Thursday, August 17, 2006


Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
    Senator Kevin Murray, Chairman
                           1381 (Nunez)
          Hearing Date:  8/14/06          Amended: 8/8/06
          Consultant:  Bob Franzoia       Policy Vote: Ed  7-2
          BILL SUMMARY: AB 1381, to be known as the Gloria Romero  
          Educational Reform Act of 2006, relating to the governance of  
          the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), would do the  
          1) Revise the authority and duties of the Board of Education  
          (BOE) inspector general.
          2) Create a Council of Mayors (COM) comprised of mayors from  
          each city within the attendance boundaries of LAUSD, who elect  
          to participate, and each member of the Los Angeles Board of  
          Supervisors whose district overlaps the attendance boundaries.
          3) Require the mayors' act by majority of the weighted vote of    
          the total membership of the COM and provide that the appointment  
          of the district superintendent shall be ratified by the COM.  
          4) Permit the district superintendent of the LAUSD to request,  
          after a public hearing, that the State Board of Education (SBE)  
          waive all or part of the Education Code, except as specified  
          (generally authority of a governing board to seek waivers and  
          personnel contracts for classified employees), and would deem  
          the waiver granted for two years, if the SBE fails to take  
          action on the request by its second regular meeting, or 60 days  
          after, receipt of the request, whichever comes first.
          5) Authorize the superintendent to make employment decisions  
          related to all certificated and classified management personnel  
          of his or her office and to assign principals. 
          6) Authorize the BOE to employ a pool of administrative staff to  
          serve all members of the board, require staff to report to the  
          board as a whole, and prohibit an individual member of the board  
          from employing individual staff.  
          7) Require the superintendent to make all employment decisions  
          for all nonrepresented LAUSD personnel.  
          8) Require the superintendent to develop and manage a facilities  
          program for the LAUSD.
          9) Require the LAUSD and the COM conduct, by 1/1/2008, the first  
          periodic comprehensive, identification, mapping, and assessment  
          of available services for children and require the LAUSD and the  
          COM identify private resources to conduct the assessment.
          10) Grant the superintendent authority to negotiate and execute  
          contracts, except collective bargaining contracts, on behalf of  
          the LAUSD, and report all executed contracts to the LAUSD BOE.
          11) Authorize the COM to create a committee of parents of  
          students in the LAUSD to provide input on the education related  
          matters considered by the COM and on the effective delivery of  
          services.  The LAUSD would be required to assist the COM in  
          conducting outreach to parents in creating such a committee. 
          12) Require the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, in partnership  
          with the LAUSD, to, as part of a demonstration project, have  
          oversight over three clusters of the lowest-performing schools  
          in different geographic areas with the City of Los Angeles.
          13) Specify the purposes of the demonstration project, and  
          require all authority exercised by the LAUSD board and the  
          superintendent with respect to the schools in
                                   - 1 -
          Page 2
          AB 1381 (Nunez)
          the demonstration project to be transferred to the partnership,  
          as   specified.
          14) Require the Legislative Analyst to contract for an evaluator  
          to conduct an interim evaluation of the effectiveness of  
          specified LAUSD programs to be completed by 1/1/2008, and  
          conduct a final evaluation by 1/1/2011.
          15) Provide the article shall remain in effect until 1/1/2011.
 Fiscal Impact (in thousands)
           Major Provisions         2006-07      2007-08       2008-09     Fund
 State mandates
           - COM support         Unknown new program or higher  
                                 of service
          - LAUSD/COM parent     Unknown, potentially significant  
            outreach             potentially on going
          - LAUSD/COM services   Unknown, potentially major cost one  
            assessment           by 1/1/2008 (cost pressure to the  
                                 private funds are not secured)
          - Facilities program   Unknown, potentially major costs  
          ongoing General
                                                 (see staff comments)
          - community partnership            Estimated $360  
          - community partnershipPotential mandate to LAUSD for  
            administration       istrative support of partnership schools
          LAO assessment oversight       $125 annually through 1/1/2011    
                  assessment contract         $200         $400  $400    
          * Proposition 140        
          STAFF COMMENTS: This bill meets the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.
          The optional inspector general would have access to all  
          contracts and contracting processes in order to enable review  
          for violations of law or conflicts of interest and shall report  
          quarterly to the BOE regarding any findings.  These reports  
          would be provided to the COM.  Because the LAUSD has the option  
          of appointing an inspector general, any requirements placed on  
          the position by the bill would not be a new program or higher  
          level of service and thus not reimbursable.
          It is unclear if the bill limits or otherwise defines the duties  
          of affected local entities as they relate to this bill.  This  
          leaves numerous, and potentially very costly, decisions with
                                   - 2 -
          Page 3
          AB 1381 (Nunez)
          the Commission on State Mandates.  For example, given that most  
          mayors are likely not familiar with the operations of a school  
          district, mayors may seek advisors to help them make informed  
          decisions relating to their duties on the COM.  (The same may  
          apply to members of the LA County Board of Supervisors.)  These  
          duties would include ratification of a superintendent, budget  
          approval, and review of the SARC.   How the Commission on State  
          Mandates would interpret the scope of the mandate, and a request  
          for reimbursement, is unknown. 
          The bill fragments lines of responsibilities such that it is  
          unclear who parents with concerns about the education of their  
          children are to contact.  For residents of the City of Los  
          Angeles, will they be able to contact the mayor with their  
          concerns.  For non Los Angeles residents, is it their mayor who  
          does not have authority to hire the superintendent?  Is it the  
          BOE which would have its authority limited by the bill?  The  
          only concession is that the bill provides that the COM, in the  
          course of conducting its duties, may create a committee of  
          parents in the LAUSD, to provide input on the education related  
          matters considered by the COM.  The bill requires the district  
          to assist the COM in conducting outreach to parents in the  
          creation of that committee.  At best, this committee enables  
          parents to contact other parents.  Staff recommends the  
          committee consider amending the bill as follows:
          Education Code 35911 (h) is added to read:
                        (h)  The district superintendent shall establish  
          an Office of Parent Communication which may be staffed by an  
          ombudsperson or similar employee.  The office shall assure that  
          the district complies with the processes for receiving and  
          addressing parent complaints set forth in Section 35186 and  
          shall assure that the district complies with the requirements  
          regarding parent information and the rights of parents to  
          participate in the education of their children set forth in  
          Section 51101.  The office shall regularly report to the  
          district superintendent and to the board regarding the  
          district's compliance with those sections.
          Education Code 35931(a) (3) is added to read:
                        (3)  The full-time district employee specified in  
          paragraph (2) shall perform the functions of the Office of  
          Parent Communication set forth in subdivision (h) of Section  
          35911 for the cluster of schools to which he or she is assigned.
          Staff notes any proposal to maintain parental access creates a  
          potentially costly mandate.
          The bill requires the superintendent to develop and manage a  
          facilities program for the LAUSD.  The program may include, but  
          not be limited to, the development of a strategic plan regarding  
          facilities for the LAUSD and the management of all phases of  
          construction of school facilities of the district.  (Staff notes  
          it is unknown if it is the intent of the author to create a new  
          program with new authority or transfer existing authority.)   
          This requirement raised two concerns.  First, it creates a  
          potentially open ended
                                   - 3 -
            Page 4
          AB 1381 (Nunez) 
          mandate whose costs may only be determined at some later date by  
          the Commission on State Mandates.  Second, it is not clear if  
          the BOE continues to maintain its current authority e.g., to  
          place school construction bonds on the ballot, to impose  
          developer fees, to locate schools, etc.  Staff recommends the  
          committee decide how to address these conflicts.  If the  
          committee decides the superintendent is the appropriate entity  
          to manage a facilities program, some limits should be imposed in  
          order to prevent the potential for a major mandate claim in  
          future years.  At the same time, the committee should decide  
          what authority will be retained by the BOE and what authority  
          will be provided to the superintendent.
          Staff recommends a general amendment to clarify that where the  
          bill does not specify a transfer of duties or responsibilities,

