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   DataBus - Vol 40 No 4: June-July, 2000
Legislative Update

A Summary of Current Legislation Impacting K-12 Educational Technology

Two new bills in the legislature are sure to have an impact on K12 Technology should they get signed into Law by Governor Davis. They are highlighted here so you can follow them.
AB 1942
This bill would establish the Education Technology and Professional Development Grant Program. The first priority of the grant is to ensure that high school pupils in schools offering three or fewer advanced placement courses have access to advanced placement courses online. Grants awarded for the first priority may be expended to purchase or lease computers and related equipment, and wiring and infrastructure necessary to achieve a connection to online advanced placement courses.
The second priority of the grant is to increase the number of computers available to all other K-12 public schools. Grants awarded for the second priority will be awarded at the school district level and be based on a ratio of pupils per computer as determined by the Secretary of Education. This bill would require that participating Districts have a technology plan or will have one within 90 days after submitting the application for a grant.
The third component of the grant is centered on professional development. This would direct the California State University to administer training on the use of technology in the classroom.
The bill has just recently passed the Assembly with a 76 to 1 vote in favor of it. The Governors May revise contains $200 million for this program; $175 million in one-time grants to buy computers and support online advanced placement courses, $25 million in one-time funds to provide the CSI program for technology staff development, and $100,000 to CDE to administer the program. It looks like it has a very strong possibility of becoming law in my opinion.
Further information can be found on this bill at this location: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_1942&sess=CUR&house=B
6/15/00 Update On This Bill
This is late breaking news on AB1942, ammended June 14, 2000. The bill was ammended to include Charter Schools, and
"(e) Funds appropriated to carry out this chapter in the 2000-01 fiscal year shall only be available to high schools or charter schools that serve grades 9 to 12, inclusive."
While there is no clear language in the bill that says this is an ongoing program, it is implied--subject to, of course, funding from the annual budget act. For those school districts that had to use most of their Digital High School money for wiring infrastructure and were left with little funds to purchase computers, it appears the initial intent is to help them do that.
SB 20
This bill would extend the Digital High School Grant to new high schools built after October 6, 2000. These schools will not get the $300 per student implementation grant but would get the $45 per student Technology support and staff training grant. This portion of the grant is ongoing from year to year, subject to funding availability.
SB20 also extends the Digital High School Grant to provide all pupils in grades 4 to 8, and grade 9, if grade 9 is part of a middle school, instruction in basic computer skills including word processing programs, electronic publishing software, spreadsheet programs, courseware and related software, and Internet search and retrieval tools. Therefore, SB20 would provide the $300/student and ongoing $45/student grants to schools with grades 4 to 8/9 as noted above.
This bill has been amended a few times (6 times so far) and has gone back and forth to 1) only include new high schools to 2) include new high schools and grades 4 to 8/9. This bill has been read a second time, amended, and re-referred to the Committee on Information Technology. So, it is difficult to say if this will move all the way through to the Governors desk.
Commission on Technology in Learning
On May 26, 2000, Governor Gray Davis announced the appointments of Heidi H. Haugen (an Elk Grove Unified Teacher!), John K. Nagata, Richard A. Navarro, Betty D. Silva, Moises Torres, and Alice W. Tsou as members of the Commission on Technology in Learning. Part of the Commission's mandate is to develop an education technology plan for California. For more information, check the following link: http://www.governor.ca.gov/briefing/pressreleases/may00/a00178526.html.