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AB-379 Foster youth: homeless children or youth: complaint of noncompliance: exemption from local graduation requirements.(2015-2016)

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Assembly Bill No. 379
CHAPTER 772

An act to amend Sections 48853, 48853.5, 49069.5, 51225.1, and 51225.2 of, and to amend the heading of Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 48850) of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of, the Education Code, relating to foster youth.

[ Approved by Governor  October 11, 2015. Filed with Secretary of State  October 11, 2015. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 379, Gordon. Foster youth: homeless children or youth: complaint of noncompliance: exemption from local graduation requirements.
(1) Existing law requires certain pupils placed in a licensed children’s institution or foster family home to attend programs operated by the local educational agency unless a specified condition applies. Existing law authorizes certain foster children living in emergency shelters to receive educational services at the emergency shelter as necessary for short periods of time for specified reasons. Existing law requires that all educational and school placement decisions be based on the best interests of the child.
This bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with these provisions to be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The bill would require, if a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint or the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency to provide a remedy to the affected pupil. The bill would also require information regarding the requirements of these provisions relating to educational and school placements of certain foster youth to be included in a specified annual notification. By imposing additional requirements on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law requires each local educational agency, as defined, to designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children, as defined. Existing law requires the educational liaison to ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children, and to assist foster children when transferring from one school to another school or from one school district to another school district in ensuring the proper transfer of credits, records, and grades.
This bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with these provisions to be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The bill would require, if a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint or the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency to provide a remedy to the affected pupil. The bill would also require information regarding the requirements of these provisions relating to educational and school placements of certain foster youth to be included in a specified annual notification. By imposing additional requirements on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law establishes procedures for the transfer of pupils in foster care between schools and, among other things, requires the local educational agency from which the pupil is transferring to compile the complete educational record of the pupil, including, among other things, full or partial credits earned and current classes and grades, and to deliver the educational information and records of the pupil to the next educational placement.
This bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with these provisions to be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The bill would require, if a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint or the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency to provide a remedy to the affected pupil. The bill would also require information regarding the requirements of these provisions relating to the transfer of pupils in foster care between schools to be included in a specified annual notification. By imposing additional requirements on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(4) Existing law requires a school district, except as provided, to exempt a pupil in foster care, as defined, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, as defined, who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupil’s 2nd year of high school from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to certain statewide coursework requirements. Existing law requires the school district to notify specified individuals, including a pupil in foster care or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, within 30 calendar days of the date that the pupil who may qualify for the exemption from local graduation requirements transfers into a school, that the pupil qualifies for that exemption.
Existing law requires, if a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements, that the exemption continue to apply after the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the pupil while he or she is enrolled in school or if the pupil transfers to another school or school district.
This bill would, if the school district fails to provide the required notification, declare the affected pupil eligible for the exemption from local graduation requirements once notified, even if that notification is received after the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the pupil or after the pupil is no longer a homeless child or youth, as applicable, if the pupil otherwise qualifies for the exemption.
This bill would require, if a pupil who is a homeless child or youth is exempted from local graduation requirements, that the exemption continue to apply after the pupil is no longer a homeless child or youth while he or she is enrolled in school or if the pupil transfers to another school or school district.
This bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with these provisions to be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The bill would require, if a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint or the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency to provide a remedy to the affected pupil. The bill would also require information regarding the requirements of these provisions relating to exempting certain pupils from specified coursework to be included in a specified annual notification. By imposing additional requirements on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(5) Existing law requires a school district and county office of education to accept coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil in foster care or a pupil who is a homeless child while attending another public school, a juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency even if the pupil did not complete the entire course and requires the school district and county office of education to issue the pupil full or partial credit for the coursework completed. Existing law requires those credits accepted to be applied to the same or equivalent course, if applicable, as the coursework completed in the prior public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
This bill would authorize the filing of a complaint of noncompliance with these provisions to be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The bill would require, if a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint or the Superintendent of Public Instruction finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency to provide a remedy to the affected pupil. The bill would also require information regarding the requirements of these provisions relating to the requirement that local educational agencies accept coursework satisfactorily completed by certain pupils, as specified, to be included in a specified annual notification. By imposing additional requirements on local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(6) This bill would incorporate changes to Sections 48853 and 48853.5 of the Education Code proposed by both this bill and AB 224, which would become operative only if both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2016, and this bill is chaptered last.
(7) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The heading of Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 48850) of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code is amended to read:
CHAPTER  5.5. Education of Pupils in Foster Care and Pupils Who Are Homeless

