Local control bill clears Senate, but won’t yet see Arnie’s desk

Update: The final vote was 27-12 — more than two-thirds approval. 

Oakland Unified’s local control bill secured a victory in the state Senate this afternoon, netting at least 25 votes (two votes were still out as of 4:30 p.m.) when it only needed 21, said Amber Maltbie, the communications director for Assembly member Sandre Swanson.

But the bill is not bound for the governor’s office yet. Because it was tweaked in a Senate committee this summer, it needs to return to the Assembly first. Maltbie says that will probably happen early next week.

I wonder if government teachers are using Assembly Bill 45 to explain the legislative process.

It sounded so simple back in December, when the newly inaugurated Swanson introduced a bill that would force an immediate return of local control to OUSD’s elected board.

The bill has since become much more nuanced. It would still make the state superintendent transfer authority to the locals — but gradually, depending on auditors’ annual progress reports. It also allows the state superintendent to take back powers over certain areasif the district slips too far on its progress reports.

The most recent change, made in July, added some strong language about fiscal oversight:

However, the Superintendent would be prohibited from returning authority over the operational area of fiscal control to the governing board until he or she concludes that the school district is a going concern and no longer poses a risk of reverting to policies and behavior that would require the state to provide the district with an emergency loan.

A “going concern.” I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Jim Mordecai

    The Ed Code requires a trustee until the loan is repaid. All this language about fiscal control being returned is has no bearing on the reality that until the loan is repaid the State remains in control of the District purse-strings.

    The language in AB 45 is to get it passed. AB 45 has its problems but its chief virtue is that it makes possible a faster return to local control under the State trustee. Oakland has had a trustee in the past and would be operating much more democratically if it had one now.

    AB 45 returns 4/5 of the 5 operational areas to the elected school board when those operational areas pass the minimum FCMAT standard. I believe all Oaklanders should push on local legislators to get AB 45 passed. The final operational area of finance can then be returned by Jack O’Connell but he’ll still have control of the District by way of his Trustee. Number (3) makes that control clear and also that the expense for the trustee comes out of the District and out of the future education dollars of the children of Oakland.

    41320.1. Acceptance by the district of the apportionments made
    pursuant to Section 41320 constitutes the agreement by the district
    to all of the following conditions:
    (a) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall appoint a
    trustee who has recognized expertise in management and finance and
    may employ, on a short-term basis, any staff necessary to assist the
    trustee, including, but not limited to, certified public accountants,
    as follows:
    (1) The expenses incurred by the trustee and any necessary staff
    shall be borne by the district.
    (2) The Superintendent shall establish the terms and conditions of
    the employment, including the remuneration of the trustee. The
    trustee shall serve at the pleasure of, and report directly to, the
    (3) The trustee, and any necessary staff, shall serve until the
    loan authorized by this section is repaid, the district has adequate
    fiscal systems and controls in place, and the Superintendent has
    determined that the district’s future compliance with the fiscal plan
    approved for the district under Section 41320 is probable.

  • Turner

    Mr. Mordecai: this was well written and very enlightening. Thank you for the lesson.

    Ms. Murphy: a “going concern” assumes that a firm will continue to operate in the foreseeable future.