Calif. settles NCLB case with schools

In 2000 a case was filed with the San Francisco County Superior Court against the state of California and state education agencies.

The plaintiffs included nearly 100 San Francisco County students who filed the suit on the basis that the agencies failed to provide public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities and qualified teachers.

The case was settled in 2004, resulting in the state allocating $138 million in additional funding for standards-aligned instructional materials for schools in the first and second ranks (known as deciles) determined through the 2003 Academic Performance Index (API) Base.

However, Lindsay Unified School District Superintendent Janet Kliegl said that schools must apply for the money and only those with emergency repairs will most likely be awarded funds.

In September Kliegl met with State Superintendent Jack O'Connell. She said he informed her that most of the money will go to Los Angeles schools for facilities.

"I anticipate for Valley schools there will be another layer of oversight from the county office of education but no money will come to us," Kliegl said.

The settlement will be implemented through legislation adopted in August 2004: Senate Bill (SB) 6, SB 550, Assembly Bill (AB) 1550, AB 2727, and AB 3001. Kliegl said the case will help with compliance of a state mandate that all children have a textbook on the first day of school.

Kliegl said schools will order enough books for their projected first day enrollment. But if children move into the district and there are not enough extra books for those children the district will be out of compliance. Ordering too many will waste school money. The new bills will give schools extra time to order all of their books.

As a result of the Williams case, CDE is proposing changes to the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) template that all schools must fill out.

The proposed changes will help all schools report the overall condition of their facilities, the number of teacher mis-assignments, and the availability of textbooks or instructional materials.

These reporting requirements were submitted to the State Board of Education on Nov. 9-10 for approval as proposed revisions to the SARC. Results were not available as of press time.

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