SEC. 2.

 Section 48853 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48853.
 (a) A pupil described in subdivision (a) of Section 48853.5 who is placed in a licensed children’s institution or foster family home shall attend programs operated by the local educational agency, unless one of the following applies:
(1) The pupil is entitled to remain in his or her school of origin pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5.
(2) The pupil has an individualized education program requiring placement in a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or in another local educational agency.
(3) The parent or guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, determines that it is in the best interests of the pupil to be placed in another educational program, in which case the parent or guardian or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil shall provide a written statement that he or she has made that determination to the local educational agency. This statement shall include a declaration that the parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil is aware of all of the following:
(A) The pupil has a right to attend a regular public school in the least restrictive environment.
(B) The alternate education program is a special education program, if applicable.
(C) The decision to unilaterally remove the pupil from the regular public school and to place the pupil in an alternate education program may not be financed by the local educational agency.
(D) Any attempt to seek reimbursement for the alternate education program may be at the expense of the parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil.
(b) For purposes of ensuring a parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil is aware of the information described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a), the local educational agency may provide him or her with that information in writing.
(c) Before any decision is made to place a pupil in a juvenile court school as defined by Section 48645.1, a community school as described in Sections 1981 and 48660, or other alternative educational setting, the parent or guardian, or person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, shall first consider placement in the regular public school.
(d) If any dispute arises as to the school placement of a pupil subject to this section, the pupil has the right to remain in his or her school of origin, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 48853.5, pending resolution of the dispute. The dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute resolution process available to any pupil served by the local educational agency.
(e) This section does not supersede other laws that govern pupil expulsion.
(f) This section does not supersede any other law governing the educational placement in a juvenile court school, as defined by Section 48645.1, of a pupil detained in a county juvenile hall, or committed to a county juvenile ranch, camp, forestry camp, or regional facility.
(g) (1) Foster children living in emergency shelters, as referenced in the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11301 et seq.), may receive educational services at the emergency shelter as necessary for short periods of time for either of the following reasons:
(A) For health and safety emergencies.
(B) To provide temporary, special, and supplementary services to meet the child’s unique needs if a decision regarding whether it is in the child’s best interests to attend the school of origin cannot be made promptly, it is not practical to transport the child to the school of origin, and the child would otherwise not receive educational services.
(2) The educational services may be provided at the shelter pending a determination by the person holding the right regarding the educational placement of the child.
(h) All educational and school placement decisions shall be made to ensure that the child is placed in the least restrictive educational programs and has access to academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils. In all instances, educational and school placement decisions shall be based on the best interests of the child.
(i) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 2.5.

