Learn About New Education Laws Taking Effect on January 1, 2013

December 19, 2012

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As 2012 comes to an end, we would like to take a moment to reflect on this year's legislative changes. Thanks to your collective efforts and the support of charter-friendly policymakers, charter schools ended 2012 with few new requirements. We wanted to make sure you are aware of some key new education laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2013 that may impact your school.

AB 1575 (Lara) Pupil Fees. Codifies the constitutional prohibition on the imposition of pupil fees and establishes procedures to ensure compliance with that prohibition. Specifically, it requires schools to include information regarding the prohibition against pupil fees and the complaint procedure in the annual Uniform Complaint Procedure. It also requires the California Department of Education to develop and distribute guidance regarding pupil fees.

AB 1668 (Carter) Accountability. Changes the definition of a dropout recovery high school to mean a school offering instruction in any of grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in which 50% or more of its pupils are either designated as dropouts, as specified, or and were not otherwise enrolled for a period of at least 180 days and the school provides specified instruction, and also includes a high school in which 50% or more of its pupils left a school and were not otherwise enrolled in a school for a period of at least 180 days.

AB 1799 (Bradford) Pupil Records. Requires the former public school or private school to perform a transfer of the pupil's permanent record or copy of it no later than 10 school days, as defined, following the date the request is received.

AB 2109 (Pan) Immunizations. This bill requires parents to discuss immunizations with a health care practitioner if they are opting out of those requirements for their children, as a personal belief exemption, as is allowable under current law. In his signing statement, Governor Brown directed the Department of Public Health to implement this in the least burdensome way to parents.

SB 1016 (Budget Committee) Charter School Loans. This bill was one of the education trailer bills to the budget. One section amends the Charter Schools Act to allow a charter school to contract with a county superintendent of schools or a county board of education for purposes of borrowing money.

SB 1290 (Alquist) Charter School Renewals. This bill amends laws related to measurable pupil outcomes in a school's charter and academic criteria for charter school renewal. SB 1290 was enacted to respond to the assertion of the U.S. Department of Education that California was out of compliance with required assurances in the federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program. Read more information about the implementation of SB 1290.

SB 1458 (Steinberg) Accountability. Assists California in implementing the Common Core State Standards Initiative, update California's Education Code to reflect online learning as a delivery tool, and begin the process of updating the state's API system. This bill moves the API scores towards broader and more holistic measures than just test scores. The State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction will be responsible for determining the new API elements and weights over the next few years.

Suspension and Expulsion Bills The legislature enacted a number of bills related to suspension and expulsion requirements. Most of these bills offer LEA's additional flexibilities from strict requirements of existing law. While these bills do not explicitly apply to charter schools, we list them here because many charter schools mirror district policies in their suspension and expulsion practices.

AB 1729 (Ammiano): Amends Ed Code Sections 48900 and 48900.5. Provides principals and superintendents more discretion to use alternatives to suspension or expulsion, including positive behavior interventions, participation in a program like restorative justice, or a conference with the student's parents, teachers, and school administrators.

AB 1909 (Ammiano): Amends Sections 48853.5, 48911, and 48915.5 of, and adds Section 48918.1 to, the Education Code, and amends Sections 317 and 16010 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. Requires that if a student in foster care is facing suspension or expulsion, the school district would have to contact the student's attorney and the county child welfare agency and invite them to a meeting where the student's case would be discussed.

AB 2537 (PĂ©rez): Amends Sections 48902 and 48915 of the Education Code. Changes zero tolerance laws to give school administrators more flexibility to decide whether to use alternative punishments in lieu of mandatory expulsion, in specific situations. The bill also eliminates the fine against principals who intentionally fail to file a report with local police.

SB 1088 (Price): Amends Section 48645.5 of the Education Code. Prohibits schools from refusing to enroll or readmit students just because they were in the juvenile justice system.

For specific information on any of these bills, including the bill text, please visit the Legislature's bill information website, and look forward to the "2013 California Charter School Laws and Regulations: An Annual Compilation of Selected Provisions."

This handy booklet, which is produced annually by CCSA's Legal Defense Fund in partnership with the law firm Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, is a useful reference for charter school operators and board members. It will contain all the relevant legislative and regulatory changes affecting charter schools in 2013. Look for an announcement of its publication soon.

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