BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






               SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                 Leroy F. Greene, Chairman
                  1997-98 Regular Session
                              


BILL NO:       SB 187
AUTHOR:        Hughes
AMENDED:       March 4, 1997
FISCAL COMM.:  Yes                      HEARING DATE: March  
12, 1997
URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT: Nancy Anton



  SUMMARY 

This bill requires school districts and county offices of  
education (COE's) to establish school safety planning  
committees, as specified, and  to develop a comprehensive  
school safety plan, as specified.

  BACKGROUND  

Current law expresses the Legislature's intent that all  
public schools develop comprehensive school safety plans  
that address the safety concerns identified by the site  
through a systematic planning process.  Current law  
identifies a number of items these plans may contain  
including (1) a current assessment of school crime, (2)  
strategies and programs that will provide a high level of  
school safety, and (3) specified actions to be taken in  
conjunction with local law enforcement as specified. 

Current law also expresses the Legislature's intent that,  
in developing these plans, school sites use existing  
resources including the materials, services and matching  
grant funds of the School Safety Partnership, which is  
elsewhere provided for in statute.  Existing school site  
councils are expressly authorized to be responsible for  
developing these plans. 

 ANALYSIS  

  This bill  revises, expands and makes mandatory provisions  
of existing law relating to comprehensive safety plans for  









school sites.  Specifically, this bill:

1)   Requires each school site, by September 1, 1998, to  
     develop a school safety plan, as specified, to be  
     updated no less than every three years.   The bill  
     provides that these plans include, but not be limited  
     to, a number of specified components;  (current law  
     only authorizes that safety plans include these  
     components).   The bill requires school sites to  
     submit their completed plans to their districts or  
     COE, and for the districts or COE's to notify the  
     State Department of Education by October 15, 1998 of  
     any school sites which have not so complied. 

2)   Requires each school site to establish a school safety  
     planning committee to develop its plan.  The bill  
     provides that these committees be composed of the  
     principal (or designee), the teacher representative of  
     the recognized certificated employee organization and,  
     a classified employee representative of the recognized  
     classified employee organization and a parent elected  
     specifically for this purpose,  The bill authorizes  
     the committee, by majority vote, to authorize others,  
     as specified, to assist it

3)   Specifies that the collective bargaining process be  
     used to establish the length of time members shall  
     serve on this committee and the process for removing  
     members.

4)   Requires the committee to meet at least every other  
     month.

5)   Requires this committee to consult in writing with law  
     enforcement agencies.

6)   Prohibits the committee from contracting with private  
     consultants to develop its safety plan.

7)   Authorizes existing school committees or councils to  
perform these                                           
responsibilities, provided that they are composed exactly  
as required in                                         this  
bill.

8)   Deletes provisions of current law which express  









     Legislative intent that schools develop safety plans  
     within existing resources and use the resources of the  
     School Safety Partnership which is a joint program  
     between the State Department of Education and the  
     Attorney General designed to develop programs and  
     policies relative to safe schools.

9)    Provides that any school official  who knowingly  
    fails to establish a plan as provided in this bill  
    shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable  
    by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

  STAFF COMMENTS  

1)    Be a Principal, Go to Jail  .  Is it appropriate to  
     provide misdemeanor penalties for administrators who  
     fail to comply with the provisions of this bill?  By  
     this logic, keeping in mind that the primary mission  
     of schools is to educate students, perhaps such  
     penalties should also be applied to teachers who  
     knowingly fail to educate their students?  Does the  
     committee wish to endorse the idea that school  
     personnel  should be jailed for failing to perform  
     specified duties?

2)    Another Committee  ?  This bill requires that a  
     committee be created to carry out the provisions of  
     this bill; where it allows an existing committee to  
     carry out the duties it requires how that committee be  
     constituted.  Current law already provides for a  
     School Site Council; in addition, there are numerous  
     other site and district committees.  Perhaps, more  
     flexibility should be given to sites to use existing  
     committees, rather than creating yet another one.

3)    Do It Yourself  .  The bill prohibits the school safety  
     committees established by this bill from contracting  
     with private consultants to develop their  
     comprehensive school safety plans.  Does this make  
     sense?  Given that teachers and principal's primary  
     training and focus is in educating students -- and  
      should be  in educating students -- are they  
     necessarily the best qualified to develop safety  
     plans?  Would it not make more sense to free them to  
     spend time developing curriculum and preparing lesson  
     plans rather than safety plans?  It may be more  









     expeditious and less costly for a district to contract  
     with an agency specializing in safety and have them  
     work with all of the district's sites in developing  
     such plans.  Should this at least be an option for  
     sites that feel they have neither the time nor  
     expertise to properly develop a comprehensive safety  
     plan?

4)    School Discipline  .  Having a school discipline policy  
     that is publicized and enforced is recognized as a key  
     component to a safe school climate. The bill, however,  
     does not require that disciplinary rules and  
     enforcement procedures be a part of the school safety  
     plan.  Staff recommends that the bill be amended to  
     include this component.

5)    School/Law Enforcement Partnership Program  . The  
     School/Law Enforcement Partnership Program is a joint  
     program between the State Department of Education and  
     the Attorney General designed to develop programs and  
     policies relative to safe schools and to provide   
     matching grants of $5,000 annually to school sites for  
     this purpose.  Approximately 100 school sites are  
     currently participating in this program. The bill  
     deletes reference to this program.  Staff recommends  
     that the bill be amended to restore reference to this  
     program.

  SUPPORT  

California Federation of Teachers
California Teachers Association
United Teachers Los Angeles

  OPPOSITION  

California School Boards Association