 Section 48853 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48853.
 (a) A pupil described in subdivision (a) of Section 48853.5 who is placed in a licensed children’s institution or foster family home shall attend programs operated by the local educational agency, unless one of the following applies:
(1) The pupil is entitled to remain in his or her school of origin pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 48853.5.
(2) The pupil has an individualized education program requiring placement in a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or in another local educational agency.
(3) The parent or guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, determines that it is in the best interests of the pupil to be placed in another educational program, in which case the parent or guardian or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil shall provide a written statement that he or she has made that determination to the local educational agency. This statement shall include a declaration that the parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil is aware of all of the following:
(A) The pupil has a right to attend a regular public school in the least restrictive environment.
(B) The alternate education program is a special education program, if applicable.
(C) The decision to unilaterally remove the pupil from the regular public school and to place the pupil in an alternate education program may not be financed by the local educational agency.
(D) Any attempt to seek reimbursement for the alternate education program may be at the expense of the parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil.
(b) For purposes of ensuring a parent, guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil is aware of the information described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a), the local educational agency may provide him or her with that information in writing.
(c) Before any decision is made to place a pupil in a juvenile court school as defined by Section 48645.1, a community school as described in Sections 1981 and 48660, or other alternative educational setting, the parent or guardian, or person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, shall first consider placement in the regular public school.
(d) If any dispute arises as to the school placement of a pupil subject to this section, the pupil has the right to remain in his or her school of origin, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 48853.5, pending resolution of the dispute. The dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute resolution process available to any pupil served by the local educational agency.
(e) This section does not supersede other laws that govern pupil expulsion.
(f) This section does not supersede any other law governing the educational placement in a juvenile court school, as defined by Section 48645.1, of a pupil detained in a county juvenile hall, or committed to a county juvenile ranch, camp, forestry camp, or regional facility.
(g) (1) Foster children living in emergency shelters, as referenced in the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11301 et seq.), may receive educational services at the emergency shelter as necessary for short periods of time for either of the following reasons:
(A) For health and safety emergencies.
(B) To provide temporary, special, and supplementary services to meet the child’s unique needs if a decision regarding whether it is in the child’s best interests to attend the school of origin cannot be made promptly, it is not practical to transport the child to the school of origin, and the child would otherwise not receive educational services.
(2) The educational services may be provided at the shelter pending a determination by the person holding the right regarding the educational placement of the child.
(h) All educational and school placement decisions shall be made to ensure that the child is placed in the least restrictive educational programs and has access to academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils. In all instances, educational and school placement decisions shall be based on the best interests of the child.
(i) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 3.

