May 2011 SBE waiver report

Seeking ways to reign in expenses while still adequately serving special education students during the summer months, the California State Board of Education approved waivers earlier this month allowing districts to cut the number of days of service required.

State regulations require districts to provide extended year services to students who require special education and related services in excess of the regular academic school year. Specifically, 20 days during the summer months for typically 4 hours per day.

ESY programs take place between the close of one academic year and the beginning of the next," similar to a summer school. But, unlike regular summer school, districts must provide an ESY program if a student's individualized education program requires the student attend school for the additional days.

All of the districts requesting the waiver were approved by the state board at their May meeting with the condition that they provide the same or more minutes of instruction as would be provided in a 20-day ESY program.

Three of the districts will provide 5.5 hour days for 15 days and one district will provide 4.75 hours for 16 days.

To varying degrees, all of the districts claim that reducing the number of days would achieve substantial savings related to transportation, utilities, janitorial, food service, administrative, and clerical support- while not affecting the overall quality and provision of services to special education students.

Gateway Unified School district argued that many of their special education students require designated instructional services which are challenging to provide in a 4 hour day. Many DIS services include speech and language, occupational therapy, psychological and counseling services.

Some of the districts requesting waivers serve students in remote locations with long bus rides that can be detrimental to more medically fragile students. Specifically, Gateway Unified School District in Shasta County serves many medically fragile students who require round trip bus rides of up to three hours every school day.

Extending the ESY school day, district officials argued, will allow special education providers to serve more students and reduce the number of days students must be transported these long distances.

Moreover, the Imperial COE argued that there is a drop in attendance during the final week of an ESY program.

Below is a complete wrap-up of waiver actions taken at the May SBE meeting:

Class Size Penalties (Over Limit on Grades 4-8)

Approved with conditions requests by nine districtsto waive portions of California Education Code Section 41376 (b) and (e), relating to class size penalties for grades four through eight. The board approved the waiver with the conditions that the class size penalty in grades four through eight be waived provided the class size average is not greater than the recommended new maximum average for each district.

Class Size Penalties (Over limit on Kindergarten - Grade 3)

Approved with conditions requests by four districts, under the authority of California Education Code Section 41382, to waive portions of Education Code sections 41376 (a), (c), and (d) and 41378 (a) through (e), relating to class size penalties for kindergarten through grade three. The board approved the request with the conditions that the class size penalty in kindergarten through grade three will be waived provided that the overall average and maximum class size is not greater than the new CDE recommended class size for each district.

Charter School Program (Pupil Teacher Ratio)

Approved a request by Alpaugh Unified School District to waive portions of California Education Code Section 51745.6, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 11704, and portions of Section 11963.4(a)(3), related to charter school independent study pupil-to-teacher ratios to allow an increase from a 25:1 to a 27.5:1 pupil-to-teacher ratio at California Connections Academy Schools.

Federal Program Waiver (Title I Part A)

Approved requests by fifty-eight local educational agencies to waive up to two types of requirements pertaining to Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the 2010-11 fiscal year only.

Federal Program Waiver (Carl D. Perkins Voc and Tech Ed Act)

Approved a request by Southern Humboldt Joint Unified School District for South Fork Junior-Senior High School for a waiver of Section 131(c)(1) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-270.)

Instructional Time Requirement Audit Penalty (Below 1982-83 Base Minimum Minutes)

Approved a request by Placer Hills Union Elementary School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 46206 to waive the Longer Year audit penalty in Education Code Section 46200(c) for offering less than the required instructional days in the 2007-08 fiscal year at Weimar Hills School, for students in grades four and five (shortfall of one day).

Out-of-State Use of Funds and Transportation Allowances

Approved a request by Siskiyou County Office of Education to waive a portion of California Education Code Section 35330(d) to authorize expenditure of school district funds for students to travel to Oregon to attend curricular and extracurricular trips/events and competitions.

Physical Education Program (Block Schedules)

Approved a request by San Juan Unified School District for a renewal to waive portions of California Education Code (EC) Section 51222(a), related to the statutory minimum of 400 minutes of physical education required each ten days for students in grades nine through twelve in order to implement a block schedule at Del Campo, Mesa Verde, Casa Roble and Encina Preparatory High Schools.

