September SBE waiver report

Districts once again used waiver requests to seek fiscal relief at the September California State Board of Education meeting. This was especially the case for several small, rural Community Day School programs.

The California state Education Code requires that students expelled from school be provided with educational programs throughout the duration of their expulsion and programs must be separated by grade span - grades K-6 and grades 7-12. In some cases, districts have too few students or too little money to serve students in two separate Community Day School Programs. There is an exception for districts designed as K-8 districts - their CDS programs may serve K-8 students.

The California Department of Education reports that adoption of the 2009 education budget indirectly eliminated the funding waivers that might have made it possible to operate a Community Day School with very low enrollment.

For districts like Trona Joint, Los Molinos, and Lucerne Valley Unified School Districts, allowing grade 7-12 CDS programs to accept students in younger grades relieves the districts from having to operate two separate CDS programs and prevents students from having to commute to locations as far away as two and a half hours one way to receive instruction.

Trona Joint, a very small, rural school district in San Bernardino County, requested the grade 7 - 12 CDS program be expanded to accept 5th and 6th grade students as it is difficult to predict each year whether students in those grades would need service at all, but most likely only one or two students in those grades would be placed in CDS programs. Lucerne Valley's proposal would allow students in the 3rd grade to be served in the grade 7-12 program.

Corcoran Joint USD requested an expansion of the allowable grade span for CDS programs to include 6th graders and also to co-locate the CDS program with its continuation high school to help mitigate the costs of operating two separate schools. Education Code sections 48661 allows a school district with fewer than 2500 students to waive the separation requirement based on certification that separate facilities are not available. Corcoran Joint USD serves around 3200 students.

The two programs in Corcoran would be operated on the same school site but will be separated by a fence and daily schedules that will prevent the students from either program from interacting with each other.

The California State Board of Education approved all four requests under the condition that the waivers be for one year and districts would either request renewal the following year or return to a two school program if financial conditions permit.

The state board took the following actions on waiver requests at the September 2010 meeting:

CHARTER SCHOOL (Advanced Apportionment)

Approved a request Unified School District for a waiver of portions of California Education Code 47652(b) in order to allow the Gompers Preparatory Academy to receive an advanced apportionment for students in the former Gomper's Middle School, now merged with the Gompers Preparatory Academy.

Charter School Program (Reduced Charter Year by Five Days or Less)

Approved a request by Sebastopol Union Elementary School District to waive California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11960(b) to allow Sebastopol Independent Charter to reduce the charter school year to less than 175 days without a fiscal penalty.

The board approved a similar request by Ukiah Unified School District.

Charter School Program (Pupil Teacher Ratios)

Approved a request by Fremont 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 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 Circle of Independent Learning Charter School.

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

Approved a request by Orcutt Union Elementary School District, 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. For kindergarten, the maximum overall class size average is 31 to one with no class larger than 33. For grades one to three, the maximum overall class size average is 30 to one with no class larger than 32. The district requests to increase its maximum overall average to 33 and its maximum individual class size to 35 to one for kindergarten through grade three retroactively for fiscal year 2009-10 and prospectively for 2010-11.

The board approveda similar request by four additional districtsto increase the overall average of students in the classroom ranging from 32 to one to 33 and a max of no more than 35 to one in any one class to one spread over grades kindergarten through three.

Class Size Penalties (Over Limit on Grades 1-3)

Approved a request by Desert Sands Unified School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 41382, to waive portions of Education Code Section 41376 (a), (c), and (d), relating to class size penalties for grades one through three. Allowable class size average is 30 to one with no class larger than 32 for grades one to three. The district requests to increase overall average and individual class size to 33 to one, prospectively, (2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years).

The board approved similar requests by the Los Banos Unified School District to increase overall average and individual class size to 31, prospectively (2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years) and the Richland Union Elementary School District to increase overall average and individual class size to 33, prospectively (2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years).

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

Approved a request by Coalinga-Huron Joint Unified School District to waive portions of California Education Code Section 41376 (b) and (e), relating to class size penalties for grades four through eight. The district's current class size maximum is an average of 29.9 to one and the district requests to increase the average to 34 to one, prospectively (2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years).

The board approved similar requests by an additional eight school districts to increase class sizes in grades four to eight, ranging from 31 to one to 33 to one.

Community Day Schools (CDS) (Collocate Facilities and Comingle Grade Levels)

Approved a Request by Corcoran Joint Unified School District for a waiver of California Education Code Section 48916.1(d) and portions of Education Code Section 48660 to permit the establishment of a community day school for students in grades six through twelve, and portions of Education Code Section 48661(a) relating to the placement of a community day school, Mission Community Day School on the same site as Kings Lake Continuation High School.

Approved a request by Los Molinos Unified School District for a waiver California Education Code Sections 48916.1(d) and portions of Section 48660 to permit a community day school to serve students in grades six with students in grades seven through twelve.

Approved a request by Lucerne Valley Unified School District for a waiver of California Education Code Section 48916.1(d) and portions of Education Code Section 48660 to permit a community day school to serve students in grades three through six with students in grades seven through twelve.

