Thursday, January 15, 2015

New year brings new education-related laws to California school districts

New Laws - Gavel Governor Jerry Brown signed a combined 930 Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) bills in 2014. Many of the statutes are education-related and will impact K-12 public schools and students, including San Diego Unified operations, policies and procedures, and reporting requirements. Below is a summary of the most relevant and important education-related legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2015:

  • AB 1432 (Gatto) requires Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to annually train all school personnel who are mandated reporters on the mandated reporting requirements within the first 6 weeks of each school year and develop a process for mandated reporters required to receive training to provide proof of completing this training.

  • AB 2127 (Cooley) prohibits high school and middle school football teams of school districts, charter schools, or private schools that elect to offer an athletic program from conducting more than 2 full-contact practices per week during the preseason and regular season. It also prohibits the full-contact portion of a practice from exceeding 90 minutes in any single day, and completely prohibits full-contact practice during the off-season.

  • AB 420 (Dickinson) eliminates the authority to recommend for expulsion a pupil for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. The bill also eliminates the authority to suspend a grade K-3 pupil for willful defiance. The provisions of the bill sunset July 1, 2018, unless a bill extends the provisions.

  • AB 1719 (Weber) will require LEAs, commencing with the 2015-16 school year, to provide an annual report to CDE that contains information on the type of kindergarten program offered by the LEA.

  • SB 1060 (Liu) requires an LEA that offers a program of professional learning for teachers, administrators, paraprofessional educators or other classified employees involved in the direct instruction of students, to evaluate professional learning that meets a specified list of criteria, such as helping attract, grow, and retain effective educators and being based on needs assessment of educators and tied to supporting pupil learning.

  • AB 1664 (Hagman) will require that a district that is selling or leasing a school site purchased with state bond funds for sale or lease to another school district, county office of education, or other government agency for child care and development purposes prior to selling or leasing the site to a city, park district or regional park authority. A charter school would retain first right to purchase or lease the property.

  • AB 215 (Buchanan) creates two separate teacher dismissal hearing processes – one for charges of egregious misconduct only (child abuse, sexual abuse, and certain drug offenses) and one for all other reasons a teacher may be dismissed, including a combination of other reasons and egregious misconduct. Egregious misconduct cases will be heard by an administrative law judge and will be prioritized over other appeals, and the decision of the judge will be binding. Dismissal charges for egregious misconduct can be filed at any time during the year.

  • AB 1611 (Bonta) requires a public school employer to give reasonable written notice to the exclusive representative of classified personnel of the employer’s intent to make any change to matters within the scope of representation of those employees for purposes of providing the exclusive representative a reasonable amount of time to negotiate proposed changes with the employer.

  • AB 1522 (Gonzalez) adds a new section to the California Labor Code providing paid sick days to any employee that works for 30 or more days within a year and who would accrue a minimum of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers can limit the use of sick leave to 24 hours or 3 days per year and the unused leave would carry over from year to year. Even though regular employees in school districts are already entitled to and earning sick leave as required by the Education Code, this could have implications for other types of employees, such as substitutes and yard duty employees.

  • SB 1266 (Huff) requires school districts to provide emergency epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) to trained personnel and would authorize trained personnel to use those EpiPens to provide emergency medical aid to persons suffering from an anaphylactic reaction. Among its provisions, the bill requires EpiPens to be available at each school site and at school-sanctioned events. It requires a qualified supervisor of health or administrator at an LEA to obtain the prescription for EpiPens and be responsible for stocking and restocking if used.

  • AB 2706 (Hernandez) requires a public school, for purposes of the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years, to add an informational item to its enrollment forms, or amend an existing enrollment form in order to provide the parent or legal guardian information about health care coverage options and enrollment assistance.

  • SB 1172 (Steinberg) requires a pupil’s vision to be appraised by the school nurse or other authorized person during kindergarten or upon first enrollment or entry in a California school district of a pupil at an elementary school, and in grades 2, 5, and 8, except as provided. Revises the functions performed by the school nurse and the classroom teacher in observing a pupil's eyes, appearance, and other factors that may indicate vision difficulties.

  • SB 1349 (Jackson) will require, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, each public school, including charter schools, offering competitive athletics to make publically available at the end of the school year the total enrollment of the school, classified by gender; the number of students who participate in competitive athletics, classified by gender; and, the number of boys’ and girls’ teams, classified by sport and by competition level. The bill requires schools to post this data on their website and that the data be retained for three years.
To obtain a complete list of new legislation, additional information on bills, bill text, analyses and legislative vote records, visit the state’s Official Legislative Information website at .