Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1572 School transportation.(2015-2016)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) According to data released by the United States Census Bureau, without a high school diploma, Americans are almost twice as likely to live in poverty.
(2) Several independent academic studies indicate a marked increase in school participation and graduation rates among children who were guaranteed transportation to and from school.
(3) According to a recent report by Attorney General Kamala Harris, poverty and financial instability is the number one cause of truancy in the state.
(4) Research shows a strong relationship between access to transportation and improved school attendance.
(b) Based on the findings and declarations in subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would support school participation and high school attainment among low-income youth.

SEC. 2.

 Section 39800 of the Education Code is amended to read:

 (a) The  In addition to the requirement to provide transportation pursuant to Section 39800.1, the  governing board of any school district may provide for the transportation of pupils to and from school whenever whenever,  in the judgment of the board  governing board,  the transportation is advisable and good reasons exist therefor.  exist.  The governing board of a school district  may purchase or rent and provide for the upkeep, care, and operation of vehicles, or may  vehicles. The governing board of a school district may also  contract and pay for the transportation of middle school and high school  pupils to and from school by common carrier or  a vehicle driven by a public employee of a  municipally owned transit system, or may contract with and pay responsible private parties for the transportation. These contracts may be made with the  the  parent or guardian of the pupil being transported. A The  governing board of a school district  may allow the transportation of preschool or nursery school pupils in schoolbuses owned or operated by the school  district. A state reimbursement may not be received by a school  district for the transportation of preschool or nursery school pupils.
(b) As used in this article, “municipally owned transit system” means a transit system owned by a city, city  or by a district created under Part 1 (commencing with Section 24501) of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 39800.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a pupil attending a public, noncharter school that receives Title 1 federal funding shall be entitled to free transportation to and from school, if either of the following conditions are met:
(1) The pupil resides more than one-half mile from the school.
(2) The neighborhood through which the pupil must travel to get to school is unsafe, as defined by the plan established pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), which may include factors, including, but not limited to, stray dogs, lack of sidewalks, known gang activity, presence of environmental problems and hazards, required crossings of freeways or busy intersections, or other reasons documented by stakeholders in the plan developed pursuant to subdivision (c).
(b) (1) A school district not currently providing transportation to all pupils attending schools that receive Title 1 federal funding shall implement a plan to ensure that all pupils entitled to free transportation pursuant to subdivision (a) receive the transportation.
(2) The plan shall identify and accommodate the special rights of homeless youth, as defined pursuant to the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11301 et seq.).
(c) The plan required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) shall be developed with the consultation of teachers, school administrators, regional local transit authorities, local air districts, the Department of Transportation, parents, pupils, and other stakeholders.
(d) If free, dependable, and timely transportation is not already available to pupils entitled to transportation services pursuant to this section, the school district shall ensure that the pupils entitled to the transportation are provided free transportation.
(e) Notwithstanding subdivision (f), transportation provided pursuant to this section shall be provided by a public employee.
(f) A school district may partner with a municipality owned transit system to provide the transportation provided pursuant to this section to middle school and high school pupils if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) All drivers are public employees of a municipality owned transit system as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 39800.
(2) The municipality owned transit system can certify that the transit system can ensure consistent, adequate routes and schedules to enable pupils to get home, to school and back, and does not charge the school district more than marginal cost for each transit pass.
(3) Nothing in this section would prevent a local transportation agency from providing no-cost transit passes to pupils attending Title 1 schools.
(g) All transportation provided pursuant to this section shall be reimbursed by the Transportation and Access to Public School Fund created pursuant to Section 39800.2.

SEC. 4.

 Section 39800.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 (a) The Transportation and Access to Public School Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury to be administered by the department.
(b) Funds in the Transportation and Access to Public School Fund shall, upon appropriation by the Legislature, be allocated to the department for allocation to local educational agencies pursuant to the process established by the Superintendent.
(c) Commencing with the 2017–18 fiscal year, the Superintendent shall allocate from the Transportation and Access to Public School Fund to each school district, county office of education, entity providing services under a school transportation joint powers agreement, or regional occupational center or program that provides pupil transportation an amount equal to the actual costs of the entitled transportation established pursuant to Section 39800.1. The allocation shall be in addition to any amount apportioned for home-to-school transportation pursuant to Article 10 (commencing with Section 41850) of Chapter 5 of Part 24.
(d) This section shall become operative only to the extent that funding is provided in the annual Budget Act or another statute for the purposes of this section.
SEC. 5.
 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.