 Section 48853.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48853.5.
 (a) This section applies to a foster child. “Foster child” means a child who has been removed from his or her home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) Each local educational agency shall designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children. In a school district that operates a foster children services program pursuant to Chapter 11.3 (commencing with Section 42920) of Part 24 of Division 3, the educational liaison shall be affiliated with the local foster children services program. The educational liaison shall do both of the following:
(1) Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children.
(2) Assist foster children when transferring from one school to another school or from one school district to another school district in ensuring proper transfer of credits, records, and grades.
(c) If so designated by the superintendent of the local educational agency, the educational liaison shall notify a foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency of pending expulsion proceedings if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, and, if the foster child is an individual with exceptional needs, pending manifestation determinations pursuant to Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code if the local educational agency has proposed a change in placement due to an act for which the decision to recommend expulsion is at the discretion of the principal or the district superintendent of schools.
(d) This section does not grant authority to the educational liaison that supersedes the authority granted under state and federal law to a parent or legal guardian retaining educational rights, a responsible adult appointed by the court to represent the child pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a surrogate parent, or a foster parent exercising the authority granted under Section 56055. The role of the educational liaison is advisory with respect to placement decisions and determination of the school of origin.
(e) (1) At the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the local educational agency serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin for the duration of the jurisdiction of the court.
(2) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated before the end of an academic year, the local educational agency shall allow a former foster child who is in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 8, inclusive, to continue his or her education in the school of origin through the duration of the academic school year.
(3) (A) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated while a foster child is in high school, the local educational agency shall allow the former foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin through graduation.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, a school district is not required to provide transportation to a former foster child who has an individualized education program that does not require transportation as a related service and who changes residence but remains in his or her school of origin pursuant to this paragraph, unless the individualized education program team determines that transportation is a necessary related service.
(4) To ensure that the foster child has the benefit of matriculating with his or her peers in accordance with the established feeder patterns of school districts, if the foster child is transitioning between school grade levels, the local educational agency shall allow the foster child to continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance area, or, if the foster child is transitioning to a middle school or high school, and the school designated for matriculation is in another school district, to the school designated for matriculation in that school district.
(5) Paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) do not require a school district to provide transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district, unless otherwise required under federal law. This paragraph does not prohibit a school district from, at its discretion, providing transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district.
(6) The educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, may recommend, in accordance with the foster child’s best interests, that the foster child’s right to attend the school of origin be waived and the foster child be enrolled in a public school that pupils living in the attendance area in which the foster child resides are eligible to attend.
(7) Before making a recommendation to move a foster child from his or her school of origin, the educational liaison shall provide the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child with a written explanation stating the basis for the recommendation and how the recommendation serves the foster child’s best interests.
(8) (A) If the educational liaison, in consultation with the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, agrees that the best interests of the foster child would best be served by his or her transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new school.
(B) The new school shall immediately enroll the foster child even if the foster child has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys due to the school last attended or is unable to produce clothing or records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, including, but not limited to, records or other proof of immunization history pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 120325) of Part 2 of Division 105 of the Health and Safety Code, proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms.
(C) Within two business days of the foster child’s request for enrollment, the educational liaison for the new school shall contact the school last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other records. The last school attended by the foster child shall provide all required records to the new school regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys owed to the school last attended. The educational liaison for the school last attended shall provide all records to the new school within two business days of receiving the request.
(9) If a dispute arises regarding the request of a foster child to remain in the school of origin, the foster child has the right to remain in the school of origin pending resolution of the dispute. The dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute resolution process available to a pupil served by the local educational agency.
(10) The local educational agency and the county placing agency are encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum use of available federal moneys, explore public-private partnerships, and access any other funding sources to promote the well-being of foster children through educational stability.
(11) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision shall not supersede or exceed other laws governing special education services for eligible foster children.
(f) For purposes of this section, “school of origin” means the school that the foster child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the foster child was last enrolled. If the school the foster child attended when permanently housed is different from the school in which the foster child was last enrolled, or if there is some other school that the foster child attended with which the foster child is connected and that the foster child attended within the immediately preceding 15 months, the educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, shall determine, in the best interests of the foster child, the school that shall be deemed the school of origin.
(g) This section does not supersede other law governing the educational placements in juvenile court schools, as described in Section 48645.1, by the juvenile court under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(h) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 3.5.

