Two updates recently occurred related to behavior plans for special education students. First, Assembly Bill 86 (“AB 86”) was passed, resulting in the repeal of the Hughes Bill as of July 1, 2013. Second, the State Controller issued claiming instructions for school districts to access more than $1 billion of retroactive reimbursement related to the Hughes Bill costs incurred by school districts during previous school years.
86: Repeal of the Hughes Bill
AB 86, a budget omnibus trailer bill, repealed the “Hughes Bill,” which was a California behavior intervention program mandate for special education students who exhibited serious behavioral problems. AB 86 now requires behavior interventions for special education students to align more closely with federal law, as identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and its regulations. AB 86 revises Education Code sections 56520-56525 and requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to repeal Sections 3052 and 3001(d)-(g) and (ab) of Title 5 of the California Regulations. Following is a summary of the important changes created by AB 86:
We recommend that school districts and SELPAs immediately review their policies, regulations, forms, and handbooks to reflect the current legal requirements. In addition, districts and SELPAs should train administrators, teachers, and staff should to ensure consistency in the implementation of appropriate behavioral interventions.
Reimbursement: Instructions and Claim Forms
During its existence, the Hughes Bill imposed behavior intervention requirements in excess of those found in federal law. However, it did not provide the funding or a mechanism for school districts to recoup the resulting additional mandated costs. On January 25, 2013, after a 10-year battle led by the California School Boards Association’s Education Legal Alliance, and supported by legal services provided by F3, the Commission on State Mandates unanimously agreed to adopt F3's proposal to use a standardized formula to allow school districts to recover mandated costs incurred between the 1993-1994 and 2011-12 school years under the State’s Hughes Bill. For the 2012-13 school year, school districts must claim, and will be reimbursed for, actual costs.
On July 24, 2013, the California State Controller issued claiming instructions and claim forms for retroactive payment for school years from 1993-94 through 2012-13. We encourage school districts to review this information as soon as possible as the deadline for reimbursement claims for school years 1993-94 through 2011-12 is November 21, 2013, and the deadline for reimbursement claims for the 2012-13 school year is February 18, 2014.
On July 26, 2013 the Commission approved an estimate of the costs from 1993-94 to 2011-12 in the amount of $1,008,923,805. The Commission-approved amount now awaits Legislative authorization.
For inquiries regarding how the passage of AB 86 may impact your district or for assistance in submitting a claim for retroactive reimbursement for costs incurred under the Hughes Bill, please contact an attorney in any one of our six offices throughout California.
F3 NewsFlash prepared by Jonathan Read, Anne Sherlock and Siobhan
Jonathan is a partner in the F3 San Marcos office.
Anne is a partner in the F3 Sacramento office.
Siobhan is an associate in the F3 Los Angeles office.
F3 NewsFlash is a summary only and not legal advice. We recommend that
you consult with legal counsel to determine how this legal development may
apply to your specific facts and circumstances. Information on a free
NewsFlash subscription can be found at www.fagenfriedman.com.
This F3 NewsFlash is a summary only and not legal advice. We recommend that you consult with legal counsel to determine how this legal development may apply to your specific facts and circumstances. Information on a free NewsFlash subscription can be found at www.fagenfriedman.com.
As part of the E-ducation™ Professional Development Series hosted by ACSA and F3, we offer webinars on various topics. You can find the information on the ACSA website at www.acsa.org/e-ducation.
Keep up to the minute on the latest updates, NewsFlashes, and legal news by following F3 on Twitter:@F3Law.
 The IDEA refers to behavior intervention plans, or BIPs, in the disciplinary removal context. In order to avoid confusion with Hughes Bill BIPs, school districts in California have historically referred to any non-Hughes Bill BIP as a behavior support plan, or “BSP.” With the repeal of the Hughes Bill, the term BIP can now be used in reference to any behavior plan without the potential for confusion.