SB/AB 86 Prioritizes Pupil Groups and Students Eligible for Individualized Education Programs
Senate Bill 86 and Assembly Bill 86 (“SB/AB 86”) — legislation addressing K-12 school funding — will likely be finalized and signed into law by the end of this week (i.e., March 5, 2021). This legislation incentivizes re-opening of schools to in-person instruction, and also makes available funding for supplemental instruction, among other emphasized programming. For a comprehensive summary of SB/AB 86, please see our alert here. This Alert focuses on program funding for prioritized pupil groups and students eligible for individualized education programs (“IEPs”).
SB/AB 86 adds Education Code section 43520 (among other sections), which encourages local educational agencies (“LEAs”) to prioritize pupils who would benefit the most from in-person instruction, including pupils with disabilities, youth in foster care, homeless youth, English language learners, pupils from low-income families, pupils without access to a computing device, software, and high-speed internet necessary to participate in online instruction, “disengaged pupils,” credit-deficient high school pupils, pupils at risk of dropping out, pupils with failing grades, and pupils identified as needing social and mental health supports.
Newly added Education Code section 43522 requires an LEA that receives funds from the $6.5 billion apportionment for the 2020–21 fiscal year to implement a learning recovery program that, at a minimum, provides supplemental instruction (which includes services provided pursuant to an individualized education program) and support for social and emotional well-being, among other objectives. This programming must target pupils who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, English learners, foster youth, homeless pupils, pupils who are individuals with exceptional needs, pupils at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, disengaged pupils, and pupils who are below grade level, among other prioritized groups. This funding may be used for a number of purposes, which include:
- Extending instructional learning time;
- Accelerating progress to close learning gaps through tutoring or other programs;
- Providing integrated pupil supports, such as mental health services;
- Implementing community learning hubs that provide pupils with access to technology, high-speed internet, and other academic supports; and
- Training school staff on strategies, including trauma-informed practices.
Additionally, certain funding is earmarked for hiring paraprofessionals to provide supplemental instruction and support. Supplemental instruction and support must be prioritized for English learners and pupils who have IEPs.
LEAs that receive funds from the $6.5 billion apportionment must adopt a plan for how the funds will be used in compliance with section 43522. This plan must provide supplemental instruction and support in a tiered framework in a positive school climate. The State Superintendent must make a plan template available via the California Department of Education website within 21 days of the legislation’s effective date. LEAs must adopt a plan by June 1, 2021.
Should you have any questions about SB/AB 86, please feel to contact one of the Alert’s authors or an AALRR attorney with whom you work.