 Section 48853.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48853.5.
 (a) This section applies to a foster child. “Foster child” means a child who has been removed from his or her home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) The department, in consultation with the California Foster Youth Education Task Force, shall develop a standardized notice of the educational rights of foster children, as specified in Sections 48850 to this section, inclusive, 48911, 48915.5, 49069.5, 49076, 51225.1, and 51225.2. The notice shall include complaint process information, as applicable. The department shall make the notice available to educational liaisons for foster children for dissemination by posting the notice on its Internet Web site. Any version of this notice prepared for use by foster children shall also include, to the greatest extent practicable, the rights established pursuant to Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. In developing the notice that includes the rights in Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the department shall consult with the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson.
(c) Each local educational agency shall designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children. In a school district that operates a foster children services program pursuant to Chapter 11.3 (commencing with Section 42920) of Part 24 of Division 3, the educational liaison shall be affiliated with the local foster children services program. The educational liaison shall do both of the following:
(1) Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children.
(2) Assist foster children when transferring from one school to another school or from one school district to another school district in ensuring proper transfer of credits, records, and grades.
(d) If so designated by the superintendent of the local educational agency, the educational liaison shall notify a foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency of pending expulsion proceedings if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, and, if the foster child is an individual with exceptional needs, pending manifestation determinations pursuant to Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code if the local educational agency has proposed a change in placement due to an act for which the decision to recommend expulsion is at the discretion of the principal or the district superintendent of schools.
(e) This section does not grant authority to the educational liaison that supersedes the authority granted under state and federal law to a parent or legal guardian retaining educational rights, a responsible adult appointed by the court to represent the child pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a surrogate parent, or a foster parent exercising the authority granted under Section 56055. The role of the educational liaison is advisory with respect to placement decisions and determination of the school of origin.
(f) (1) At the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the local educational agency serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin for the duration of the jurisdiction of the court.
(2) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated before the end of an academic year, the local educational agency shall allow a former foster child who is in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 8, inclusive, to continue his or her education in the school of origin through the duration of the academic school year.
(3) (A) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated while a foster child is in high school, the local educational agency shall allow the former foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin through graduation.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, a school district is not required to provide transportation to a former foster child who has an individualized education program that does not require transportation as a related service and who changes residence but remains in his or her school of origin pursuant to this paragraph, unless the individualized education program team determines that transportation is a necessary related service.
(4) To ensure that the foster child has the benefit of matriculating with his or her peers in accordance with the established feeder patterns of school districts, if the foster child is transitioning between school grade levels, the local educational agency shall allow the foster child to continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance area, or, if the foster child is transitioning to a middle school or high school, and the school designated for matriculation is in another school district, to the school designated for matriculation in that school district.
(5) Paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) do not require a school district to provide transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district, unless otherwise required under federal law. This paragraph does not prohibit a school district from, at its discretion, providing transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district.
(6) The educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, may recommend, in accordance with the foster child’s best interests, that the foster child’s right to attend the school of origin be waived and the foster child be enrolled in a public school that pupils living in the attendance area in which the foster child resides are eligible to attend.
(7) Before making a recommendation to move a foster child from his or her school of origin, the educational liaison shall provide the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child with a written explanation stating the basis for the recommendation and how the recommendation serves the foster child’s best interests.
(8) (A) If the educational liaison, in consultation with the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, agrees that the best interests of the foster child would best be served by his or her transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new school.
(B) The new school shall immediately enroll the foster child even if the foster child has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys due to the school last attended or is unable to produce clothing or records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, including, but not limited to, records or other proof of immunization history pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 120325) of Part 2 of Division 105 of the Health and Safety Code, proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms.
(C) Within two business days of the foster child’s request for enrollment, the educational liaison for the new school shall contact the school last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other records. The last school attended by the foster child shall provide all required records to the new school regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys owed to the school last attended. The educational liaison for the school last attended shall provide all records to the new school within two business days of receiving the request.
(9) If a dispute arises regarding the request of a foster child to remain in the school of origin, the foster child has the right to remain in the school of origin pending resolution of the dispute. The dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute resolution process available to a pupil served by the local educational agency.
(10) The local educational agency and the county placing agency are encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum use of available federal moneys, explore public-private partnerships, and access any other funding sources to promote the well-being of foster children through educational stability.
(11) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision shall not supersede or exceed other laws governing special education services for eligible foster children.
(g) For purposes of this section, “school of origin” means the school that the foster child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the foster child was last enrolled. If the school the foster child attended when permanently housed is different from the school in which the foster child was last enrolled, or if there is some other school that the foster child attended with which the foster child is connected and that the foster child attended within the immediately preceding 15 months, the educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, shall determine, in the best interests of the foster child, the school that shall be deemed the school of origin.
(h) This section does not supersede other law governing the educational placements in juvenile court schools, as described in Section 48645.1, by the juvenile court under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(i) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 4.

