Four bills that would affect Glendale students from kindergarten to college passed the Senate Education Committee on March 22.
The bills, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, address enrollment based funding for K-12 schools, the rise in opioid-related deaths among our youth, language barriers for parents with student Individualized Education Plans by providing translation services, and breaking down additional educational barriers for undocumented students.
SENATE BILL 98
SB 98 is a prudent reform bill that would increase funding for K-12 schools by $3.4 billion. The measure bases school funding on enrollment rather than attendance and is similar to SB 830, which Portantino had introduced last year. California is one of six states that does not consider student enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts.
“SB 98 ensures that California schools are funded more equitably and have greater financial stability and predictability,” Portantino said in a statement.
“The current outdated system for determining budgets for K-12 schools is based solely on student attendance and negatively impacts too many low-income students. Many children lack reliable transportation, housing and suffer from health-related issues that contribute to school absences,” he added.
Districts plan their budgets and expend funds based on the number of students enrolled but receive funds based on their average daily attendance. SB 98 remedies this inequity and would define “average daily membership” as the amount of the aggregate enrollment days for all pupils in a school district or county office of education, from transitional kindergarten to grade 12, divided by the total number of instructional days for the local educational agency in an academic year.
“SB 98 will provide new funding to California schools using a more equitable funding calculation to help improve attendance, successfully address chronic absenteeism and better support students in need,” said state Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “It also makes funding more predictable so districts and schools can plan ahead. The estimated $3.4 billion provided by this important legislation will put students and schools on a better path to close opportunity and education gaps.”
SENATE BILL 234
SB 234 addresses the rise in opioid-related deaths by making Naloxen (also known as Narcan) readily available in schools and venues accessed by high-risk age groups. Narcan is a medication that reverses and blocks the effects of opioids and provides the opportunity for medical personnel to intervene. Administering naloxone does not harm individuals without opioids in their system.
The bill requires elementary, secondary schools, charter schools, California community colleges, the California State University, the University of California, independent institutions of higher education, private postsecondary educational institutions, as well as stadiums, concert venues, and amusement parks to maintain unexpired doses of naloxone hydrochloride or any other opioid antagonist on site at all times.
“To combat the ongoing opioid crisis, Naloxone should be readily available in schools, amusement parks, stadiums, concert venues and other locations to significantly reduce opioid-related overdose deaths,” stated Portantino. “Where current law makes it optional to use Narcan for emergency purposes, SB 234 requires that it is readily available. No parent
should worry that a successful emergency treatment isn’t available to help a victim survive an overdose.”
“As the former Deputy Drug Czar under President Clinton, I know firsthand the extent to which substance abuse destroys the lives of individuals and their families,” said state Sen. Thomas J. Umberg, who is a co-author of the bill. “This anguish is only amplified with the inclusion of fentanyl-laced substances in our drug stream. It’s clear that we have a major epidemic on our hands in California — I’m happy to be working with Sen. Portantino to tackle this issue this year.”
SENATE BILL 445
SB 445 addresses language barriers in the Individualized Education Plan process by requiring schools to provide a translated IEP document by a qualified translator within 30 days upon request.
“SB 445 ensures that parents will be able understand their child’s IEP and be involved in their child’s academic life,” stated Portantino. “Language barriers for children who face challenges is a hurdle we need to overcome. We should be doing everything we can early in a child’s academic life to provide the services necessary for them to reach their potential and achieve success.”
“The IEP should be a clear, clarified and connected document between parents, students, and the school,” stated Cedric Nelms, a parent, pastor and community organizer for Innovate Public Schools. “It should be written in a way that includes the parent’s input. It should not be a document that leaves parents and students confused. It should be a document that is an evolving game plan for ultimate success of students and parents.”
SENATE BILL 467
SB 467 promotes equal access to higher education for all Californians by breaking down barriers for undocumented students. The measure prohibits a community college from denying a student access to a career technical education program based on their use of an individual tax identification number in the background check for the associated internship or apprenticeship program.
“Undocumented students are a crucial part of California’s workforce, but often face challenges when trying to access higher education opportunities and securing jobs,” Portantino said. “SB 467 helps address one of these challenges and ensures immigration status is no longer a legal barrier to achieving educational goals.”
“The community colleges are a beacon for all Californians wishing to pursue their higher education and career advancement goals,” Wendy Brill-Wynkoop, president of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, said in a statement. “FACCC remains dedicated to supporting the undocumented students within our system and across our state.”
First published in the March 25 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.