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August 6, 2008 > Governor signs Torrico bills on state special schools

Governor signs Torrico bills on state special schools

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico's (D-Newark) bill to provide improved notification about state special schools services to parents of children assessed for an individualized education program was signed into law today by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bill, AB 2555, passed the Assembly last month on a 75-0 vote. It is intended to make more parents aware of the services provided by the state's three special schools - the California School for the Blind, in Fremont, and the California School for the Deaf, which has campuses in Fremont and Riverside.

"Not all parents are aware of the many services offered at these schools and that they may be the most suitable option for their children," Torrico said. "This bill makes sure parents or the guardians are informed when their children are assessed for an individualized education program."

Parents and guardians of disabled children are given notice of procedural safeguards that provide them an overview of their educational rights. The notice is given when the child is referred for a special education assessment. Under AB 2555, the notice would include information for deaf, blind, visually-impaired or hearing-impaired students regarding the School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf.

During legislative hearings parents testified that they did not know their children could possibly attend one of the three state special schools.

AB 2555 is supported by California Council for the Blind, the PTA, California School Boards Association and the Alliance of California Autism, among other organizations.

The Governor also signed AB 2604, another Torrico bill to encourage counties and cities to defer the collection of development impact fees to the close of escrow, with the exception of school impact fees. The fees are for public facilities impacted by new homebuyers and are typically required at the time the final map is filed or when an individual permit is issued.

The bill is aimed at assisting the construction industry in this economic downturn by delaying thousands of dollars of fees on new home construction.

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