BILL ANALYSIS SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Leroy F. Greene, Chairman 1997-98 Regular Session BILL NO: SB 187 AUTHOR: Hughes AMENDED: April 10, 1997 FISCAL COMM.: Yes HEARING DATE: April 16, 1997 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT: Nancy Anton NOTE This bill was heard by the Senate Education Committee on March 12, 1997 but no vote was taken. The bill has been amended since that hearing. 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 evaluated annually and amended, if needed. 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 may be composed of members of an existing committee as long as at a minimum, the following are included as members: the principal (or designee), the teacher who is the representative of the recognized certificated employee organization, the classified employee who is the 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 this committee to consult in writing with law enforcement agencies. 5) Prohibits the committee from contracting with private consultants to develop its safety plan. 6) Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withhold from a school district's apportionment an amount up to half of the district superintendent's annual salary if the district does not establish school safety plans as provided in this bill. These funds would be held in trust until the school safety plan has been established and then released. STAFF COMMENTS 1) Penalty Provisions . The bill provides for up to half of a district superintendent's salary to be withheld if a school site fails to develop a school safety plan in accordance with this bill. The bill also specifies the membership of the site committee responsible for developing the plan. Accordingly, if this committee fails, or refuses to act, the superintendent's salary is jeopardized yet the superintendent cannot change the composition of the site committee. Does this make sense? 2) Another Committee ? This bill, in essence, 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, thereby essentially necessitating the creation of an additional committee. Current law already provides for a School Site Council; in addition, there are numerous other site and district committees. Should more flexibility be given to sites to use existing committees or create a committee composed of members as they see fit rather than create a new committee? 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? It may make more sense to free them to spend time developing curriculum and preparing lesson plans rather than safety plans. Also, 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. Accordingly, staff recommends that the bill be amended to delete this prohibition. 4) Limit Scope of Bill ? This bill is sponsored by the United Teacher of Los Angeles apparently in response to safety concerns within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Since current law expresses the Legislature's intent that all public schools develop comprehensive school safety plans, perhaps a statewide mandate is not necessary and, therefore, the provisions of this bill should be limited to that district which is allegedly unable to comply with the intent of existing law? In this case, the bill could be limited to apply only to district's with an ADA of greater than 500,000. SUPPORT None received on current version of the bill. OPPOSITION None received on current version of the bill.