The California State Legislature was busy this session that just concluded considering dozens of proposed education bills that could affect everything from charter schools and mental health support to when the school day should start for middle and high school students.
The OCDE Newsroom has compiled a digest of a few of these bills. We’ve been updating this list throughout the legislative session. Now, here is the final version.
Assembly Bill 8, student mental health: This bill would require, on or before Dec. 31, 2024, a school or a charter school to have at least one mental health professional for every 600 students, generally accessible to students on campus during school hours. (Bill was withdrawn by author)
AB 48, school facilities bond: This bill would put a $13 billion bond for new construction and renovation on the ballot in March 2020. It would put a second bond on the ballot two years later. The bond would provide funding for K-12 and higher education. (Approved by the governor)
AB 331, ethnic studies curriculum: The bill would add the completion of a one-semester course in ethnic studies to the high school graduation requirements commencing with the 2024-25 school year. (Author has withdrawn the bill, promising to bring it back in 2020)
AB 751, optional SAT/ACT 11th-grade tests: The bill would give districts the option of giving the SAT or ACT college entrance exams instead of the Smarter Balanced 11th-grade tests in math and English language arts. More than two dozen school districts already are paying to give the exams to all students, in addition to the state-mandated Smarter Balanced tests. The federal government would have to sign off on the use of a multi-test option for an 11th-grade school accountability measure. (Vetoed by the governor)
AB 1233, AP exam fees: This bill would establish a grant program for purposes of awarding grants to cover the costs of advanced placement examination fees for eligible low-income high school pupils and foster youth high school students. (Vetoed by the governor)
AB 1505, charter school petitions: The bill would give school boards the power to reject a charter school application based on duplication and saturation of charter schools. It also would sharply narrow grounds for appealing charter denials to the State Board of Education. It would set clearer criteria for renewing a charter school and it would require that charter schools hire credentialed teachers for all core academic classes. (Approved by the governor)
Senate Bill 328, school start times: Would require the school day for middle schools and high schools, including those operated as charter schools, to begin no earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, by July 1, 2022. (Approved by the governor)
SB 276, tighter vaccination exemptions: Would authorize a physician or registered nurse employed by the California Department of Public Health to review records of student vaccination exemptions at schools where the immunization rate is below 95 percent, as well as physicians who have granted more than five medical exemptions per year. Parents will be able to appeal a denial of an exemption to a medical appeals board. (Approved by the governor)