Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
California State Council - General Business Meeting
December 6, 2012
California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
- State Council Members: John Burns, Jerry Dannenberg, Kate Wren Gavlak, Kelli May, Shannon Milder, Jacie Ragland, Patricia Rucker
- Invited Guests: Jenny Callison, Leah Cleveland, Sylvia Crowder, Wade Crowfoot, Randal Friedman, Ned McKinley
- California Department of Education (CDE) Staff: State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Tom Torlakson, Craig Cheslog, Gordon Jackson, Barbara Pomerantz
Welcome and Introductions
Jacie Ragland, SSPI Designee, State Council: Called the first meeting of the California State Council for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to order at 9:09 a.m. at the Sacramento headquarters of the CDE.
- Jacie Ragland introduced Gordon Jackson, Director, CDE’s Coordinated Student Support and Adult Education Division.
- Gordon Jackson introduced SSPI Tom Torlakson.
SSPI Torlakson: There are some fiscal issues to resolve regarding fees owed by California for membership in the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. The CDE will seek funds to pay the state’s dues.
Introduction of State Council Members
Kate Wren Gavlak, Commissioner, State Council: Introduced the members present, and told members that the work of the State Council is of nationwide significance in representing the needs of children in military families. California, Texas, and Virginia have the highest number of children in the United States.
Commissioner Wren Gavlak: The Compact needs to help ensure that school district policies in states covered by the Compact are consistent in addressing the needs of students in the areas of:
- Eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities
- Graduation requirements
Background and functions of the Interstate Compact:
- The Compact was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Council of State Governments. The first meeting of the governing Commission was in October 2008. The Compact now has been adopted by 43 states, representing the interests of approximately 95 percent of school-age military children in the United States.
- Parents can receive a copy of unofficial school records, and the sending school must transfer official records within 10 days of a written request from the receiving school. However, parents cannot have access to all student records free of charge. Students are to be given 30 days from the date of enrollment to obtain required immunizations in a district, but TB testing can be required before enrollment, as it is a test, not an immunization.
- Also covered by the Compact is the right for a student to continue in the same grade in a receiving state—regardless of entrance age requirements in the receiving state—as long as the child was of age and already enrolled in kindergarten or first grade in an accredited public school in the sending state, and his/her credits are acceptable to the school board in the receiving state. Students may move on to the next grade, regardless of age, if they successfully completed kindergarten or first grade in the sending state.
- The Compact requires that the receiving state will initially provide the same services identified in a student’s Individual Education Plan from the sending state, although the services in the receiving state may not be exactly the same.
- Although a school cannot be required to open a space for a transferred military student, students are to be allowed the opportunity to participate, regardless of deadlines, if the child qualifies for the extracurricular activity.
- The deployment window allowing for excused absences for students to be with a parent is one month before the member’s departure from her/his home station through six months after return to her/his home station.
- A receiving school cannot be required to waive an exit exam or change its graduation requirements, but schools are to waive courses if a student has completed similar course work at another school, or must provide an alternative means for a student to complete course work toward graduation. Schools are required to be flexible in accepting state or national testing from sending schools that would allow a student to graduate.
National Commission Report
Commissioner Wren Gavlak: Although California does not presently waive the California High School Exit Exam, the State Council will strive to help students graduate. The Compact can advocate for students who need flexibility in graduation requirements when they move from another school district.
The Commissioner explained the Compact’s role:
- Work for compliance with the Compact’s regulations
- Be an advocate for the rights of military students
- Ensure that annual dues are paid
California was required to pay its $60,000 dues last year, following a lawsuit for nonpayment. The California Compact does not yet have established ongoing funding.
The Commissioner’s role:
- Further the mission and goal of the State Compact
- Ensure that dues are paid
- Handle informal disputes
- Maintain a relationship with the national office for the Interstate Compact
Historical Overview: Task Force Report
Task Force Chairman John Burns: California has had numerous military base closures, including several in the Sacramento area. Now that several bases have closed, the majority of military personnel are located in San Diego. The vast majority of California legislators now have no direct stake in military issues; lobbying for legislation and funding is difficult outside of the San Diego area.
Earlier legislation stalled in 2008, as legislators were hesitant about possible loss of state authority in joining the Interstate Compact. Legislators expressed concern about possible conflict with existing state laws and school district policies. In October 2008, Assembly Bill 2049 authorized formation of the Task Force created to study potential implications of California’s entry into the Compact. Passage of Senate Bill 343 provided authority for California to join the Compact in 2009.
The Task Force met three times in 2008 and 2009. Some meetings were held in San Diego, where a large number of military personnel were available to give input on issues relating to the Compact and the needs of military children and families. Some also testified before the California State Legislature.
Review of Requirements of the Report to the Legislature
Chairman John Burns: While passage of SB 343 allowed the original Task Force to be convened as the State Council, passage of AB 2202 in 2012 authorized the necessary additional time to complete the task of reporting to the Legislature. Three of the original members of the Task Force are now on the State Council. The Council is required to complete its report to the Legislature by December 1, 2013. The $60,000 dues owed by California is a substantial part of the Interstate Commission’s budget.
California Dues Update and Discussion
Wade Crowfoot: Legislation allowing for the establishment of the Interstate Compact in California did not identify a funding source. The Interstate Compact sued California for the dues, which were subsequently paid, but there is a need for a compromise regarding payment of this year’s dues.
Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to the SSPI: There is a need for a budget proposal to get dues paid, but it will be difficult to acquire funds in the present economic climate. The $60,000 needed to pay annual dues for the Compact is unavailable due to budget cuts at the CDE; there is no funding mechanism for the dues at this time.
Perhaps the State Council could consider trying to raise the money through a one-time private fundraising effort, such as a gala dinner. It may be possible to get funding via legislation later, and suggested research be done on how other state compacts pay their dues. Some members of the Council indicated that they would not be able to support, endorse, or participate in any fundraising activities for dues payment, or otherwise, due to organization ethics regulations.
State Council Member Comments
Chairman John Burns: The report due to the Legislature from the State Council now will be due in less than a year. The Legislature wants the report to be “short and to the point.” Anecdotal evidence could be used as part of the report and a short bibliography listing resources could be included.
Commissioner Wren Gavlak: The State Council should “fast-track” the report and try to have it completed by September or October of 2013. Approximately 70 percent of military families are unaware the Compact exists, and it would be important for a survey of county school superintendents to be done to provide additional information for the report to the Legislature.
SSPI Designee Jacie Ragland: The report would have to go through the CDE approval process, which would take a few weeks.
There were no public comments.
Establish Meeting Calendar: February/March 2013
The next meeting of the State Commission will be scheduled for February 7, 2013, with the location to be determined in the next few weeks.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.