New Requirements for Assigning High School Students to Certain Courses

November 2015
Number 74

Recent legislation imposes new requirements before school districts can assign high school students to certain courses. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, school districts may not assign students in grades 9-12 to “course periods without educational content” without written parent consent and related documentation. Similar requirements apply before a school district may assign students in grades 9-12 to take certain courses for the second time.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1012 was introduced in response to the class action lawsuit (Cruz v. California, No. RG-14727139 (Alameda Cnty Super Ct) filed in May 2014 which alleged that students enrolled in certain courses were not receiving meaningful instruction in violation of the California Constitution’s guarantee of an equal education opportunity. Some of the courses at issue were entitled “Inside Work Experience,” “Service,” “Home” and “Teaching Assistant.” After AB 1012 was signed by the Governor, the parties settled the lawsuit on November 5, 2015.

Effective January 1, 2016, AB 1012 adds sections 51228.1, 51228.2 and 51228.3 to the Education Code. Section 51228.1 provides that school districts are not allowed to assign students in grades 9-12 to “course periods without educational content” for more than one week in a semester beginning in the 2016-2017 school year without written parent consent and related documentation.

“Course periods without educational content” are defined to include course periods where: 1) a student is released early from school, 2) a student is assigned to a service, instructional work experience or to a course to assist a certificated employee, but is not expected to complete curricular assignments, or 3) where the student is not assigned to any course during the class period. However, section 51228.1 may not be interpreted to limit a district’s ability to authorize dual enrollment in community college, to offer independent study, or to provide courses of work-based learning or work experience and similar opportunities.

Education Code section 51228.2 provides that school districts also cannot, without written parent consent and related documentation, enroll students in classes they have previously completed and received a grade which is satisfactory to receive a high school diploma and to attend California public institutions of postsecondary education. There is an exception for courses that have been designed to be taken more than once because students are exposed to a new curriculum year to year and therefore are expected to receive educational value from taking the course again.

As noted above, Education Code sections 51228.1 and 51228.2 both allow for a student’s enrollment in the specified courses, provided there is written consent from the parent, guardian, educational rights holder, or the student, if he or she is 18 years or older. Both of these sections also require that a school official determine that the student will benefit from being assigned to the particular course and that the principal or assistant principal of the school has stated in writing, for the relevant school year, that no pupils are assigned to the specified courses unless the first two requirements have been met.

Education Code sections 51228.1 and 51228.2 do not apply to students enrolled in an alternative school, a community day school, a continuation high school or an opportunity school.

AB 1012 also adds Education Code section 51228.3, which provides that complaints alleging that a school district has not complied with these new requirements must be considered under the district’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, with a right to appeal to the California Department of Education.

The new Education Code sections require the State Superintendent to develop regulations for adoption by the State Board to establish procedures, including the form of the written statements required of the parents and school administrators. The terms of the Cruz settlement provide that, prior to May 15, 2016, the California Department of Education will issue a policy notice to all school districts outlining the requirements of AB 1012 for assigning students to “courses without educational content” and “repeated courses.” However, the reality of the school registration schedule will likely require districts to develop protocols in the very near future. Towards that end, Lozano Smith is continuing to work towards clarifying the parameters and outlining the statements required for the upcoming registration season.

For additional information regarding implementing these new registration requirements for the 2016-2017 school year, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Ruth Mendyk
Partner
Fresno Office
rmendyk@lozanosmith.com

Ameet K. Nagra
Associate
Fresno Office
anagra@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Recent Legislation Addresses 9th Grade Mathematics Placement, Mascot Names, and Other Issues Impacting California Students

November 2015
Number 73

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law several Assembly Bills and Senate Bills impacting school district campuses. These bills are summarized below.

Senate Bill 359: the California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015

By January 1, 2016, school districts must adopt a fair, objective and transparent mathematics placement policy for students entering the 9th grade. Senate Bill (SB) 359 was drafted in response to research by the Noyce Foundation which revealed that students of color, despite performing well in 8th grade Algebra courses, were often held back from taking the subsequent math course, Geometry, as they entered 9th grade, resulting in “math misplacement” of those students. The study revealed, without stating expressly, that this created disparate treatment of African American and Latino students.

