Legislative Update: Principal Evaluations, Public Contract Bidding, Design-Build Contracts, API Scores, and Charter Schools

KMTG will be issuing a series of updates, as part of our Legal Alerts, on new legislation signed by Governor Brown. All laws become effective January 1, 2013, unless otherwise stated. Below is a brief summary of SB 1292, AB 1565, SB 1509, SB 1458 and SB 1290.

The Legislature declared in passing AB 1292 that governing Boards should “establish a uniform system of evaluations to guide principal growth and to improve principal performance while raising pupil achievement.” SB 1292 is voluntary and districts are not bound to use these SB 1292 provisions. SB 1292 adds sections 44670 and 44671 to the Education Code regarding evaluation of new principals and provide guidelines and suggested standards for evaluations.

AB 1565 requires prospective bidders for construction contracts for public school districts to complete a prequalification questionnaire and financial statement for projects of one million dollars or more. AB 1565 adds section 20111.6 to the Public Contract Code and the new law will apply to projects that receive funding from the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 or any funds from a future school bond. Section 20111.6 will not apply to school districts with an average daily attendance of less than 2,500. The new law will only apply to contracts awarded on or after January 1, 2014.

Current law provides that until January 1, 2014, a governing Board for a school district or community college may enter into a design-build contract for the design and construction of a facility, if statutory-specified requirements are met. SB 1509 extends the authority for governing boards of school districts and community colleges to enter into design-build contracts until January 1, 2020. Additionally, SB 1509 specifically provides that “it is the intent of the Legislature that design-build procurement does not replace or eliminate public bidding.”

SB 1458 alters the method by which the Academic Performance Index (API) is calculated. SB 1458 eliminates the requirement that API scores be used to measure the progress of specified schools and rank all public schools for the purpose of the High Achieving/Improving Schools Program. SB 1458 also changes the requirement that standardized testing account for at least 60% of the API to no more than 60% starting in 2016.

SB 1290 requires county offices of education or school districts which approve charter schools to take into account subgroup growth when renewing a charter. SB 1290 adds the requirement that “‘[p]upil outcomes shall include outcomes that address increases in pupil academic achievement both school-wide and for all groups of pupils served by the charter school,” which “means a numerically significant pupil subgroup . . .  served by the charter school.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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