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Bill would protect adult education while extending local control

Posted on 04/08/2013

California Capitol dome
CA Capitol
OTAN | R Bayne

A bill (SB 223 External link opens in new window or tab) authored by Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) will allow school districts to continue to have discretion over how to spend billions of dollars in categorical funds. It repeals current operation of categorical flexibility "Tier III" as of June 30, 2015, and replaces it with a new flex and accountability program beginning in 2015-16 through 2019-20. An amendment by Sen. Liu will reinstate protections for adult education. During a recent hearing, Sen. Liu said she was open to reinstating protections for even more programs.

According to the committee's analysis External link opens in new window or tab, the bill would connect fiscal flexibility over categorical funding with an accountability system.  More specifically, it begins to make the connection between providing school districts greater fiscal discretion with funds from over 40 categorical programs, while insuring sound accountability approaches are adhered to, and that any local plan is developed with input from parents and teachers. School districts must apply for the "flexibility," the State Superintendent must ensure local plans meet agreed to pre-conditions in order for the district to participate in obtaining maximum flexibility, and a school district that obtains flexibility must agree to demonstrate various goals, including but not limited to, significant progress toward pupil proficiency in the state standards, narrowing of achievement gaps, fiscal solvency, and improvement in career technical preparedness.

The bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee, which Sen. Liu chairs, on a unanimous 9-0 vote and will next be heard in the Appropriations Committee.