ASSEMBLY BILL 189 CHANGES CATEGORICAL FLEXIBILITY AND ADULT SCHOOL FEES

October 2011
Number 56

Governor Brown recently signed Assembly Bill (AB) 189, which increases the public hearing requirements before a school district or county office of education may use specified categorical funding for any educational purpose. In addition, AB 189 allows a local educational agency to charge a fee for adult school English and citizenship classes until July 1, 2015.

The 2009-2010 state budget included a provision that gave school districts and county offices of education the flexibility to use funds apportioned for certain categorical programs for any educational purpose (often called “Tier 3 categorical flexibility”). This flexibility was set to expire at the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Earlier this year, the legislature extended the sunset date from 2013 to 2015 when it enacted Senate Bill (SB) 70, as part of the 2011 state budget package. However, due to concerns that Tier 3 categorical flexibility was resulting in the elimination of adult schools and other categorical programs, the legislature subsequently enacted AB 189 to impose additional public hearing requirements before these funds can be used for other purposes.

Existing law requires the governing board to hold a regularly scheduled public hearing where it shall take testimony from the public, and to conduct a public discussion prior to approving or disapproving an alternate use of Tier 3 categorical funds. AB 189 amends Education Code section 42605 and requires that this public hearing be held prior to, and independent from, a meeting where the governing board adopts a budget. In addition, if any program is proposed to be eliminated as a result of the exercise of categorical flexibility, that program is to be specifically identified in the notice of agenda of the public hearing or hearings.

In addition, a school district or county office of education is currently prohibited from charging a fee for adult school English and citizenship classes. In order to help prevent these classes from being eliminated due to categorical flexibility, AB 189 amends Education Code section 52612 to allow school districts and county offices of education to charge a fee for these classes until July 1, 2015. This represents a significant change to the operation of adult schools.

Both of these changes will be effective January 1, 2012. If you have any questions regarding categorical flexibility or adult school issues, please contact one of our eight offices located statewide or visit our website.

Written by:

Ruth Mendyk
Shareholder
Fresno Office
rmendyk@lozanosmith.com

Michael Dunne
Paralegal
Fresno Office
mdunne@lozanosmith.com

© 2011 Lozano Smith

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