Schools as Centers of Neighborhood Vitality

Legislative Summary
Joint-use Facilities and Collaborative Planning
As of March 15, 2003

AB 1550 (Goldberg/Alpert), Sponsor: Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education. Requires: A) an inventory of educational facilities, B) development of a plan for higher education facilities, and C) abolishes “Concept 6” schools. Concept 6 schools are on a 3-track year-round schedule. These 3 track schools only have 163 school days, versus the normal 180 days. Studies (Oakes, UCLA) have shown that students on multi-track year-round schedules do not perform as well, all other variables being equal. Multi-track year-round schools tend to be more common in poor and minority neighborhoods.

AB 225 (Frommer). Sponsors: MALDEF, (CASH supports points B and C)
This school facilities bill is made-up of three elements: A) Existing commercial buildings, not built to Field Act code, but built recently and considered safe for students, could serve as classroom space. B) Removal of the statute that denies schools districts from applying for modernization grant funding more than once per lifetime. This bill would enable the many school districts with facilities that are more that 25 years old to apply for modernization grant funding. C) Schools that have physical site improvements along with education program enhancements could apply for funding for both types of improvements. This would increase the amount of money flowing to schools with physical site needs such as improved sewers and sidewalks.

AB 545 (Montanez). "The Educational Empowerment Zone Bill." Sponsor: MALDEF. Currently, cities, counties and schools compete for limited sites when planning public facilities. This bill gives priority funding to joint-use projects that address over-crowded schools and another critical use. The funding for these projects is the $50 million set-aside from AB 16.

AB 1382 (Firebaugh). This bill aims to set up one-stop-shop to streamline the approval process for critically over-crowded schools.

AB 1244 (Chu). Sponsor: MALDEF. Spot bill to be used if there is a need to extend the deadline for accessing the set-aside funding for critically over-crowded schools as part of the school bond. The rules for applying for the funds rest with the State Allocation Board, which has not issued the application rules as of early March 2003. The deadline for applying for funds is May 1, 2003. Changing the deadline from May 1, 2003 requires 2/3 vote from the legislature, which is unlikely. Thus, this bill is unlikely to go forward. The set-aside funds not accessed by the critically over-crowded schools would go back into the larger fund.