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SB-545 Pupil retention: COVID-19 impact.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/18/2021 09:00 PM
SB545:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 545


Introduced by Senator Wilk

February 18, 2021


An act to add Section 48070.3 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 545, as introduced, Wilk. Pupil retention: COVID-19 impact.
Existing law requires the governing board of each school district and each county board of education to approve a policy regarding the promotion and retention of pupils between specified grades, and requires that policy to provide for the identification of pupils who should be retained or who are at risk of being retained in their current grade level on the basis of specified factors. Existing law requires that the policy provide for parental notification when a pupil is identified as being at risk of retention, and that the policy provide the pupil’s parent or guardian the opportunity to consult with the teacher or teachers responsible for the decision to promote or retain the pupil. Existing law also requires, under specified circumstances, that the pupil’s parent or guardian be provided the opportunity to discuss a teacher’s recommendation with the teacher and the principal before any final determination of pupil retention or promotion is made. Existing law requires a pupil to be promoted or retained only as provided for in those policies.
Notwithstanding these requirements, for a pupil who was enrolled for the 2020–21 school year in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, in a school district, this bill would authorize the pupil to be retained in the grade level in which the pupil was enrolled in the 2020–21 school year if deemed necessary because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the pupil, as determined solely by the pupil’s parent, guardian, custodian, or other educational rights holder. The bill would require a school district to approve, without condition, a request to retain the pupil in the grade level in which the pupil was enrolled in the 2020–21 school year. By imposing new duties on school districts, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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 the statutory provisions noted above.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 48070.3 is added to the Education Code, to read:

48070.3.
 (a) (1) Notwithstanding Sections 48070 and 48070.5, an eligible pupil may be retained in the grade level in which the pupil was enrolled in the 2020–21 school year if the pupil’s parent deems it necessary because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the pupil, as determined solely by the pupil’s parent.
(2) Upon receiving a request for the pupil’s retention as described in paragraph (1), the school district shall approve the request without condition and retain the pupil in the grade level in which the pupil was enrolled in the 2020–21 school year.
(b) The following definitions apply to this section:
(1) “Eligible pupil” means a pupil who, for the 2020–21 school year, was enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, in a school district.
(2) “Parent” means the natural or adoptive parent or guardian, the person having legal custody, or other educational rights holder.

SEC. 2.

 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.

SEC. 3.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
The COVID-19 global pandemic and associated school closures and shift to distance learning has resulted in significant learning loss among pupils in the state. Due to these factors, most pupils have missed a substantial proportion of the material covered in a typical school year. In order to timely prevent these hardships to pupils due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.