SB 359 requires that Districts use objective academic measures (i.e., statewide assessments, etc.) in determining student placement in mathematics. Additionally, the bill provides several safeguards to ensure that students are not placed in incorrect math classes for their skill level, such as a placement check point within the first month of the school year, as well as clear and timely recourse for each student or parent who questions in their mathematics placement. The bill attempts to address the overarching problem that improper placement of students in mathematics courses, as early as the 9th grade, can have a long lasting impact on both their professional development and college eligibility.

Assembly Bill 30: The California Racial Mascots Act

Assembly Bill (AB) 30 goes into effect on January 1, 2017, and prohibits public schools from using the term “Redskins” as a school or athletic team name, mascot or nickname. AB 30 explains that the term “Redskins” is discriminatory towards Native Americans and the use of the term in public school sports is a barrier to both equality and understanding for all residents. While AB 30 prohibits public schools from using the term “Redskins,” the bill provides some leeway for schools phasing in this new requirement. For example, AB 30 allows schools to use uniforms or materials with the term “Redskins” as long as the school meets four requirements: (1) the school selects a new school or athletic team name, mascot or nickname; (2) prior to January 1, 2019, schools may acquire or purchase only up to 20% of the total number of uniforms to replace damaged or lost uniforms during the 2016-2017 school year that bear the Redskins name; (3) the school refrain from using the term “Redskins” on any materials distributed or sold to students or employees (i.e. yearbooks, newspapers); and (4) the school refrain from setting up any marquee, sign or other new or replacement fixture with the “Redskins” name. However, schools are not required to take down existing structures until the next time they are replaced in the normal course of maintenance.

Senate Bill 707: Restrictions on Concealed Carry Permit Holders

Prior to SB 707, concealed carry permit holders could carry their handguns on school (K-12) and college campuses without obtaining prior written permission from the Superintendent or designee. SB 707 amends the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 to prevent concealed carry permit holders from possessing their handguns on school (K-12) and college campuses, without such written permission. The bill carves out exceptions to carrying handguns on school and college campuses for active, retired and reserve law enforcement officers. Furthermore, with certain exceptions for peace officers and others, the bill establishes restrictions on carrying ammunition on school and college campuses.

Violations of this new law carry stiff penalties, including felony convictions that may lead to several years of prison time.

AB 306: Transfers for Children of Military Personnel

AB 306 makes it easier for children of active military personnel to transfer to schools other than the one that the student has been assigned to based on his or her place of residence. Currently, a successful inter-district transfer of students requires a two step acceptance process: (1) the district where the student wants to transfer must agree to accept the student; and (2) the district of residence (where the student is transferring from) must allow for the transfer to take place. AB 306 prohibits school districts of residence from denying the transfer of a student who is the child of an active duty parent, so long as the school district receiving the student has approved the transfer.

AB 302: Accommodation for Parenting Teens

AB 302 has made it easier for students with small children to continue attending regular high school. The bill requires high schools to provide lactating students with access to a private, secure room, other than a restroom, to express breast milk, breast-feed an infant child, or address other needs related to breast-feeding. Schools are also required to allow these students to bring breast pumps or any other similar equipment on campus and must provide students space to store their expressed milk. Schools are further required to provide these students with a reasonable break time to accommodate their lactation schedule, and students must not incur any academic penalties as a result of using these accommodations.

The new law also allows students to file complaints under the Uniform Complaint Procedures for failure to comply with these requirements.

If you have questions about 9th Grade Mathematics Placement, Mascot Names or any other issues impacting California studentplease contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Edward Sklar
Partner
Walnut Creek Office
esklar@lozanosmith.com

Inna Volkova
Associate
Fresno Office
ivolkova@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

New Statutes Affect Local Agency Public Works Projects

November 2015
Number 72

New legislation will impact public works projects for local public agencies, including cities, school districts, and counties. In light of these changes, public agencies will want to closely review their public works bidding and construction documents to ensure they are updated in accordance with these new laws.

