New School Laws in California 2019

by Carol Kocivar | October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Ed100's Parent Guide to Policy Changes in 2019

Over 3,000 bills were introduced in the California legislature this year. Of these, less than half reached the governor’s desk. Even fewer actually made it into law.

Here is our short guide to new laws affecting children and schools.

Three controversial issues: What happened?

School Start Time

California is now the first state in the nation to require later start times for high schools and middle schools. Based on the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control, a new law prohibits high schools, including charter schools, from beginning the school day before 8:30 a.m and middle schools from beginning before 8:00 a.m.

(For background, read our blog.)

SB 328

Charter Schools

After years of wrangling, California made significant changes to charter school law in 2019:

School districts now have greater authority to choose which charter schools are approved in their community and may consider the fiscal impact of the charter school on the current students in the district.

(For background, read our blog)

AB 1505

School districts can no longer authorize a charter school located outside the boundaries of their school district or county.

AB 1507

Charter schools and an entity managing a charter school must comply with the same conflict of interest requirements as school districts.

SB 126

Immunizations: Medical Exemptions

California law now requires students to be vaccinated to attend school. New law this year cracked down on abuse of medical exemptions by requiring a review of exemptions of (i) schools with an immunization rate of less than 95% and (ii) physicians and surgeons who submit five or more medical exemptions in a calendar year. It permits the Department of Public Health to deny or revoke an inappropriate or invalid medical exemption.

(For background, read our blog.)

SB 276

More New Laws Worth Knowing About

Education Funding

School Bonds

There will be a $15 billion Education Bond on the March 3, 2020 statewide ballot for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, California Community Colleges, University of California, and California State University facilities. It will be called the Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020.

AB 48

Closing Loopholes

Closing a number of tax loopholes will generate more money for working families — about $1 billion this year and $680 million next year — plus an additional $1 billion for schools from 2019-20 through the 2022-23.

AB 91

Health and Behavior

Medicinal cannabis

Schools districts may adopt a policy that allows a parent or guardian of a pupil to possess and administer non- smokeable and non-vapeable medicinal cannabis at a school site.

SB 223

Youth athletics

Two new laws provide greater protection for student athletes.

An athlete who has passed out or fainted can’t return to an athletic activity until evaluated and cleared by a health-care provider.

AB 379

The California Youth Football Act limits youth football full contact practices to 30 minutes per day, and no more than two days per week, and requires an emergency medical technician or higher-level medical professional to be present during all games.

AB 1

Pupil discipline: willful defiance

The prohibition against suspending a pupil for disruption or otherwise willfully defying school staff — already in place for K to 3 — is expanded to include grades 4 and 5 permanently; and to include grades 6 to 8, until July 1, 2025. This applies to all public schools including charter schools.

SB 419

Bullying and harassment

Local educational agencies must provide bullying and harassment prevention information in a prominent location on their existing Internet Web site, including information about hate violence, discrimination, and suicide prevention and resources relating to these topics.

AB 34


A school district, a county office of education, or a charter school may adopt a policy to limit or prohibit the use by its pupils of smartphones, with certain exceptions.

AB 272

School Safety and Guns

Many new laws in this session addressed gun-related policies, which affect student safety. Here's a list of them.

All security guards working on school and community college district campuses must now complete safety training, including part-time workers.

SB 390

Special Education

Assistive Technology

School districts and charter schools must allow students to use school-purchased assistive technology devices at home or in other settings if a student's individualized education plan team determines that the student needs access to those devices.

SB 605

Visually impaired pupils

This establishes an expanded core curriculum for students who are blind, have low vision, or are visually impaired.

AB 947

Developmental Screenings

This ensures that developmental screenings are routinely occurring for infants and toddlers during Medi-Cal health care visits.

AB 1004


Migrant education

Migrant students must be allowed to continue their education in the school of origin, regardless of any change of residence during that school year, and must be immediately enrolled in a new school.

AB 1319

Transfers Because of Bullying

A school district of residence must approve an intradistrict transfer request for a victim of an act of bullying, and a school district of proposed enrollment that elects to accept an interdistrict transfer must accept all students until the school district is at maximum capacity.

AB 1127

Inclusive and welcoming schools

Pupil meals: No shaming

A school must ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not denied a reimbursable meal of the pupil’s choice and ensure that the pupil is not shamed or treated differently from other pupils

AB 265

LGBTQ resources and training

Encourages schools (grades 7-12) to use resources developed by the State Department of Education to provide training at least once every 2 years for support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning pupils.

AB 493

Last But Not Least...

School Accountability

Recognizing the importance of career technical education, LCAP data on student achievement must be separated to show the percent of students completing a-g requirements, the percent completing career technical education sequences, and the percent completing both.

AB 1240

College and Career Access Pathways partnerships

School and community college districts must consult with the appropriate local workforce development board to determine the extent to which the pathway is aligned with regional and statewide employment needs.

SB 586


Teachers must provide homework assignments to the parent or guardian of a student that has been suspended for two or more schooldays, upon request.

AB 982

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