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Senate Bill 2305 (Carpenter-1986)

Chapter 1316Statutes of 1986

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Senator Carpenter wrote the following to Governor Deukmejian in his August 29, 1986 letter requesting approval of Senate Bill 2305:

In 1984 I authored successful legislation which exempted public school closures from the California Environmental Quality Act. Having to prepare Environmental Impact Reports on school closures was a waste of a school district's time and money. Exemption from CEQA also had the positive effect of curtailing frivolous lawsuits by upset parents who didn't want their neighborhood schools closing.

It has now come to my attention that similar groups are pursuing legal action against school districts on the grounds that the transfer of students from a closed school should require an EIR. Once again school districts' time and money is being wasted fighting inane court battles.

This bill, SB 2305, will put a quick end to this problem by simply exempting the transfer of students from a closed school from the CEQA reporting requirements as specified. The bill has no opposition and received significant input from the Resources Agency.
(See Exhibit #10, document A-7 and #12, document PE-2)

The analysis prepared by the Resources Agency provided the following background on the Senate Bill 2305:

This bill would expand an exemption from CEQA requirements (SB 1355, Carpenter; Stats. 84, Ch. 1250) for the closure of any public school (grades K-12). In its initial form SB 1355 in 1984 would have exempted from CEQA both public school closures and school district reorganization activities. The Resources Agency opposed SB 1355 based upon the potential for adverse environmental effects resulting from school closures and district reorganizations, which under an exemption from CEQA would be neither analyzed nor mitigated and could result in increased costs. SB 1355 was enacted in an amended form providing an exemption from CEQA only for public school closures.

In a 1985 case involving the Rancho Palos Verdes School District, a Superior Court judge held that since a school closure is exempt from CEQA, the transfer of students from the closed school would also be exempt from CEQA requirements. The appellate courts have not ruled on the issue.
(See Exhibit #7, document SFA-5)

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