Liquidated Damages – Government Code section 53069.85 currently allows liquidated damage provisions in local agency public works contracts to compensate the owner for costs caused by contractor delay in lieu of actual delay damages. Most public works contracts include a liquidated damages clause, which typically states a dollar amount that will be assessed for each day of delay. The dollar amount is calculated by the public agency before entering the contract based on estimated actual delay damages and the likely inconvenience to the public of any delay. If no liquidated damages provision is included in a contract, the owner would still be able to recover actual delay damages incurred.

Effective January 1, 2016, Public Contract Code (PCC) section 7203, added by Assembly Bill (AB) 552, will require liquidated damages provisions in every local agency public works contract, and recovery of actual delay damages will be barred. The legislation also restricts the owner from charging liquidated damages after the filing of a notice of completion or, in the absence of such notice, the public agency’s acceptance of the public work as complete.

Prevailing Wages – For public works projects awarded on or after July 1, 2016, Labor Code section 1720.9 (created by AB 219) adds hauling and delivery of ready-mixed concrete to the definition of “public works” for purposes of prevailing wages. “Hauling and delivery” means the duties of the ready mixer driver, including the return trip to the factory or plant.

Prequalification and Lease-Leaseback (school districts only) – For details about AB 566 that affects mandatory prequalification and lease-leaseback projects as of January 1, 2016, please see see Client News Brief No. 51, September 2015, on the Lozano Smith website.

If you have any questions about these or other public works issues, or if you have any interest in Lozano Smith’s form construction contract documents that are updated annually to conform to changes in the law and the construction industry, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Megan Macy
Partner
Sacramento Office
mmacy@lozanosmith.com

Arne Sandberg
Senior Counsel
Walnut Creek Office
asandberg@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

New Bill Overhauls the Design-Build Construction Delivery Method for School Districts

November 2015
Number 71

Although the ‘design-build’ construction delivery method has been available to California school districts for several years, this method has been used somewhat infrequently, as districts have opted for more traditional construction methods, like design-bid-build (Public Contract Code § 20111,et seq.), or alternatives like lease-leaseback (Education Code § 17406). The Legislature recently amended the current laws governing the design-build method for school districts. The changes make the method more accessible and more streamlined, and to give school districts more flexibility. However, the Legislature also imposed a new requirement of a skilled and trained workforce.

Design-build is a construction delivery method by which an owner retains a single entity to provide architectural, engineering, and construction services under a single contract. Although Education Code section 17250.10 et seq. has permitted school districts to utilize the design-build method since 2000, the method has not been widely used. Under present law, school districts are only authorized to use design-build for those construction projects exceeding $2.5 million. Current law also requires a district to make a formal written finding that use of the design-build method will accomplish certain objectives, and requires a district to establish a process to prequalify bidders using a standard questionnaire developed by the Department of Industrial Relations. Also, while the district has some leeway in awarding a contract under design-build (and can consider more than just lowest price), a school district is still required to use the following designated factors to represent at least 50% of the total weight or consideration given to any criteria used by the district: price, technical expertise, life-cycle costs over 15 years or more, skilled labor force availability, and acceptable safety record.

On October 10, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1358, which makes several changes to the design-build method specific to school districts. The changes brought by AB 1358 apply to any request for proposal (RFP) issued on or after on July 1, 2016. Most notably, AB 1358 lowers the threshold from $2.5 million to $1 million, expanding the pool of projects eligible to be awarded through design-build. AB 1358 also somewhat simplifies the process for letting and awarding design-build contracts. First, a district’s governing board is no longer required to make specific written findings regarding the benefits of using the design-build method. Second, a district is allowed to develop its own prequalification questionnaire and rating system. Third, AB 1358 gives more freedom to a district when awarding the contract on factors others than lowest price. While a school district is still required to consider certain factors (price, technical design and construction experience, and life-cycle costs over 15 or more years), the district now has discretion on how these factors are weighted and what other factors, if any, the district should consider.

Another significant change brought by AB 1358 is the addition of a “skilled and trained workforce” requirement. Specifically, any entity seeking prequalification for a school district’s design-build project must provide an enforceable commitment to the district that the entity, and every subcontractor at every tier, will use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on the project. This enforceable commitment can be made by the design-build entity in one of three ways: (i) stating in the contract that it will comply with the labor requirements, with monthly written confirmation from the contractor, and with payments to the contractor ceasing if the confirmation is not received; (ii) agreeing to become a party to the school district’s project labor agreement for the project, if one already exists; or (iii) entering a new project labor agreement for the project. This new requirement is similar to recent changes made to lease-leaseback projects, which also become subject to a ‘skilled and trained workforce’ obligation. (For a further discussion of recent changes to lease-leaseback and lease-to-own agreements, see Client News Brief No. 51, September 2015.)

Even though school districts have been slow to use design-build contracts, other public agencies have used the design-build method and found it advantageous. Given the current uncertainty surrounding lease-leaseback construction agreements, and the fact that some school districts have sought alternatives to the design-bid-build method, AB 1358 may allow the design-build method to become a viable and beneficial construction delivery method for California school districts moving forward, as long as school districts are also prepared to accept the new labor requirements.

If you have questions regarding the implications of AB 1358, or have any planned or anticipated construction projects and would like to discuss construction delivery methods, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Devon B. Lincoln
Partner
Monterey Office
dlincoln@lozanosmith.com

Travis E. Cochran
Associate
Monterey Office
tcochran@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

School and Community College Districts Must Negotiate Calendar Changes and Generally May Not Rely Upon Operational Necessity As a Defense

November 2015
Number 69

Serving the public is the main business of public agencies, and school and college districts must publish a reliable and predictable schedule of instruction each school year so that students, staff, and the community may plan around it. This has always created tension for public school employers as they must plan the non-negotiable instructional calendar for students and also bargain over the negotiable work year calendar for staff members.

In a recent decision, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) held that a community college district (District) violated the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA) when it adopted and implemented a revised academic calendar without exhausting the EERA’s statutory bargaining and impasse process. (Pasadena Area Community College District (2015) PERB Dec. No. 2444). The decision reminds us about which aspects of a school calendar are negotiable, and when a district may unilaterally implement a calendar.

For many years, the District utilized a traditional semester system which included Fall and Spring semesters and Winter and Summer intercessions. In May 2012, the District’s governing board adopted a proposal by the college’s calendar committee to continue using the semester system for 2012-2013. During faculty association (Association) bargaining sessions, the District proposed a switch to the trimester system for 2012-2013 in order to increase revenues. The trimester system would eliminate the Winter intercession.

At the time that the District proposed the trimester system, it offered to negotiate the impacts, or effects, of the calendar change while the Association demanded to bargain over the decision itself. After holding two bargaining sessions where the trimester issue was on the table and before any agreement was reached, on August 29, 2012 the District’s Board of Trustees adopted a revised tentative academic calendar for 2012-2013. The new calendar incorporated the trimester system starting on January 7, 2013, and set October 1, 2012 as the date of “operational necessity” when the District could implement the proposed calendar even without the Association’s agreement. The parties met in September 2012 but reached no agreement. On October 1, 2012, the District implemented the proposed 2012-2013 calendar.

The Association filed an unfair labor practice charge with PERB, alleging that the District’s adoption of the 2012-2013 trimester calendar was an unlawful unilateral action on a negotiable subject. PERB found in favor of the Association.

Under the EERA, an employer commits a “per se” violation of its duty to meet and negotiate with a unit representative when it unilaterally establishes any term or condition of employment within the scope of representation prior to completion of the bilateral negotiations process. With regard to the scope of representation claim, the District asserted that it had adopted an academic calendar, rather than a work calendar, and that prior PERB decisions allow for such action if it is adjusted to accommodate a negotiated work calendar.

PERB rejected the District’s defense, finding that while the District may have a prerogative to generally determine the hours of instruction and the distribution of working days, “the school calendar is within the scope of negotiations.” PERB also rejected the District’s assertion that it had only adopted a student calendar while continuing to negotiate in good faith over the work calendar. While this has been condoned in prior PERB decisions, PERB noted that in this case, the District’s actions constituted a simultaneous adoption of both student and work calendars that left no room for post-adoption bargaining. PERB held that the implementation of a trimester calendar forced such “dramatic differences” onto the work calendar that it necessarily encroached upon collective bargaining rights.

PERB also rejected two of the District’s other arguments. First, PERB found that the Association had not waived the right to negotiate through its participation in the calendar committee (which had recommended the semester calendar) or by refusing to accept the District’s proposals at the bargaining table. Second, PERB found that the District’s need to plan for the coming school year did not constitute an operational or business necessity that justified the District’s unilateral action. According to the decision, the District could not establish an operational or business necessity defense unless “an actual financial emergency which leaves no real alternative to the action taken and allows no time for meaningful negotiations before taking action.”

While PERB conceded that October 1, 2012 may have been the date of operational necessity if it had no 2012-2013 calendar in place for the 2013 Spring semester, PERB found that the Board’s May 2012 adoption of a semester-based calendar provided an existing default for the District to use. In this context, PERB found that the District’s desire to start the trimester calendar in January 2013, and the District’s prerequisite need to start planning for it as of October 1, 2012, did not constitute a business necessity. According to PERB, such circumstances “[did] not convert the District’s desire into a business necessity and [did] not absolve the District of its bargaining obligation.”

This decision is instructive regarding the scope of bargaining for public school and community college employers, and the limitations on the ability to engage in unilateral actions on the basis of operational or business necessity.

If you have any questions regarding this decision, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Darren C. Kameya
Partner
Los Angeles Office
dkameya@lozanosmith.com

Inna Volkova
Associate
Fresno Office
ivolkova@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Taxpayer Organization Lacks Standing To Bring Conflict Of Interest Lawsuit; Court’s Decision Questions Part of Recent Lease-Leaseback Case

November 2015
Number 68

The fourth district court of appeal recently addressed the question of whether taxpayer organizations have standing to sue to invalidate an agreement due to an alleged conflict of interest under Government Code section 1090. In San Bernardino County v. Superior Court (San Bernardino) (August 17, 2015) 239 Cal. App. 4th 679, the court held that taxpayer organizations may not sue to void an agreement under Government Code section 1090 unless they are parties to the agreement or are appropriately challenging the agreement under some other, independent legal theory.

In San Bernardino, two taxpayer organizations challenged a $102 million dollar settlement agreement between the County of San Bernardino, the San Bernardino County Flood Control District (collectively “County”), and Colonies Partners, L.P. The settlement agreement was based on the allegation that the County took 67 acres of Colonies’ land for use as part of a regional flood-control facility. A trial court validated the settlement agreement in March, 2007. However, four years later, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office secured a felony bribery conviction against a former county supervisor for bribes received from Colonies in exchange for his vote approving the settlement agreement. Shortly thereafter, the taxpayer organizations brought suit, seeking to have the settlement agreement declared void in violation of Government Code section 1090 because of the former supervisor’s personal financial interest.

Government Code section 1090 forbids public officers from being financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity. However, San Bernardino concluded that nothing in section 1090, et seq., grants non-parties to government contracts the right to sue on behalf of a public entity to void contracts made in violation of section 1090. As a result, the appellate court found that the taxpayer organizations, which were not parties to the agreement, lacked standing under Government Code section 1090 to void the agreement on the County’s behalf. The court left open the possibility that under a different fact pattern, taxpayer organizations could have standing to sue under Government Code section 1090; for example, where the organizations represent individual members who suffer loss or injury resulting from the public entity’s actions.

The taxpayer organizations alternatively argued they had standing to void the agreement based on Code of Civil Procedure section 526a, which gives citizens standing to prevent the illegal expenditure or waste of public funds by a public entity, and under common law. However, the court found that taxpayer suits are authorized only if the public entity is under a duty to act and refuses to do so. Because a public entity is not duty-bound to pursue particular legal claims, taxpayer organizations lack standing under section 526a and the common law to force public entities to file certain types of lawsuits. Taxpayer organizations cannot compel government entities to take a particular course of action unless the public entity already has a legal duty to do so.