Approved a request by Trona Joint Unified School District for a renewal waiver of portions of California Education Code sections 48660 and 48916.1(d) to permit a community day school to serve students in grades five and six with students in grades seven through twelve at Trona Community Day School.

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

Approved a request by Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District for Vasquez 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).

The board approved similar requests for four additional districts.

Federal Program Waiver (Title I Part A - ARRA Waivers)

Approved a request by 45 local educational agencies to waive up to six types of requirements pertaining to Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act relating to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocations for the 2009-10 fiscal year only.

Independent Study Program (Pupil Teacher Ratios)

Approved a request by Orange County Department of Education to waive Education Code (EC) Section 51745.6 (a) the requirement that the independent study pupil-teacher ratio shall not exceed the equivalent ratio at the largest high school or unified district in the county. The Orange County Department of Education requests an independent study ratio of 35 to one.

Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program (Petition to Purchase Special Education Non Adopted Material)

Approved a request under the authority of California Education Code sections 60421(d) and 60200(g) by Fresno County Office of Education to purchase specified non-adopted instructional materials for severely disabled children using Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program monies.

Physical Education Program (Block Schedules)

Approved a request by Santa Maria Joint Union High School District for a renewal to waive portions of California Education Code Section 51222(a), related to the statutory minimum requirement of 400 minutes of physical education each ten school days for students in grades nine through twelve in order to implement a block schedule at Santa Maria High School and Pioneer Valley High School.

Quality Education Investment Act (Class Size Reduction Requirements)

Approved a request by Big Pine Unified School District to waive portions of California Education Code Section 52055.740(a), regarding class size reduction requirements under the Quality Education Investment Act, that this funded school reduce their class sizes by an average of five students per class by the end of the 2010-11 school year at Big Pine Elementary School (requesting 24:1 ratio on average in grades four through eight). However the SBE only approved an average of 19 to one in grades four through eight , with a maximum of 25 in any one class.

The board additionally approved a similar request by Parlier Unified School District for Parlier High School (requesting 20:1 ratio on average in core classes in grades nine through twelve). However the SBE only approved an average of 19 to one in grades four through eight , with a maximum of 25 in any one class.

Sale or Lease of Surplus Property (Lease of Surplus Property)

Approved a request by Las Lomitas Elementary School District to waive portions of the California Education Code sections 17455, 17466, 17472, and 17475 and all of 17473 and 17474, specific statutory provisions for the sale and lease of surplus property. Approval of the waiver would allow the district to lease a piece of property using a request for proposal" process, thereby maximizing the proceeds from the lease of the former Ladera School site.

School Construction Bonds (Citizens Oversight Comittee - Term Limits)

Approved a request by Moreno Valley Unified School District for a renewal to waive portions of California Education Code Section 15282, regarding term limits for members of a Citizens' Oversight Committee for all construction bonds in the district.

School District Reorganization (Size of Governing Board)

Approved a request by Amador County Office of Education to waive California Education Code sections 1004 and 5020, and portions of sections 5019, 5021, and 5030 that require elections to establish new trustee areas and to reduce the number of governing board members from seven to five.

Schoolsite Council Statute (Shared Schoolsite Council)

Approved a request by Del Norte County Office of Education 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 four small schools: Elk Creek School, McCarthy Alternative Education Center, Del Norte County Community Day School Elementary, and Del Norte County Community Day School Secondary.

The board approved a similar requests by the Plumas County Office of Education and the Maricopa Unified School District.

Schoolsite Council Statute (Number and Composition of Members)

Approved a request by Del Norte County Unified School District under the authority of California Education Code Section 52863 for a renewal waiver of Education Code Section 52852, to allow a reduction in the number and composition of members required for each schoolsite council for two small elementary schools, Margaret Keating Elementary and Mountain Elementary.

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

Approved a request by Southern Trinity Joint 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 three small schools: Van Duzen Elementary School, Southern Trinity High School, and Mt. Lassic Continuation High School.

The board additional approved a request by Yolo County Office of Education to allow one joint schoolsite council with a reduced number and composition to function for two small alternative education schools, Dan Jacobs School and Midtown Community School.

Special Education Program (Algebra I Requirement for Graduation)

Approved a request by Ojai Unified School District to waive California Education Code Section 51224.5(b), the requirement that all students graduating in the 2009-10 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.

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

Approved one new request and one renewal byClovis Unified School Districtto 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 (Educational Interpreter for Deaf and Hard of Hearing)

Denied a request by Clovis Unified School District for a renewal 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.

The board also denieda similar request by Kings County Office of Education.

The board, however, did approvedsimilar renewal requests Hanford Elementary School District and the Sutter County Office of Education.

Special Education Program (Resource Teacher Caseload)

Approved a request by Centralia 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). Elizabeth Martinez is assigned at Walter Knott School.

The board denied the same waiver for two other resource specialists in Centralia Elementary School District when the district failed to provide timely increases instructional aide time when the teachers went over caseload.

State Testing Apportionment Report (CAHSEE)

Approved a request by Arcadia Unified School District to waive the State Testing Apportionment Information Report and Certification deadline of December 31 in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 1225(b)(2)(A) regarding the California High School Exit Examination.

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