Legislative Update: Education-Related Topics Including Economic Impact Aid, Campus-Based Mandatory Fees For California State University, Charter Schools That Serve At-Risk Pupils, Child Abuse Reporting Requirements and Private Postsecondary Education

December 21, 2012 | Bulletin No. 1013321.2

KMTG is continuing our series reviewing new legislation.  Unless noted otherwise, the new laws take effect January 1, 2013.

Economic Impact Aid—SB 754

SB 754 adds section 54029 to the Education Code to address the conditions for receipt of economic impact aid.  Economic impact aid is provided to school districts based on the number of English learners and economically disadvantaged pupils enrolled in a school district. 

SB 754 provides that, as a condition of receipt of economic impact aid funds, a school district must post on its website, in an easily accessible location, data concerning the impact aid funding.  A school district must show the amount of economic impact aid allocated to the district and the amount used by the school district for administrative costs in that fiscal year.  The website must also show the amount of economic impact aid that has been expended in the current and prior fiscal year by the district for limited-English-proficient pupils and specify how much was expended for this purpose by each school within the district.  The website must also reflect the amount of economic impact aid expended for state compensatory education for the current and prior fiscal year and specify how much was expended by each school within the district.  The amount of unexpended economic impact aid must also be listed as well as an explanation as to why the funds have not been expended.    

Campus-Based Mandatory Fees for California State University—SB 960

SB 960 adds section 89711 to the Education Code to provide that a California State University campus-based mandatory fee that was established by a majority vote of the members of the student body, but was not specifically authorized by statute, cannot be reallocated without an affirmative vote of the student body or a campus fee advisory committee, which has been established under the policies of the California State University, voting on the fee reallocation. 

However, a fee may be reallocated without a vote of a majority of the members of the student body or the campus fee advisory committee “if the vote that established the fee authorized an alternative or automatic reallocation mechanism for that fee.”

Charter Schools That Serve At-risk Pupils And Are Chartered by the LACBOE—SB 298

Current law allows charter schools serving at-risk pupils that operate under a charter that was approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Education prior to June 1, 1997, to operate until June 30, 2013.  Existing law also provides that the county board of education must approve specified charter schools to continue to operate after June 30, 2008.  SB 298 allows specified charter schools to operate until June 30, 2018, provided that they have the approval of the county board of education to continue to operate after June 30, 2013.  

SB 298 also extends the requirement “that the attendance of pupils in a charter school to which this section applies shall be funded at the same rates for the same categories of pupils as community schools and community day schools in the same county” through the 2017-18 fiscal years.  The Legislature finds and declares in SB 298 “that a special law is necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique circumstances resulting from the intensely urbanized nature of the County of Los Angeles.”

Child Abuse Reporting Requirements for Athletic Personnel—AB 1435

The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires a mandated reporter to report that a child has been the victim of child abuse or neglect when the reporter in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment has knowledge of such abuse or neglect or reasonably suspects such abuse or neglect.  Failure to report child abuse or neglect under this provision is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months, a fine of $1,000, or both. 

AB 1435 amends section 11165.7 of the Penal Code to add to the list of classes of persons that are included within the definition of a “mandated reporter,” athletic coaches, athletic administrators, or athletic directors who are employed by any public or private school that provides any combination of instruction for kindergarten, or grades 1 to 12, inclusive.

Private Postsecondary Education—AB 2296

The California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 provides protections for students and regulatory oversight of private postsecondary schools within California. 

AB 2296 amends the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, specifically Education Code sections 949897, 94909, 94910, 94911, 94928, 94929.5, and 97929.7, and adds section 91913 to the Education Code.  AB 2296 requires that an unaccredited postsecondary institution issuing an associated, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree must tell prospective students whether the degree program is unaccredited.  The institution must also inform a student that “[a] degree program that is unaccredited or a decree from an unaccredited institution is not recognized for some employment positions, including, but not limited to, positions with the State of California” and that a student who is enrolled in an unaccredited institution is not eligible for federal financial aid programs.  The institution must also inform students whether a graduate of the degree program will be eligible to sit for the applicable licensure exam in California or other states.

If the institution participates in federal financial aid programs, AB 2296 requires it to disclose “the most recent three-year cohort default rate reported by the United States Department of Education for the institution and the percentage of enrolled students receiving federal student loans.”

The new law also revises the definition of the phrase “graduates employed in the field” for the purposes of the Act to include “graduates who are gainfully employed in a single position for which the institution represents the program prepares its graduates within six months after a student completes the applicable educational program.”  If the graduate is seeking employment for an occupation for which the state requires the graduate to pass an examination, the period of employment will not begin “within six months of the announcement of the examination results for the first examination available after a student completes an applicable educational program.” 

By July 1, 2014, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education must define specific measures and standards for determining whether a student is “gainfully employed” in a full-time or part-time position for which the institution represents the program prepares its graduates.  The bureau is not prohibited from authorizing an institution to aggregate single positions for purposes of meeting the hours per week standards established by the bureau to be considered as full-time or part-time employment. 

If an institution maintains a website, it must provide the school catalog, the School Performance Fact Sheet for each of its educational programs, student brochures that the institution offers to students, a link to the website for the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, and the institution’s most recent annual report that it submitted to the bureau. 

What This Means To You

Board policies and administrative regulations should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the newest changes in the law.  School administration and staff should be updated as to any changes so that the appropriate policies are consistently followed.  KMTG attorneys are available to assist in review and revision of Board policies and regulations.

Questions

If you have any questions concerning the content of this Legal Alert, please contact the following from our office, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.

Christian M. Keiner or Meghan Covert Russell | 916.321.4500