 Section 49069.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49069.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The mobility of pupils in foster care often disrupts their educational experience.
(2) Efficient transfer procedures and transfer of pupil records is a critical factor in the swift placement of foster children in educational settings.
(3) Pupils who have had contact with the juvenile justice system are often denied credit or partial credit earned during enrollment in juvenile court schools. Delays in school enrollment and loss of earned credit can result in improper class or school placement, denial of special education services, and school dropout.
(b) The proper and timely transfer between schools of pupils in foster care is the responsibility of both the local educational agency, including the county office of education for pupils in foster care who are enrolled in juvenile court schools, and the county placing agency, which includes the county probation department.
(c) As soon as the county placing agency or county office of education becomes aware of the need to transfer a pupil in foster care out of his or her current school, the county placing agency or county office of education shall contact the appropriate person at the local educational agency of the pupil. The county placing agency shall notify the local educational agency of the date that the pupil will be leaving the school and request that the pupil be transferred out.
(d) Upon receiving a transfer request from a county placing agency or notification of enrollment from the new local educational agency, the local educational agency receiving the transfer request or notification shall, within two business days, transfer the pupil out of school and deliver the educational information and records of the pupil to the next educational placement.
(e) As part of the transfer process described under subdivisions (c) and (d), the local educational agency shall compile the complete educational record of the pupil, including a determination of seat time, full or partial credits earned, current classes and grades, immunization and other records, and, if applicable, a copy of the pupil’s plan adopted pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794) or individualized education program adopted pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.).
(f) The local educational agency shall assign the duties listed in this section to a person competent to handle the transfer procedure and who is aware of the specific educational recordkeeping needs of homeless, foster, and other transient children who transfer between schools.
(g) The local educational agency shall ensure that, if the pupil in foster care is absent from school due to a decision to change the placement of a pupil made by a court or placing agency, the grades and credits of the pupil will be calculated as of the date the pupil left school and no lowering of grades will occur as a result of the absence of the pupil under these circumstances.
(h) The local educational agency shall ensure that, if the pupil in foster care is absent from school due to a verified court appearance or related court ordered activity, no lowering of his or her grades will occur as a result of the absence of the pupil under these circumstances.
(i) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(j) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “County placing agency” means a county social services department or county probation department.
(2) “Local educational agency” means a school district, a county office of education, a charter school participating as a member of a special education local plan area, or a special education local plan area.
(3) “Pupil in foster care” means a child who has been removed from his or her home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

SEC. 5.