Principal Evaluation and Assessment (Extend Timeline of Evaluation)

Although recommended for denial, the board approved arequest by Lincoln Unified School District to waive California Education Code (EC) Section 44663(b) evaluation dates of June 30 and July 30 for non-instructional certificated employees so that Standardized Testing and Reporting test results for the year may be included in the evaluation criteria for those management employees.

Quality Education Investment Act (Class Size Reduction Requirements)

Approved with conditions a request by Corcoran Joint Unified School District to waive California Education Code Section 52055.740(a), regarding class size reduction requirements under the Quality Education Investment Act, that Corcoran High School reduce its class sizes by an average of five students per class by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

The board approved the request with the conditions that: (1) This waiver applies only to classes in grades nine, ten, and twelve at Corcoran High School (HS); (2) Corcoran HS reduce the average class size at the school level to 24.0 students per classroom in grades nine and ten and 21.0 students per classroom in grade twelve in the 2010-11 school year and in all subsequent years in which the school receives Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding; (3) No class at Corcoran HS may exceed 25 students; and (4) Within 30 days of approval of this waiver, Corcoran Joint Unified School District (USD) must provide to the CDE a description, including costs covered by QEIA funds, of professional development activities and any other school improvement activities added to the school improvement plan as a result of the additional funding, if any now available through this waiver of the class size reduction requirement.

Approved with conditions a request by Twin Rivers Unified School District to waive California Education Code Section 52055.740(a), regarding class size reduction requirements under the Quality Education Investment Act, that Harmon Johnson Elementary School reduce its class sizes by an average of five students per class by the end of the 2011-12 school year.

The board approved the request with the conditions that: (1) This waiver applies only to classes in grades four, five, and six at Harmon Johnson Elementary School (ES); (2) Harmon Johnson ES reduce the average class size at the school level to 25.0 students per classroom in grades four, five and six in the 2011-12 school year in which the school receives Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding; (3) No class at Harmon Johnson ES may exceed 25 students; and (4) Within 30 days of approval of this waiver, Twin Rivers Unified School District must provide to the CDE a description, including costs covered by QEIA funds, of professional development activities and any other school improvement activities added to the school improvement plan as a result of the additional funding, if any now available through this waiver of the class size reduction requirement.

School Accountability Report Card (February 1 Timeline)

Approved a request by fifty-four local educational agencies to waive portions of California Education Code sections 35256 (c) and 35258 regarding the annual deadline to make the annual School Accountability Report Card available in hard copy and on the Internet by February 1.

School District Reorganization (Allocation of existing bonded indebtedness)

Approved with conditions a request by Washington Unified School District to waive portions of California Education Code sections 35576 and 35784 to allow allocation of existing bonded indebtedness to be unaffected by lapsation and unification of school districts.

School District Reorganization (Lapsation of a Small District)

Approved a request by West Fresno Elementary School District to waive portions of California Education Code sections 35780 and 35782, which require lapsation of a district with an average daily attendance of less than six.

School District Reorganization (Size of Governing Board)

Approved with conditions a request by Mendocino County Office of Education to waive California Education Code Section1004 that requires an election to reduce the number of governing board members from seven to five.

School District Reorganization (Election of board members) (Elimination of election) and (Effective date)

Approved a request bySanta Barbara Secondary School District to waive all of California Education Code Section 35101 and portions of California Education Code sections 35100 and 35737 regarding election of governing board members; all of California Education Code Section 35710.51 and portions of California Education Code Section 35710 regarding elimination of election requirement; and portions of California Education Code Section 35534 regarding effective date of reorganization.

School District Reorganization (Election of Governing Board)

Approved a request by Central Union Elementary School District to waive California Education Code Section 5020, and portions of sections 5019, 5021, and 5030, that require a district-wide election to establish new trustee areas.

Schoolsite Council Statute (Number and Composition of Members)

Approved with conditions a request by Maple Creek Elementary School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 52863 for a waiver of Education Code Section 52852, to allow a reduction in the number and composition of members required for a schoolsite council for a small rural school, Maple Creek Elementary School.

The board approved with conditions a similar requestby the Mariposa County Office of Education.

