Contact: Sandra Jackson at 916-325-1550
SACRAMENTO – Teachers and school board members from the Fresno area hit the halls of the State Capitol today to urge lawmakers to vote against AB 1403. The bill undermines the authority of locally elected school boards in the Central Valley and disrupts implementation of a new law already helping our schools and students of greatest need.
AB 1403 by Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, gives the Fresno and Tulare county superintendents authority over local schools and districts that do not meet the state Academic Performance Index (API) or the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. Currently, the local school boards, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education have these powers. The bill also disrupts new efforts by the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) to help 39 schools of greatest need in these counties. QEIA, sponsored last year by the California Teachers Association (CTA), provides $2.9 billion over seven years to help hundreds of schools across the state with proven intervention reforms such as reducing class sizes, hiring more counselors and providing quality training for teachers and principals.
“This bill does a disservice to the students, schools, educators and locally elected school board members in the school districts in Fresno and Tulare counties who are working hard to help our students achieve the academic goals we have set for them,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “It also ignores the will of the people in these communities who elected these school board members to oversee their schools.”
AB 1403 also imposes new mandates on Fresno and Tulare schools and districts that are already part of state and federal accountability systems without assurances of assistance to meet those new mandates. “CTA believes in meaningful educational reforms that provide assistance to help students meet California’s high academic standards. We must provide these students and schools with the help they need to succeed, not more sanctions.”
The Association of California School Administrators, the California Federation of Teachers, Jack O’Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California School Boards Association, Fresno Unified School District, Parlier Unified School District, Pacific Union School District and many others all oppose this bill.