The state’s 2014-15 legislative session came to a close Aug. 31. Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto bills.
ACSA’s Governmental Relations team tracked a total of 972 bills this year. At press time, 222 had been chaptered into law; 23 had been vetoed; and 160 were still awaiting action by the governor. Another 567 bills died in the Legislature. Bills the governor neither signs nor vetoes by Sept. 30 automatically become law.
Among the ACSA bills already on the books is Senate Bill 1229, Fuller, R-Bakersfield, which designates every second full week in the month of October of each year as Week of the School Administrator.
Section 44015.1 of the Education Code is amended to read: In observance of the importance of educational leadership at the school, school district, and county levels, the second full week in the month of October of each year shall be designated as “Week of the School Administrator.” Schools, school districts, and county superintendents of schools are encouraged to observe the week with public recognition of the contribution that school administrators make to successful pupil achievement.
The new law takes effect Jan. 1, making the next official Week of the School Administrator Oct. 11-17, 2015. The 2014 WOSA was celebrated in its previous time slot in March.
Other signed legislation includes Assembly Bill 215, Buchanan, D-Alamo, which makes significant changes to the teacher dismissal process effective Jan. 1, 2015.
AB 215 adds “egregious misconduct” as a specific type of immoral conduct that allows for a new and separate dismissal process. Egregious misconduct is defined in AB 215 as conduct that forms the basis for specified sex offenses, specified drug offenses, and specified offenses related to child abuse and neglect. If a governing board elects to initiate a dismissal proceeding solely for egregious conduct, a new “streamlined” process applies to that dismissal proceeding.
Once a governing board initiates a dismissal under the new process, there are strict limitations against using any of the acts or events related to the egregious misconduct charge in any future discipline or dismissal proceeding. If the employee is charged with any other cause for dismissal, then the regular dismissal process applies and this limitation is not applicable.
The requirement to begin the dismissal hearing within 60 days of the employee’s demand for a hearing, with a specific one-time-only 30-day continuance of the deadline, is by far the most significant change in the new egregious misconduct dismissal process. This means that the local education agency must be able to prepare its case in a very short period of time. Discovery must be completed seven days before a hearing, and the parties have only 53 days to complete discovery – 83 days with the one-time 30-day continuance.
AB 2560 has also been signed to require all certificated school employees, when they renew their credential, to read a statement and attest by electronic signature that they understand their duty as a mandated reporter to report child abuse directly to law enforcement.
The law was enacted as a result of the increased number of instances where mandated reporters have reported suspected child abuse or neglect only to a supervisor and not to law enforcement or CPS.
This additional required step of acknowledgement is hoped to lead to a clearer understanding of the duties a credential holder has when acting as a mandated reporter.
ACSA-sponsored AB 1892, which aimed to allow local education agencies to continue receiving portions of their supplemental and concentration grant funding under LCFF for two additional fiscal years after an English learner has been reclassified as fluent English proficient, did not make it through the two-year legislative session.
ACSA chose not to pursue the bill after the fiscal piece was gutted. Legislative Advocate Kimberly Rodriguez said a new bill may be introduced next year.
EdCal will report on other legislation as it unfolds. Visit www.acsa.org/advocacy for the latest news.