Legislative Update: Governor Signs Education-Related Bills That Address Principal Evaluations, Public Contract Bidding Requirements, Design-Build Contracts, API Scores, And Charter Schools

October 21, 2012 | Bulletin No. 1011939.2

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

Evaluations of Principals—SB 1292

The Legislature declared in passing SB 1292 that governing Boards should “establish a uniform system of evaluations to guide principal growth and to improve principal performance while raising pupil achievement.”  SB 1292 is voluntary and districts are not bound to use these SB 1292 provisions.

SB 1292 adds Section 44670 to the Education Code, which allows for evaluation of a school principal annually for the first and second year of a new principal’s employment in a school district.  It is up to the governing Board of a school district to determine the frequency of evaluations at regular intervals after the second year of employment.  Additional evaluations that will occur outside of the regular interval may be agreed upon by the principal and evaluator.  Principals and evaluators may review school progress and success throughout the school year.  Such a review must include goals that are defined by the school.

SB 1292 also adds section 44671 to the Education Code, which provides that criteria for effective evaluations for school principals may be based upon the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.  An evaluation of a school principal may include evidence of the academic growth of students, effective and comprehensive teacher evaluations, culturally responsive instructional strategies, the ability to analyze instructional strategies and provide effective feedback, high expectations to ensure pupil engagement and learning, improvement in instructional strategies, effective school management, meaningful self-assessment, and consistent and effective relationships with staff, teachers, parents, and students.

Public Contracts Bidding Requirements—AB 1565

AB 1565 requires prospective bidders for construction contracts for public school districts to complete a prequalification questionnaire and financial statement for projects of one million dollars or more, from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2019.  AB 1565 adds section 20111.6 to the Public Contract Code and the new law will apply to projects that receive funding from the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 or any funds from a future school bond.  If the governing Board enters into a contract for one million dollars or more funded by the School Facilities Program or future school bonds, it must require prospective bidders to submit a standardized prequalification questionnaire and financial statement that must be verified under oath by the bidder.  The questionnaire and financial statement will not be public record and will not be open to public inspection. 

The governing Board must adopt and apply a uniform system of rating bidders on the basis of the questionnaires and statements, which at a minimum must set out the issues covered by the standardized questionnaire and model guidelines for rating bidders established by the Department of Industrial Relations.  Bids not submitted on standardized proposal forms will be disregarded.  The Board may establish a process for prequalification of bidders on a quarterly or annual basis and shall be valid for one year. 

Section 20111.6 will not apply to school districts with an average daily attendance of less than 2,500.  The new law will only apply to contracts awarded on or after January 1, 2014.


Design-Build Contracts—SB 1509

Current law provides that until January 1, 2014, a governing Board for a school district or community college may enter into a design-build contract for the design and construction of a facility, if statutory-specified requirements are met.  SB 1509 extends the authority for governing boards of school districts and community colleges to enter into design-build contracts until January 1, 2020. 

Although the Legislature has previously stated its intent that the authority to enter into design-build contracts should not be construed to change, extend, or limit any legal responsibility of contractors and public agencies to comply with existing law, SB 1509 specifically provides that “it is the intent of the Legislature that design-build procurement does not replace or eliminate public bidding.”

Current law provides that school districts or community college districts must proceed in a manner specified by statute and that the governing Board must prepare a request for a proposal which sets forth information regarding the scope of a project, including such information as the size of the project, the desired design character of the buildings and site, performance specifications that cover the quality of materials, equipment, and workmanship, building layouts or preliminary plans, and other information that is necessary to describe the district’s needs.  SB 1509 specifically provides, “The request for proposal shall not include a design-build-operate contract for educational facilities pursuant to this chapter.”

API Scores—SB 1458

SB 1458 alters the method by which the Academic Performance Index (API) is calculated.  The API measures the academic performance of schools and of students, and is currently used to rank all public schools for the High Achieving/Improving Schools Program.  Currently, the API consists of a variety of indicators, including graduation rates and student standardized test scores such as the STAR and CAHSEE.  Prior to SB 1458, test results constituted at least 60% of the API.  

SB 1458 eliminates the requirement that API scores be used to measure the progress of specified schools and rank all public schools for the purpose of the High Achieving/Improving Schools Program.  SB 1458 also changes the requirement that standardized testing account for at least 60% of the API to no more than 60% starting in 2016.  

Charter Schools—SB 1290

SB 1290 requires county offices of education or school districts which approve charter schools to take into account subgroup growth when renewing a charter.  This bill is in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s opinion that California law does not comply with federal law in weighing subgroup growth as a factor in determining charter renewal.  The Charter Schools Act of 1992 (“Act”) provides the procedures for submission, review, and approval or denial of a petition to establish a charter school.  One requirement is that the petition must contain measurable pupil outcomes.  SB 1290 adds the requirement that “‘[p]upil outcomes shall include outcomes that address increases in pupil academic achievement both schoolwide and for all groups of pupils served by the charter school,” which “means a numerically significant pupil subgroup . . .  served by the charter school.”

Current law provides that a chartering authority must revoke a school’s charter if it finds there is substantial evidence that the school has committed one of several specified violations.  SB 1290 mandates that “[t]he authority that granted the charter shall consider increases in pupil academic achievement for all groups of pupils served by the charter school as the most important factor in determining whether to revoke a charter.” 

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.


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