Legislature Passes Education Legislation Higher Education Workweek of School Police Departments, Confidentiality of Student Records, Sex-Segregated School Programs and Activities, Termination Hearings for Education Employees, Bond Accountability for School Bonds, and Sexual Harassment

KMTG will be issuing a series of updates on new legislation signed by Governor Brown.  All laws are effective January 1, 2014, unless otherwise stated.

School Police: Workweek—AB 226

AB 226 adds section 45133.5 to the Education Code.  This new law gives a governing board of a school district or a county superintendent the authority to “establish a 12-hour-per-day, 80-hour-per-2 week work schedule for school police departments,” if such a schedule is consented to in a valid collective bargaining agreement.  The collective bargaining agreement must contain express provisions for the hours of work, the working conditions, and the wages for the employees.  It must also contain express provisions for meal periods of employees and provide for final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning meal periods.  Premium wage rates for overtime hours must be provided.  The agreement must contain “[a] regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate.”  The 12-hour-per-day, 80-hour-per-2-week work schedule must consist of seven work days of 12-hours and one eight-hour day.  The overtime rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay must be paid for all hours worked in excess of the required workday.  If this type of schedule is adopted, the workweek must “be defined so that no employee will be required to work more than 40 hours during any given workweek.”

Public School Pupil Records:  Confidentiality—AB 643 

Section 49076 of the Education Code provides that a school district shall not permit access to pupil records without written consent of the pupil’s parent or under judicial order except as set forth in the statute and certain federal regulations.  AB 643 amends section 49076 to add to the classes of persons who may access pupil records, “[a]n agency caseworker or other representative of a state or local child welfare agency, or tribal organization” who “has legal responsibility, in accordance with state or tribal law, for the care and protection of the pupil.”  The amendment provides that these agencies and organizations “may disclose pupil records, or the personally identifiable information contained in those records, to an individual or entity engaged in addressing the pupil’s educational needs, if the individual or entity is authorized by the agency or organization to receive the disclosure and the information requested is directly related to the assistance provided by that individual or entity.”  However, the pupil’s records, or the personally identifiable information that is contained in the pupil’s records, “shall not otherwise be disclosed by that agency or organization, except as provided” pursuant to federal law, state law, and tribal law.

Sex-Segregated School Programs and Activities—AB 1266

Education Code section 221.5 prohibits public schools from discriminating against pupils based on their gender.  Classes must be conducted without regard to the sex of the pupil enrolled in the classes. If participation in a particular physical education activity or sport is required of pupils of one sex, the activity or sport must be made available to pupils of each sex.  Education Code section 220 further prohibits discrimination against a student based on gender identity or gender expression.

AB 1266 amends Education Code section 221.5 to provide, “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

Termination Hearings for Education Employees—SB 546

For provisions of the Education Code and Government Code that address termination of certificated employees due to a reduction in force, SB 546 changes the term “accusation” to “District Statement of Reduction in Force.”  It also changes the phrase “Notice of Defense” to “Notice of Participation in Reduction in Force Hearing.”  A hearing involving a reduction in force will be initiated by filing a “District Statement of Reduction in Force.”

Bond Accountability for School Bonds—SB 581

Under current law, governing boards of school districts, community college districts, and county offices of education must conduct annual performance and financial audits as part of accountability requirements for bonds approved by 55% of the voters.  The audits must be submitted to a citizens’ oversight committee.  Existing Education Code section 15280 requires, among other things, a governing board of a school district to provide the citizens’ oversight committee with technical and administrative assistance and sufficient resources to publicize the committee's conclusions.  Additionally, the committee must issue a report of its activities at least once per year and it must make all of its minutes, the documents it receives, and the reports it issues available on the governing board’s web site. 

SB 581 will require the governing board of a school district to provide the “committee with responses to any and all findings, recommendations, and concerns addressed in the annual, independent financial and performance audits.  .  .  within three months of receiving the audits.” 

SB 581 will also add to Education Code section 15286 that independent financial and performance audits be submitted to the citizens' oversight committee at the same time they are submitted to the school district or community college district, no later than March 31.

Sexual Harassment—SB 292

Government Code section 12940 prohibits, among other things, employment discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.  It currently provides that “‘harassment because of sex includes sexual harassment, gender harassment, and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”   SB 292 amends section 12940 to provide that “[s]exually harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire.”

What This Means To You

Board policies and administrative regulations should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the newest changes in the law.  School administration and staff should be updated as to any changes so that the appropriate policies are consistently followed.  KMTG attorneys are available to assist in review and revision of Board policies and regulations.

Topics:  Administrative Hearings, Bonds, Harassment, Jerry Brown, New Legislation, Police, Public Schools, Sexual Harassment, Student Records, Students, Teachers, Termination

Published In: Civil Rights Updates, Education Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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