all powers shall remain with the BOE.
          The bill provides that the COM is subject to the Brown Act and  
          the Political Reform Act.  Staff recommends the bill be amended  
          to add the Public Records Act.
          In addition, the administrative costs of the Mayor's community  
          partnership program also could be a reimbursable mandate as it  
          establishes a parallel administrative structure for managing the  
          low-performing schools. Since the bill requires the transfer of  
          all authority of the BOE and superintendent to the partnership    
          (except for collective bargaining) which is headed by the Mayor,  
          it's not clear whether these mandated costs could be paid with  
          Proposition 98 funds.  The bill does state that the schools in  
          the partnership would be funded "with existing resources," which  
          is interpreted to mean the schools remain eligible for  
          Proposition 98 funds.  Staff recommends the bill be amended to  
          clarify that the partnership would be recognized as a local  
          educational agency for the purposes of Proposition 98 and that  
          all costs of the partnership be funded from existing resources.
          It is unclear how the partnership, a  
          "district-within-a-district" will co-exist with the LAUSD.  For  
          example, who will have responsibility for maintenance?  Who will  
          have responsibility for staff development, curriculum decisions,  
          collecting and submitting data, providing the accounting and  
          other fiscal accountability duties of the district, and so  
          forth?  As noted in the Fiscal Impact, creation of the  
          partnership could create new Proposition 98 mandates for LAUSD,  
          separate from those of the partnership, because of the need to  
          work with this new "district" in determining  
          roles/responsibilities and the ongoing management partnership.
          The bill requires the LAO   to contract for an evaluator to  
          develop a progress report on the implementation of the specified  
          programs to be completed by 1/1/2008, conduct a final evaluation  
          by 1/1/2011, and report to the Legislature with recommendations.  
            Oversight of an evaluation of this scope would likely require  
          a full time staff person.  To evaluate the reforms, it would be  
          important to understand how the governance changes led to the  
          program changes underlying any changes in outcomes or processes. 
           Thus, it would be best to have an evaluator on board early in  
          the reform process, requiring funding in 2006-07.  Given that  
          the LAO spent $1 million over three years to evaluate charter  
          schools, this evaluation would be at least as expensive.  It is  
          possible, however,
                                   - 4 -
          Page 5
          AB 1381 (Nunez)
          given the timing of the next district superintendent's contract  
          as noted above, initial change may not occur until 1/1/2010.   
          Staff recommends the bill be amended to let a contract and  
          conduct the evaluation only upon selection of the superintendent  
          by the COM. Additionally, staff recommends the bill be amended  
          to require the SDE be the contracting entity.  The SDE has an 
          evaluation division that has successfully contracted for  
          significant studies of special education, Proposition 227, and  
          school accountability, among others.  An advisory committee with  
          the LAO and the Department of Finance would provide legislative  
          and fiscal oversight.

No comments: