Friday, October 11, 2013

Governor Vetoes AB 375

On October 10, 2013, Governor Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 375.  AB 375 had proposed to "streamline" the certificated dismissal process, but would have imposed significant burdens on districts that potentially would have made it more difficult to dismiss teachers.  Governor Brown specifically acknowledged problems with the ability to amend charges and the limit to five depositions per side.

In his veto message, Governor Brown urged the Legislature and stakeholders to continue working towards a solution that would reduce procedural complexities of the teacher dismissal process.

Opponents of the bill included CSBA and ACSA.

~Meghan Covert Russell

Monday, October 7, 2013

Governor Signs Assembly Bill 182 Adding Requirements for Issuance of Capital Appreciation Bonds and Current Interest Bonds

On October 2, 2013 the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill 182 (“AB 182”).  AB 182 requires that the total debt payments for each bond series be limited to no more than four times the principal amount.  Further, capital appreciation bonds (“CABs”) are limited to a maximum term of 25 years.  CABs that mature more than 10 years after their date of issuance must be subject to refinancing on the 10th anniversary of the date the bond was issued or earlier.  AB 182 also requires that if the proposed bond sale includes CABs, school board members must be presented with specific information about the total overall cost of the bonds, a comparison to the overall cost of current interest bonds, and the reasoning that CABs are recommended.  The school board’s resolution authorizing the sale of the CABs must include the financing terms, maturity dates, repayment ratio and estimated change in the assessed value of taxable property within the district.  School boards must also make certain findings with respect to current interest bonds with maturities greater than 30 years.

The full text of AB 182 can be found here.

Please sign up to receive our Legal Alerts for a more detailed analysis of AB 182.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mixed Results in California Student Performance on State Standardized Testing

Last week the California Department of Education ("CDE") issued a news release announcing the results of the California High School Exit Exam ("CAHSEE") and the Standardized Testing and Reporting ("STAR").  

CAHSEE: An estimated 95.5% of the Class of 2013 passed the CAHSEE, a 0.5% increase from the previous year, and a 5.1% increase since the first was first administered in 2006.  Pass rates for the Class of 2013 included an estimated 91.8% of African American students; 82.2% of students who are learning English; 98.5% of white students; 93.5% of students who are economically disadvantaged, and 93.8% of Hispanic or Latino students.

API: However, the Growth Academic Performance Index ("API") has declined 2 points statewide, from 791 to 789.  The API ranges from 200 to 1000, with a statewide target of 800.  The API shows that 56% of elementary schools, 50% of middle schools and only 30% of high schools are meeting the state benchmark.  Several subgroups say an increase in API, including 5 points by socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.

AYP:  Adequate Yearly Progress ("AYP") targets, as set forth under the federal No Child Left Behind program, continue to lag.  Only 14% of schools met AYP benchmarks, a sharp decline from 26% last year. 

For more information, please see the CDE's August 29, 2013 news release here.

Meghan Covert Russell

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Hours" Worked Cannot Be Converted To "Days" In Order To Earn Permanent Employee Status

In Cox v. Los Angeles Unified School District (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 2 Dist., July 23, 2013), a California court of appeal considered whether a school district employee could apply hours of credit she claimed to have worked during a maternity leave as "days" for the purpose of satisfying the number of days needed to satisfy the Education Code 44908 “complete school year” threshold requirement for earning permanent employee status.  The appellate court held that the Code's specific reference to "number of days worked" plainly required probationary certificated employees to work the number of actual days, and that extra hours an employee may have worked while on leave of absence or partial days worked cannot be considered the equivalent to days for that purpose. 

For more information, see KMTG's Legal Alert

Legal Alert Series: Education Legislation (Set No. 2)

KMTG will be publishing a series of Legal Alerts summarizing pertinent legislation to the education community.

In the second round, we examine AB 20 (obscene matters depicting minors), AB 166 (financial literacy instruction), AB 86 (surplus property), Sb 73 (Prop 39 implementation and funding), and AB 133 (digital format for instructional materials).  To read about these recently passed bills, check out our Legal Alert.

Friday, August 30, 2013

CDE Publications Available to Help Implement Common Core State Standards

The California Department of Education ("CDE") has two publications available to help schools and students with the transition to the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS").  This week the CDE announced that these publications are now available in print form, in addition to the previously available electronic formats.

 The publications are:
California Common Core State Standards: English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects (CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy)
California Common Core Standards: Mathematics (CA CCSSM)

Additionally, Tom Torlakson released a video explaining the importance of the transition to assessments based on the new CCSS.

The CCSS are a set of standards for English and math that are consistent across the 45 states that have adopted them since 2010.  More information on California's implementation of the CCSS can be round on the CDE's website, here.

For more information, please see the CDE's August 26, 2013 News Release available here.

Meghan Covert Russell

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50 Years After "I Have a Dream"

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. capped the March on Washington with his influential "I Have a Dream" speech given at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The progress this nation has made in the past 50 years is undeniable.  Today, our first African-American president will mark Dr. King's historic speech with a speech of his own.  However, the struggle to obtain equal rights is ongoing.  Equitable access to education, racial and gender equality, and LGBT rights all remain pressing issues today.  Reflecting on Dr. King's words spoken 50 years ago highlight both the progress we have made and the ground we have yet to cover.

Below is an excerpt from Dr. King's speech.  The complete speech is available at the National Archives by clicking here. 

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood...

"I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.  I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers..." 

~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963

Meghan Covert Russell