It is worth noting that the fifth district court of appeal in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (June 1, 2015) 237 Cal. App. 4th 261, allowed a third party lawsuit under section 1090 to move forward. In Davis, a contractor and the school district entered into a “lease-leaseback” agreement for construction of school facilities. The contractor was alleged to have served as a pre-construction consultant and then later was hired as the contractor. A third party sued, alleging among other issues that hiring the same entity to provide pre-construction services and then to do the work under contract violated section 1090. The court of appeals reversed a decision to dismiss that lawsuit, and concluded that the third party could raise the section 1090 conflict issue. (See Client News Brief No. 30, June 2015). The fourth district’s decision in San Bernardino appears to be in conflict with Davis. While San Bernardino attempted to distinguish the holding of Davis on procedural grounds, the court also concluded that to the extent Davis “may be read as treating Government Code section 1090 as an independent source of standing” to bring a third party lawsuit, the court “do[es] not find that interpretation persuasive and decline[s] to adopt it.” Because a split in appellate authority now appears to exist regarding whether third parties can bring a third party lawsuit under section 1090, consultation with legal counsel may be appropriate when considering related issues.

If you have any questions regarding Government Code section 1090, conflicts of interest, or the rights of taxpayer organizations relative to public agencies organization, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Harold M. Freiman
Partner
Walnut Creek Office
hfreiman@lozanosmith.com

Carey Hawkins Ash
Associate
Sacramento Office
cash@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Recent Legislation Addresses Cheerleading, District Training Requirements to Protect Students, and Changes to the Uniform Complaint Procedures

November 2015
Number 70

In October 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law five new bills that all go into effect January 1, 2016, enacting important changes to the Education Code on issues affecting student rights and services. These bills address mandatory training for school counselors, classification of competition cheerleading as a sport, additions to the Safe Place to Learn Act, guidance regarding child abuse and training, and an expansion of the Uniform Complaint Procedures to cover issues related to foster children and homeless youth.

SB 451: Pupil Instruction and Services
Senate Bill (SB) 451 amends Section 49600 of the Education Code to add specific requirements for school counseling programs in districts which have chosen to provide comprehensive school counseling programs. Counselors will be required to engage in continued professional development related to career and vocational counseling, including strategies for students pursuing postsecondary, career technical education, multiple pathway, college, and global career opportunities. SB 451 also lists additional counseling services that may be added. These additional services, which are stated as legislative intent and are not specifically mandated, include: engaging and advocating for all students; implementing programs to promote student academic, career, and personal growth; promoting a safe learning environment; and using research-based strategies to reduce stigma, conflict, and bullying. Districts that wish to expand the services that their counselors provide may need to bargain this with the applicable employee union.

AB 949: Physical Education Related to Cheerleading
Assembly Bill (AB) 949 requires the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to develop guidelines, procedures, and safety standards for the purpose of classifying competition cheer as an interscholastic sport by no later than July 1, 2017. This new law adds Section 33353.7 to the Education Code and will allow school districts to count competition cheer towards a school’s Title IX compliance once the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights deems competition cheer complaint with its definition of a sport.

AB 827: Safe Place to Learn Act
Currently, the Safe Place to Learn Act requires that each school district afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other specified characteristic, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state. As part of the regular monitoring process, the California Department of Education (CDE) is tasked with assessing whether local educational agencies (LEAs) have adopted policies that prohibit discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying. AB 827 amends Education Code section 234.1 to require CDE, as part of its compliance monitoring, to assess whether LEAs have provided information to certified schoolsite employees serving grades seven through twelve on school and community resources related to the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students.

AB 1058: Child Abuse Prevention and Training
AB 1058 amends Section 44691 of the Education Code and focuses on child abuse on school grounds or by school personnel and requires CDE to establish best practices for district employees to follow regarding prevention of child abuse, including sexual abuse of children on school grounds, by school personnel, or in school-sponsored programs. The bill encourages, but does not require, school districts, county offices of education and charter schools to participate in child abuse prevention training at least once every three years regarding the prevention of abuse at school or by school personnel.

AB 379: Foster Youth and Homeless Children and the Uniform Complaint Procedures
AB 379 expands the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) to encompass complaints regarding the rights of foster youth and homeless children. Specifically, complaints alleging violations of certain educational rights afforded to students in foster care and students who are homeless are now subject to the UCP process with an appeal to CDE. This bill amends Sections 48853, 48853.5, 49069.5, 51225.1, and 51225.2 of the Education Code.

If you have any questions about these recent bills, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.

Written By

Thomas Manniello
Partner
Monterey Office
tmanniello@lozanosmith.com

Jennifer Baldassari
Associate
Walnut Creek Office
jbaldassari@lozanosmith.com

©2015 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.