"We fully expected that this would happen," Sheehy said. "This would exempt students that have been [identified] as on a diploma tract."
Special education students who were not on track to graduate were already exempt from the exam, Sheehy said.
The distinction comes in a student's Individual Education Plan, which delineates the needs a student has, as well as the extent of that student's academic ambitions.
The new legislation would require that a special education student have been on an Individual Education Program since July of 2005. It would also require that students attempt the exam at least twice.
Students who are English language learners will also have some respite from the test in their fourth year of school. State policy says that English language learners are required to finish graduation requirements in "a reasonable amount of time," which allows the district the latitude to offer students who do not pass the test, or still require English-language learning services a fifth year. They would then receive a diploma from their original high schools -- an option that is not available to students fluent in English.
Together, the fifth-year option and the bill -- if it passes -- would help more than half of the Burbank students still struggling with the exam. The reprieve for special education students, however, will only affect the class of 2006 -- the district must still decide how to recognize these students in the future.
"Even without the legislation, if it were written in their [Individual Education Plans] that they're exempt from the exam, they could still walk at graduation," Sheehy said. "There are two issues: walking, and getting a diploma."