Late School Start Time, Community College Transfers, IEP Translation, Homeless Student Housing Program Showcase Senator Portantino's Student Focused Agenda

Friday, September 20 2019

Sacramento, California – Senator Anthony J. Portantino’s (D – La Cañada Flintridge) education bill package of SB 328,  SB 484 and SB 695 have all passed the California State Legislature and are now headed to the Governor’s office for action.  Senator Portantino has been a PTA member for 20 years and is a long-time ardent supporter of public education.  The Senator has been dedicated to improving K-16 public education in California for his entire legislative career.  Earlier in the year, at the Senator’s request Governor Newsom included $19 million dollars in ongoing money from the state budget for a rapid rehousing program for our homeless college students and $493.3 million dollars for special education students.  These three bills on the Governor's desk as well as budget victories give Senator Portantino high marks on public education for the 2019 legislative year.


We must help students across California in every segment and from every demographic. I am beyond excited that California is responding to the overwhelming science behind later school start times and is now the national example for putting a premium on the health and welfare of our children. It was also my hope to help our youngest special needs students and our community college transfer students which we have done as well.  It was a good week for public education in California and we need to keep the momentum going,” commented Senator Portantino.


SB 328 requires high schools and middle schools in California to start later in the morning. It is based on three decades of research and hundreds of successful examples from schools across the country.  If signed by the Governor, California will be the first state in the country to make late school start time the law.  Studies have shown that attendance, test scores and graduation rates all go up when schools start later.   Additionally, depression, sports injuries and car accidents all decrease as a result of aligning school start time with student biology.  SB 328 was co-sponsored by the California PTA and Start School Later.


"Senator Portantino has worked closely with the California PTA to put student health first in the conversation.  We are grateful for his dedication to the late school start initiative and for the opportunity to partner with him on this effort.    When teens get enough sleep, they are safer, healthier and do better in school.   The California State PTA is proud to co-sponsor this bill and looks forward to helping implement this historic initiative across our state," added Carol Kocivar, California State PTA.


SB 484 requires the governing board of each community college district to directly identify and notify students who have completed an associate degree for transfer (ADT) and automatically award these students that degree. The students would then be added to an identification system that is maintained by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. This system would be accessible electronically by the California State University, the University of California, and independent institutions of higher education for purposes of streamlining transfers.  Despite the simplifying efforts of the legislature, the transfer process from California Community Colleges to four year universities remains complex and difficult for students. This is significant, as roughly half of those that receive bachelor degrees in California start at a community college.


SB 695 requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide most students’ parents with a translation, upon parental request, of the student’s individualized education program (IEP) and other related documents in the native language of the parent within 30 days of the IEP team meeting. It additionally requires translations to be conducted by a qualified translator. The IEP process can be very overwhelming and intimidating for someone who is not familiar with the process or the terminology – especially if that person’s primary language is not English.  The lack of having a timely and accurately translated IEP does a great disservice to both the parents and the student.  


"Nothing happens in California without a strong coalition of support.  I am extremely appreciative of the PTA, all the parents and students who advocated for late start, and our entire education agenda this year.   There are so many people in California who support our children and their educational needs and today they made a huge difference.  Future generations of students will have better school experiences and more academic success because of these wonderful school supporters," concluded Senator Portantino.


Sen. Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Lake View Terrace, La Verne, Los Feliz, Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Sunland-Tujunga, and Upland.