common goal.

               e)        Student participation in school governance to  
                    cultivate a sense of responsibility and give students  
                    an opportunity to participate in the management of  
                    their own classrooms and schools.

               f)        Simulations of democratic processes that allow  
                    students to participate in simulated voting, trials,  
                    legislative deliberation, and diplomacy.

          3)   Average daily attendance.  Existing law provides that the  
               computation of average daily attendance (ADA) is to include  
               the attendance of students participating in independent  
               study for five or more consecutive days.  This bill allows  
               students to participate in independent study to serve on a  
               precinct board for fewer than five days, and provide that  
               this participation is to be included in the computation of  
               ADA.  

          4)   Missed assignments and tests.  This bill requires the  
               teacher of any class from which a student is absent for the  
               purpose of serving on a precinct board to ensure that the  
               assignments and tests are reasonable equivalent, but not  
               necessarily identical, to the assignments and tests that  
               the student missed during the absence.  This provision is  
               consistent with existing law regarding excused absences.









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          5)   Fiscal impact.  According to the Senate Appropriations  
               Committee analysis of nearly identical prior legislation,  
               this bill would impose "unknown, but potentially  
               significant, increase in ADA to the extent that students  
               who volunteer at polls during an election decide to  
               complete assignments as required by this bill in order to  
               have their absence from school treated as "independent  
               study" instead of simply an excused absence.  For each of  
               those instances, a school would receive ADA for that  
               student.

          "This bill's costs will not simply be driven by the number of  
               students that volunteer at polls on Election Day, but  
               rather the number that participate in a school's  
               independent study assignments in order to generate ADA.   
               The number of students that volunteer at polls during an  
               election is unknown, and it is unclear how many of them  
               will let schools know ahead of time that they will be  
               absent and will enter into independent study agreements."

          6)   Related legislation.  SB 1014 (Liu) authorizes a school to  
               grant parental leave to a student who is a parent, and  
               provides that such absences generate ADA if the school  
               district files an expectant and parenting student policy to  
               the California Department of Education.  SB 1014 is  
               scheduled to be heard by this Committee on March 16, 2016.

          AB 1593 (Obernolte) authorizes an absence by a student for the  
               purpose of attending the student's naturalization ceremony  
               to become a United States citizen to be deemed an excused  
               absence.  AB 1593 does not provide that such as absence  
               generate average daily attendance (ADA).  AB 1593 is  
               pending in the Assembly Education Committee.

          7)   Prior legislation.  AB 2684 (Stone, 2014) was nearly  
               identical to this bill.  AB 2684 was held on the Senate  
               Appropriations Committee's suspense file.

          AB 466 (Hancock, 2007) was nearly identical to this bill and was  
               vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  The veto message read:

                    I vetoed substantively similar bills in prior years.   
                    This bill would allow schools to receive funding for  
                    times when students are volunteering as elections  








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                    precinct board members through independent study  
                    programs.  While civic and other volunteer activities  
                    can offer many educational opportunities to students,  
                    these activities should be in addition to, and not in  
                    place of, valuable classroom learning time with a  
                    teacher.  Independent study programs are intended to  
                    help schools address the needs of students who are  
                    unable to attend school in a traditional classroom  
                    setting for an extended period of time - not to be  
                    used as means to circumvent the fulfillment of  
                    criteria for instruction required in order to receive  
                    school funding.

               AB 1320 (Carter, 2007) deemed a student serving as a member  
               of a precinct board for an election or engaging in other  
               leadership or civic engagement activities to be  
               participating in independent studies for the purpose of  
               calculating a school district's average daily attendance.   
               AB 1320 was held on the Assembly Appropriations Committee's  
               suspense file.

               SB 1193 (Bowen, 2006) was nearly identical to this measure  
               and was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  The veto  
               message was identical to the veto message for AB 466  
               (Hancock, 2007).

               AB 1944 (Hancock, 2004) provided that the computation of  
               average daily attendance is to include a student serving as  
               a member of a precinct board for an election.  AB 1944 was  
               vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, whose veto message read:

                    This bill would allow schools to receive funding for  
                    time when students are volunteering as an elections  
                    precinct board member. While civic and other volunteer  
                    activities can offer many educational opportunities to  
                    students, these activities should be in addition to,  
                    and not in place of, valuable classroom learning time  
                    with a teacher.
          



            SUPPORT
          








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          American Civil Liberties Union
          Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles
          California School Employees Association
          California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla
          League of Women Voters of California
          Los Angeles County Office of Education
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
          Rock the Vote
          Shasta County, County Clerk/Registrar of Voters

            OPPOSITION
           
           None received.


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