Williams Act Compliance
The Eliezer Williams, et al., vs. State of California, et al. (Williams) case was filed as a class action in 2000 in San Francisco County Superior Court. The plaintiffs include nearly 100 San Francisco County students, who filed suit against the State of California and state education agencies, including the California Department of Education (CDE). The basis of the lawsuit was that the agencies failed to provide public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent school facilities, and qualified teachers.
The case was settled in 2004, resulting in the state allocating $138 million in additional funding for standards-aligned instructional materials for schools in the first and second ranks (known as deciles) determined through the 2003 Academic Performance Index (API) Base. The settlement includes another $50 million for implementation costs and other oversight-related activities for schools in deciles one through three (2003 API Base). These two amounts were included in the state budget signed in July 2004 by Governor Schwarzenegger. Another $800 million will be provided for critical repair of facilities in future years for schools in deciles one through three (2003 API Base). The settlement will be implemented through legislation adopted in August 2004: Senate Bill (SB) 6, SB 550, Assembly Bill (AB) 1550, AB 2727, AB 3001. Up to 2.3 million California public school students may benefit from funding from the Williams case settlement.
As a result of the Williams case, the CDE has proposed changes to the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) template that all schools must update and publish annually. The proposed changes will help all schools report the overall condition of their facilities, the number of teacher misassignments and vacant teacher positions, and the availability of textbooks or instructional materials. The proposed changes were submitted to the State Board of Education, which approved the changes at its meeting on November 9, 2004. The new Williams-related reporting elements are being amended into the 2003-04 SARC template, which is expected to be released by December 15, 2004. More information is available at the SARC Web page.