Bill to Protect School Funding Clears Senate
The California Senate on June 24 passed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and sponsored by SCOE, that would prevent schools struggling with the coronavirus pandemic from incurring additional financial setbacks caused by wildfire-related power shutoffs from Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities.
“I appreciate the support for my bill to prevent schools from losing critical funding because of a public safety power shutoff,” Sen. Dodd said. “It’s especially important now considering the financial challenges presented by Covid-19 and the prospect of another destructive wildfire season. This proposal will help make schools whole if they are forced to endure another PG&E outage.”
California public school funding is based on average daily attendance, reported three times a year by school districts. Under current law, if schools are forced to close because of a public safety power shutoff, such as those across the North Bay last year, they could lose part of their expected allocation. Senate Bill 884 changes that, explicitly authorizing the state to backfill average daily attendance money.
SB 884 is sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education and coauthored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg. It was approved by the Senate with unanimous support.
“As we enter wildfire season, it is welcome news that schools can now be assured that they will not lose funding because of school closures related to power shutoffs,” said Steve Herrington, superintendent of Sonoma County schools. “Schools face many uncertainties and challenges headed into the fall, and it is helpful to know that they do not have to worry about a loss of funding due to power shutoffs outside of their control. Sonoma County Office of Education was proud to be a sponsor of this legislation.”