 Section 51225.1 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51225.1.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a school district shall exempt a pupil in foster care, as defined in Section 51225.2, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, as defined in Section 11434a(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code, who transfers between schools any time after the completion of the pupil’s second year of high school from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements specified in Section 51225.3, unless the school district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements in time to graduate from high school by the end of the pupil’s fourth year of high school.
(b) If the school district determines that the pupil in foster care, or the pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is reasonably able to complete the school district’s graduation requirements within the pupil’s fifth year of high school, the school district shall do all of the following:
(1) Inform the pupil of his or her option to remain in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements.
(2) Inform the pupil, and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, about how remaining in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements will affect the pupil’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution.
(3) Provide information to the pupil about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.
(4) Permit the pupil to stay in school for a fifth year to complete the school district’s graduation requirements upon agreement with the pupil, if the pupil is 18 years of age or older, or, if the pupil is under 18 years of age, upon agreement with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil.
(c) To determine whether a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is in the third or fourth year of high school, either the number of credits the pupil has earned to the date of transfer or the length of the pupil’s school enrollment may be used, whichever will qualify the pupil for the exemption.
(d) (1) (A) Within 30 calendar days of the date that a pupil in foster care who may qualify for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section transfers into a school, the school district shall notify the pupil, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, and the pupil’s social worker or probation officer of the availability of the exemption and whether the pupil qualifies for an exemption.
(B) If the school district fails to provide timely notice pursuant to subparagraph (A), the pupil described in subparagraph (A) shall be eligible for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section once notified, even if that notification occurs after the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the pupil, if the pupil otherwise qualifies for the exemption pursuant to this section.
(2) (A) Within 30 calendar days of the date that a pupil who is a homeless child or youth may qualify for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section transfers into a school, the school district shall notify the pupil, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, and the local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code, of the availability of the exemption and whether the pupil qualifies for an exemption.
(B) If the school district fails to provide timely notice pursuant to subparagraph (A), the pupil described in subparagraph (A) shall be eligible for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section once notified, even if that notification occurs after the pupil is no longer a homeless child or youth, if the pupil otherwise qualifies for the exemption pursuant to this section.
(e) If a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section and completes the statewide coursework requirements specified in Section 51225.3 before the end of his or her fourth year of high school and that pupil would otherwise be entitled to remain in attendance at the school, a school or school district shall not require or request that the pupil graduate before the end of his or her fourth year of high school.
(f) If a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, the school district shall notify the pupil and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil how any of the requirements that are waived will affect the pupil’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution and shall provide information about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges.
(g) A pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, who is eligible for the exemption from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section and would otherwise be entitled to remain in attendance at the school shall not be required to accept the exemption or be denied enrollment in, or the ability to complete, courses for which he or she is otherwise eligible, including courses necessary to attend an institution of higher education, regardless of whether those courses are required for statewide graduation requirements.
(h) If a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is not exempted from local graduation requirements or has previously declined the exemption pursuant to this section, a school district shall exempt the pupil at any time if an exemption is requested by the pupil and the pupil qualifies for the exemption.
(i) If a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, a school district shall not revoke the exemption.
(j) (1) If a pupil in foster care is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, the exemption shall continue to apply after the termination of the court’s jurisdiction over the pupil while he or she is enrolled in school or if the pupil transfers to another school or school district.
(2) If a pupil who is a homeless child or youth is exempted from local graduation requirements pursuant to this section, the exemption shall continue to apply after the pupil is no longer a homeless child or youth while he or she is enrolled in school or if the pupil transfers to another school or school district.
(k) A school district shall not require or request a pupil in foster care, or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth, to transfer schools in order to qualify the pupil for an exemption pursuant to this section.
(l) (1) A pupil in foster care, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, the pupil’s social worker, or the pupil’s probation officer shall not request a transfer solely to qualify the pupil for an exemption pursuant to this section.
(2) A pupil who is a homeless child or youth, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, or the local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youth designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code, shall not request a transfer solely to qualify the pupil for an exemption pursuant to this section.
(m) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 6.

 Section 51225.2 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51225.2.
 (a) (1) For purposes of this section, “pupil in foster care” means a child who has been removed from his or her home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(2) For purposes of this section, “pupil who is a homeless child or youth” means a pupil who meets the definition of “homeless child or youth” in Section 11434a(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a school district and county office of education shall accept coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil in foster care or a pupil who is a homeless child while attending another public school, a juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency even if the pupil did not complete the entire course and shall issue that pupil full or partial credit for the coursework completed.
(c) The credits accepted pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be applied to the same or equivalent course, if applicable, as the coursework completed in the prior public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(d) A school district or county office of education shall not require a pupil in foster care or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth to retake a course if the pupil has satisfactorily completed the entire course in a public school, a juvenile court school, or a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. If the pupil did not complete the entire course, the school district or county office of education shall not require the pupil to retake the portion of the course the pupil completed unless the school district or county office of education, in consultation with the holder of educational rights for the pupil, finds that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the requirements in time to graduate from high school. When partial credit is awarded in a particular course, the pupil in foster care or the pupil who is a homeless child or youth shall be enrolled in the same or equivalent course, if applicable, so that the pupil may continue and complete the entire course.
(e) A pupil in foster care or a pupil who is a homeless child or youth shall not be prevented from retaking or taking a course to meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University or the University of California.
(f) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 7.

 Section 2.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 48853 of the Education Code proposed by both this bill and Assembly Bill 224. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2016, (2) each bill amends Section 48853 of the Education Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after Assembly Bill 224, in which case Section 2 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 8.

 Section 3.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 48853.5 of the Education Code proposed by both this bill and Assembly Bill 224. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2016, (2) each bill amends Section 48853.5 of the Education Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after Assembly Bill 224, in which case Section 3 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 9.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.