Posts from 2011.

In a recent case, Greg Opinski Construction, Inc. vs. City of Oakdale (October, 2011), the California Court of Appeal strengthened the position of public agencies asserting notice of claim requirements against contractors in their public works contracts. The Court based its decision on Civil Code section 1511, which expressly permits a public entity to require the other party to give notices of delay claims caused by the party receiving the notice. The key is that the delay claim requirements must be “reasonable,” and, as the court noted, “just.”

We are occasionally asked about the authority and responsibility of a governing board regarding requests for subpoenas in student expulsion cases.  Though the issue does not arise very often, it is important to understand what is required and what options are available.  The rule can be summarized as follows: Governing boards have an obligation to consider subpoena requests – they cannot have a blanket ...

Categories: Student Issues

On December 2, 2011, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) jointly issued guidelines on the voluntary use of race to achieve diversity in postsecondary education and to achieve diversity and avoid racial isolation in elementary and secondary schools within the framework of Titles IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S ...

Sometimes, when the Legislature attempts to impose restrictions on public entities across the board, it results in an “ill fitting” application to school and community college districts.  AB 1344, recently signed into law by Governor Brown, is the most recent example of this phenomenon.  This new law was designed to limit methods of public official enrichment that were utilized by City of Bell administrators, but it is not entirely clear how these limitations will apply both in general and to school administrators specifically.

Categories: Labor/Employment

The California Penal Code requires mandatory registration as a sex offender for persons convicted of specific sex offenses. The law provides a different list of offenses for persons convicted as adults than those convicted as minors. As the law currently stands, a juvenile sex offender’s information is not published and an adult sex offender can petition the Sex Offender Tracking Program to be excluded ...

After the initial publicity surrounding Governor Brown’s unexpected veto of the student fee legislation, AB 165, there was a bit of a lull in the media attention paid to the topic. Thankfully, though, the veto and some misinformation reported in the media immediately after − e.g., a blog post headline stating AB 165 was a bill “banning pay-for-play sports fees,” when such fees have been explicitly ...

Categories: Student Issues

Despite opposition from various public agency groups supporting school and community college districts, Senate Bill 293 was signed into law. The new law limits retention on public works projects to five percent. Codified as Public Contract Code section 7201, the limit on retention applies to all contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2012.

In Palomar Community College District (2011) PERB Decision No. 2213-E, the Public Employment Relations Board (“Board”) clarified that a side letter of agreement between parties does not automatically expire when the parties reach agreement on a subsequent collective bargaining agreement ("CBA").

In Palomar, the employer issued a letter of reprimand based on a 2005 side letter addressing ...
Categories: Labor/Employment

The adoption of acceptable use policies to establish the nature and limits of employee and student access to and use of computer systems is by now a common practice. Once such policies are established, however, districts and county offices of education sometimes fail to review them to ensure they are current. In today’s rapidly changing technology environment, these policies can quickly become outdated in the face of new technologies and means of communication, the most recent examples including social networking, micro-blogging, and cloud computing.  It is important that acceptable use policies be kept current to address the impacts of new technologies.

In April 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (NY, VT, CT) upheld the discipline of a high school student based on an off-campus internet posting.  (Doninger v. Niehoff (2d Cir. 2011) 642 F.3d 334.)The student petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review of that decision.  This week, the Court declined to review the Second Circuit’s ruling.

Avery Doninger sued Lewis Mills High School ...
Categories: Student Issues

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