Schoolsite Council Statute (Shared Schoolsite Council)

Approved with conditions a requestby Hanford Elementary School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 52863 for a renewal waiver of Education Code Section 52852, allowing one joint schoolsite council to function for two schools: Hanford Elementary Community Day School and Hamilton Elementary School.

The board approved similar requests by the Washington Unified School District .

Schoolsite Council Statute (Shared Schoolsite Council with Reduced Number and Composition)

Approved with conditions a requestby Mariposa County Unified School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 52863 for a waiver of Education Code Section 52852, allowing one joint schoolsite council with a reduced number and composition to function for two small schools: Yosemite Park High School and El Portal Elementary School.

The board approved similar requests by Mariposa County Unified School District and Washington Unified School District.

Special Education Program (Algebra I Requirement for Graduation)

Approved with conditions a requestby Lassen County Office of Education to waive California Education Code Section 51224.5(b), the requirement that all students graduating in the 2010-11 school year be required to complete a course in Algebra I (or equivalent) to be given a diploma of graduation, for one special education student based on Education Code Section 56101, the special education waiver authority.

The board additionally approved similarrequests by Lindsay Unified School District, Natomas Unified School District, and Wheatland Union High School District.

Special Education Program (Child Specific/ NPA or NPS Certification)

Although recommended for denial, the board approved a request by San Diego Unified School District under authority of California Education Code Section 56101 for renewal of a "single child waiver" of Education Code Section 56366.1(a), the certification requirement for a nonpublic residential school, Judge Rotenberg Center, located in Canton, Massachusetts to allow one student (student number 010292026) to attend that school using special education funds. This request is also made to waive Education Code Section 56520(a)(3), California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 3052(a)(5), and Section 3052(l), to allow the use of aversive treatment for this student's self-injurious behavior.

Special Education Program (Educational Interpreter for Deaf and Hard of Hearing)

Approved with conditions a requestby Riverside County Office of Education to waive California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 3051.16(b)(3), the requirement that educational interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing pupils meet minimum qualifications as of July 1, 2009, to allow specific individuals to continue to provide services to students until June 30, 2011, under a remediation plan to complete those minimum qualifications.

Special Education Program (Extended School Year (Summer School))

Approved with conditions a request by El Centro Elementary School District to waive California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 3043(d), which requires a minimum of 20 school days of attendance of four hours each for an extended school year (summer school) for special education students. The board approved the district's request to provide extended school year (ESY) services for 16 days rather than 20 days with the condition that special education and related services offered during the extended year period are comparable in standards, scope, and quality to the special education program offered during the regular academic year.

The board approved similar requests by Gateway Unified School District for 15 days, Shasta County Office of Education for 15 days, Imperial County Office of Education 16 days and Madera County Office of Education for 15 days.

Special Education Program (Resource Teacher Caseload)

Approved a request by Mill Valley Elementary School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 56101 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 3100 to waive Education Code section 56362(c), allowing the caseload of the resource specialist to exceed the maximum caseload of 28 students by no more than four students (32 maximum). Yasuko Morimoto is assigned to Tamalpais Valley Elementary School.

Special Education Program (Non Public Agency (NPA or School (NPS) Annual Renewal of Certification)

Approved a request by San Mateo County Special Education Local Area Plan (SELPA) under authority of California Education Code Section 56101 to waive Education Code Section 56366.1(h), the August through October 31 time line for an annual certification renewal application, for Maxim Healthcare Services, a nonpublic agency.

Special Education Program (Resource Teacher Caseload)

Approved with conditions a request by Waterford Unified School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 56101 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 3100 to waive Education Code Section 56362(c), allowing the caseload of the resource specialist to exceed the maximum caseload of 28 students by no more than four students (32 maximum).

State Meal Mandate (Summer School Session)

Approved a request by fourteen school districts under the authority of California Education Code Section 49548 to waive Education Code Section 49550, the State Meal Mandate during the summer school session.

The board denied similar requests by Summerville Union High School District and Temple City Unified School District.

State Testing Apportionment Report (CAHSEE)

Approved a request by ten local educational agencies to waive the State Testing Apportionment Information Report deadline of December 31 in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11517.5(b)(1)(A) regarding the California English Language Development Test; or Title 5, Section 1225(b)(2)(A) regarding the California High School Exit Examination; or Title 5, Section 862(c)(2)(A) regarding the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program.

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