BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          SB 946 (Leyva) - Pupil attendance:  service on precinct board
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          |Version: February 3, 2016       |Policy Vote: ED. 8 - 1          |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
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          |Hearing Date: April 11, 2016    |Consultant: Jillian Kissee      |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  This bill allows a school district, under certain  
          conditions, to deem a student participating in independent study  
          if the student serves as a member of a precinct board for an  
          election.  It also allows a school district to include these  
          absences in the computation of average daily attendance (ADA)  
          for which it generates state apportionment funds.  

          Impact:  Unknown, but potentially significant costs in the high  
          hundreds of thousands associated with increased ADA funding.   
          Costs would depend upon the extent to which students who  
          volunteer at polls 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.  This  
          distinction allows school districts to generate associated ADA  
          funding for these absences.  (Proposition 98)


          SB 946 (Leyva)                                         Page 1 of  

          Background:  State aid to school districts for general purposes is driven  
          by the ADA of students in a school district.  ADA is generated  
          by students actually attending classes under the immediate  
          supervision of a properly credentialed teacher.  (Education Code  
           46300, et seq.)
          Existing law:

                 Specifies that excused absences, which include absences  
               due to students serving as a member of a precinct board for  
               an election, shall not generate state apportionment  
               payment.  Current law does allow the student to make up any  
               missed classroom assignments or tests during the absence.  
               (Education Code  48205)

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

                 Establishes that the persons appointed to serve as  
               election officers for each precinct at any election shall  
               constitute that precinct's board (Elections Code Section  

                 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 certain  
               qualifications.  (Elections Code Section 12302)

          Proposed Law:  
            This bill allows a school district to deem a student serving  
          as a member of a precinct board for an election as a participant  
          in independent study if the student: (1) completes all  
          assignments and tests missed during the absence, and (2)  
          completes a report or written assignment on the subject of the  
          activities he or she engaged in while serving as a member of a  
          precinct board for an election. 

          This bill further exempts students serving as a member of a  
          precinct board for an election from the requirement that he or  


          SB 946 (Leyva)                                         Page 2 of  
          she participate in that activity for five or more consecutive  
          schooldays for purposes of computing ADA for students in  
          independent study.  This allows a school district to generate  
          state apportionment funds for these absences.  

          Legislation: This bill is similar to several past bills.  AB  
          2684 (Stone, 2014) failed passage in this committee.  AB 1320  
          (Carter, 2007) failed passage in the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee.  AB 466 (Hancock, 2007), SB 1193 (Bowen, 2006), and  
          AB 1944 (Hancock, 2004) were vetoed by the Governor at that  
          time.  The Governor's veto messages were substantially similar,  
          stating that these volunteer activities should be in addition  
          to, and not in place of, classroom time.

          Comments:  Existing law specifies that an absence due to a  
          student working at polls on Election Day is considered an  
          "excused absence" and therefore not counted towards a student  
          becoming a truant.  However, the law specifically prohibits  
          excused absences from generating ADA funding.  This bill would  
          allow a school to claim ADA for precinct board participation,  
          but only if it is treated as independent study.

          Ultimately the costs of this bill are unknown.  The number of  
          students that volunteer at polls during an election is unknown,  
          and it is unclear how many of them will inform schools ahead of  
          time that they will be absent and will enter into independent  
          study agreements for each student as required by current law.

          Under the state's education funding formula enacted in 2013-14,  
          school districts receive most of their funding based on ADA in  
          four grade spans.  The current base rate for grade span nine  
          through 12 is $8,800 per ADA assuming full implementation of the  
          formula.  Assuming each day of attendance is currently worth $50  
          and one high school student volunteering at each polling  
          precinct (assuming 14,216 precincts as was the case for the  
          November 2014 election) the costs related to ADA funding would  
          be about $711,000.  It should be noted that the ratio of  
          volunteer students to precincts is not typically one to one.   
          Additional costs would be incurred to the extent there was a  
          year with a special election that occurred during the school  


          SB 946 (Leyva)                                         Page 3 of  
          year.  Costs would also increase to the extent these students  
          were classified as English learner, low-income, or foster youth,  
          as they generate more state apportionment funding based on the  
          state's funding formula.

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