Two-decade old legal battle over special education oversight nears resolution, brings major changes – EdSource

"The California Department of Education said last week that it will comply with a federal court order to improve significantly its system for monitoring special education, after years of legal maneuvering to block the changes.... The changes in monitoring come as California is taking steps to address a root concern about special education services statewide: why many students with...

Send Special Ed Funding Directly to Districts, Not Regional Agencies, Report Says – EdSource

"The state should dismantle its system for distributing special education funding for California’s 718,000 students with disabilities and send the money – billions of dollars – directly to local school districts, according to a much anticipated report that’s expected to draw the attention of Gov. Jerry Brown and state education leaders. The recommendations, made by researchers at the...

Schools Wait for Millions in Reimbursement for Medi-Cal Outreach

It was, without question, a call to action. Millions in federal Medi-Cal funds would flow to California schools, the state auditor said in 2005, if districts filled out the paperwork to collect a little-known reimbursement for the cost of referring low-income students to the health care program. Now, a decade later, California districts and school programs are caught in a fight with the federal...

Gov. Brown Acts on Student-Related Bills

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed bills to mandate kindergarten and tinker with aspects of the state’s new school funding formula, and he signed bills providing more protections for student privacy as he rushed to review a sea of bills this week to meet the Sept. 30 deadline for acting on legislation. He also signed bills that would: Give voters a chance to rescind much of Proposition 227, the 1998...

Under New Law, School Nurses Aim to Stop Rise in Vaccination Opt-Outs

In her 33 years as a school nurse, Robyn Ettl has listened, sometimes quietly, sometimes not, to parents in rural Nevada County explain why their children don’t need vaccinations against contagious and potentially fatal diseases, including polio, diphtheria, measles and pertussis. Now, with nearly a half a million 5-year-olds and soon-to-be-5-year-olds registering for kindergarten in the...

One Superintendent’s Spending Priority for New State Funds: Social Workers

One of the first school districts to finish a draft of the spending and accountability plan required by the state’s new school funding law is proposing to hire social workers to deal with the effects of troubled home lives, cyberbullying and other social and emotional issues hobbling students’ ability to concentrate and learn. The 24,000-student East Side Union High School District in San...

Community Schools Gaining Traction Under State’s New Funding Formula

Efforts to create full-service community schools that focus on serving the “whole child” with a wide array of services are gaining traction under the state’s new funding formula for schools. The convergence of more money for low-income students and a new mandate to work with families under the Local Control Funding Formula has created “a unique point of time” for community schools to...

Report: 1 Million California Students Truant in 2012/13

California is facing an “attendance crisis” in which an estimated 1 million students were declared truant last year, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a new report calling for a stronger focus on fighting absenteeism. “These are children as young as 5 years old who are out of school, falling behind, and too many of them never catch up,” Harris said in a statement. “This...

Free Lunch Sign Ups Crucial for Accurate Count of Low-Income Students

Let the counting begin. With millions of dollars available under the new finance formula for schools with large numbers of low-income students, districts are pulling out all the stops to make sure they get an accurate count of their high-needs students. Because the new system defines “low income” as students who are eligible for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program, some...