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California School Boards Association v. State

Supreme Court of California

December 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
STATE of California et al., Defendants and Respondents.

         [454 P.3d 963] [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 591] First Appellate District, Division Five, A148606, Alameda County Superior Court, RG11554698, Evelio M. Grillo, Judge.

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         COUNSEL

         Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, Deborah B. Caplan, Sacramento, and Richard C. Miadich for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

         Jeffrey C. Williams, Irvine, for School Innovations & Achievement as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

         Dannis Woliver Kelley, Chistian M. Keiner and William B. Tunick for San Jose Unified School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Poway Unified School District, East Side Union High School District and Fullerton Joint Union High School District as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

         Lozano Smith, Sloan R. Simmons, Sacramento, Steve H. Ngo, Walnut Creek, and Nicholas J. Clair, Sacramento, for Clovis Unified School District, Elk Grove Unified School District, Folsom-Cordova Unified School District, Porterville Unified School District, Sacramento City Unified School District, San Juan Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Twin Rivers Unified School District, Visalia Unified School District, West Contra Costa Unified School District as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

          Jennifer B. Henning for California State Association of Counties, League of California Cities and California Special Districts Association as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

         Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Thomas S. Patterson and Douglas J. Woods, Assistant Attorneys General, Benjamin M. Glickman, Constance L. LeLouis and Seth E. Goldstein, Deputy Attorneys General, for Defendants and Respondents State of California, State Controller John Chiang and Director of the Department of Finance Michael Cohen.

         Camille Shelton, Sacramento, for Defendant and Respondent Commission on State Mandates.

          OPINION

         Liu, J.

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         [454 P.3d 964] In 2010, during a period of economic recession, the Legislature enacted two statutes requiring a portion of state funding provided annually to local education agencies to be used prospectively as "offsetting revenues" under Government Code section 17');">7557');">7, subdivision (d)(2)(B) to satisfy two existing state reimbursement mandates. (Ed. Code, § § 42238.24 [Graduation Requirements], 56523, subd. (f) [Behavioral Intervention Plans].) These statutes designate previously non-mandate education funding as restricted funding at the start of the next fiscal year to satisfy the state’s obligation to reimburse school [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 592] districts for these two mandates. The question is whether the statutes on their face violate the California Constitution’s mandate reimbursement requirement (Cal. Const., art. XIII B, § 6) or the separation of powers (Cal. Const., art. III, § 3).

         We hold, in agreement with the Court of Appeal, that the method chosen by the Legislature to pay for the two mandates does not on its face violate the state Constitution. The Legislature has broad authority to determine how it will pay for existing mandates, and neither article XIII B, section 6 of the Constitution nor the separation of powers dictates that additional revenue is the only way the Legislature can satisfy its mandate obligations. Because this case involves a facial challenge, we have no occasion to consider the validity of the statutes as applied to a school district that claims its mandate costs exceed the state funding designated to pay for those costs.

          I.

          We begin with an overview of the law governing reimbursement for state mandates and discuss the two mandates at issue in this case.

          A.

         Enacted by initiative in 197');">79, article XIII B, section 6, subdivision (a) of the California Constitution says: "Whenever the Legislature or any state

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agency mandates a new program or higher level of service on any local government, the State shall provide a subvention of funds to reimburse that local government for the costs of the program or increased level of service," with certain exceptions not relevant here. (Ballot Pamp., Special Elec. (Nov. 6, 197');">79), text of Prop. 4, p. 17');">7.) To implement article XIII B, section 6, the Legislature created the Commission on State Mandates (Commission) as a quasi-judicial body to "hear and decide upon a claim by a local agency or school district that the local agency or ...


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