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July 2013 State Council Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the July 18, 2013, meeting of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

California State Council—General Business Meeting

July 18, 2013

California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 3102
Sacramento, CA 95814


  • State Council Members: John Burns, Patricia Rucker, Jerry Dannenberg, Jacie Ragland, Kate Wren Gavlak, Department of Defense (DOD) Liaison Representative Kelli May, DOD Liaison Representative Shannon Milder
  • Invited Participants: Leah Cleveland, Sylvia Crowder, Shy Forbes
  • California Department of Education (CDE) Staff: Barbara Pomerantz
  • Members of the Public: Brian Bonner, California State Parent Teacher Association; Paula Emmert, Deputy Regional School Liaison, Navy Region Southwest

Welcome and Introductions

Jacie Ragland, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Designee, opened the meeting of the California State Council at 12:32 p.m. at the CDE headquarters. She welcomed members present in the CDE Videoconference Room, as well as the San Diego Office County Office of Education participants attending via videoconference.

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  • State Council member Jerry Dannenberg made a motion to approve minutes from the April 24, 2013, meeting, seconded by Chairman John Burns. The State Council voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the April 24, 2013, meeting.

Commissioner’s Update

  • Commissioner Wren Gavlak reported that all but four states have signed on with the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, and the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (Compact) leadership is hoping the rest of the states also will join.

Update on California Dues

  • SSPI Designee Jacie Ragland: The dues for the Compact have been paid, and sustainability funding now is in place for the dues.
  • Commissioner Wren Gavlak: This has been accomplished due to the work of State Council Members Jacie Ragland and John Burns.
  • SSPI Designee Jacie Ragland: Funding is in place and will be in place going forward. She has worked with Government Affairs and the California State Legislature. There would have been no funding mechanism for this year. However, the bill was paid with department funding sources. There is now a funding mechanism; the $60,000 allotment pays for dues only.
  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: Because some funding sources are more permanent than others, it is important to see what the source is. The important question is: Is it coming from a specific federal allocation that has to be renewed, or will it be from general funds, which is a more desirable situation?
  • SSPI Designee Jacie Ragland: She will follow up to determine if it will show up in a budget document.
  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: It is more likely to show up in a CDE budget document.

Discussion Regarding Report to the Task Force and State Council Final Report to the California State Legislature

  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: The Executive Summary for the Task Force and State Council Final Report to the California State Legislature (Report) still has to be done and will include the California Education Code (EC) section that precedes the existing Report.
  • During discussion of the Positive Impact on Military Families section, members discussed modifications to the Report that reflect positive changes due to the influence of the Compact:
    • Military families are able to “routinely” receive advisement.
    • More high school students are able to graduate on time due to decreased incidents of credit loss.
    • Families report an improvement in their connection to new communities due to efficient and less stressful school transitions.
  • State Council members discussed concerns about student absences related to parents’ deployment that are mentioned in the Report and are addressed by the Compact. An item in the Report notes that the Coronado Unified School District provides military families with a letter for their school to protect students from truancy violations when parents are deployed or returning from deployment.
    • Task Force Chairman John Burns: One of the concerns is that students face not only an issue of truancy, but sometimes are penalized by schools for turning work in late.
    • Commissioner Wren Gavlak: Many districts are using the independent study approach. Truancy is a major issue, and is a major concern; many letters have been received about this issue.
    • State Council members decided to refer to “deployment-related absences,” in the Report to avoid use of the word “truancy” when referring to issues of student absenteeism resulting from a parent’s deployment.
    • Task Force Chairman John Burns: It would be helpful to have data regarding whether the number of school districts is increasing.
    • Commissioner Wren Gavlak: This would be helpful, but it is hard to get this data from districts.

Related Case Study

  • State Council Member Patricia Rucker: It is important that the Report mention the case study stating that the Compact made the process smoother for a student who missed the deadline for an International Baccalaureate Program. The School Liaison Officer was able to show that Compact policy applied in this particular case.

Negative Impacts to be Included in the Report

  • The Report notes that some school districts with smaller numbers of military families are not knowledgeable about the provisions of the Compact and related ECs.
  • Some school districts are reluctant to comply with some provisions of the EC.
  • Some families are unaware of the existence of the Compact; some are aware of its existence, but unclear about what is covered and what is not.

Additional Recommendations

  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: The Report should state that the CDE has the ability to facilitate technical assistance for resources through its Web site. The state may consider providing a budget stream for this purpose. If the need for support for the Compact is not made clear, it will be ignored.
  • Commissioner Wren Gavlak: It is the State Council’s job to ensure that all districts know about the Compact and its provisions, with the CDE’s support.
  • State Council Member Patricia Rucker: There is something that should come from the $60,000 annual dues besides the existence of the Task Force and Council.
  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: We have come to accept the idea that the CDE cannot do things as “the norm,” due to lack of funding and cutbacks in recent years. The Report needs to make clear that the state needs to get a budget stream for this program. The Report needs to make it clear that all students in California school districts need support.
  • State Council Member Patricia Rucker: This is one of the most underfunded departments of education in the Compact. The goal is to make sure that this program is properly funded and able to support the work of the Commission as intended by the enabling legislation.   
  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: The Report also needs to emphasize the importance of assisting military families with issues relating to their children’s education, to support the military’s ability to do its job.
  • DOD Liaison Representative Kelli May: California has one of the largest numbers of military personnel, which is why the Report refers to the need for California to take a leadership role in support for military families.
  • Members decided to add a recommendation that data charts for each district’s military population be added to the School Accountability Report Card so the information is monitored and available.
  • State Council Member Patricia Rucker: Due to the Local Control Funding Formula, there will be problems if classes have more than 24 students.
  • Commissioner Wren Gavlak: If you have more than 24 students in a classroom, you can lose all your Class Size Reduction funding.
  • Task Force Chairman John Burns: Anyone with additional case study suggestions for the Report should contact SSPI Designee Jacie Ragland. The Report must be ready by September 1, 2013, to begin the approval process at the CDE and be ready for the California State Legislature by its assigned due date of December 1, 2013.

Commissioner Wren Gavlak adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.

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