Posts from October 2011.

Recently, our clients have been getting bombarded with requests from local unions for information related to pending disciplinary cases and grievances, with the unions claiming that the information is “necessary and relevant” to the representation of their members.  No doubt this recent uptick in such requests is due the June 30, 2011 PERB decision in SEIU 1021 v. City of Redding, which held that it was an ...
Categories: Labor/Employment

For those school and community college districts (and other public agencies) that have opted into the California Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act ("UCAA"), at Public Contract Code Section 22000 et seq., your flexibility just increased.  Back on July 1, 2011, Assembly Bill 943 increased the formal bidding threshold amount for public agencies that have opted into UCAA from $125,000 to $175,000.  Correspondingly, the safe harbor triggered when all bids received exceed the formal bidding threshold, and the governing body of the public agency adopts a resolution by a four-fifths vote to award informally within the safe harbor, rose from $137,500 to $187,500.

Starting on January 1, 2012, local air quality management districts, aka air pollution control districts ("APCDs"), will have the ability to grant funds to school districts to help retrofit emission control equipment and replace natural gas tanks on school buses, as well as enhance school districts' existing natural gas fueling stations.  These funds will come from surcharge fees collected by APCDs through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Once APCDs implement the surcharge, and collect it from the DMV, the resulting funds must be used for specific programs as set forth in Health and Safety Code sections 41081 and 44229.  Now, with the passage of Assembly Bill Nos. 462 and 470, APCDs will have three new options for spending a limited portion of the surcharge starting in January 1, 2012:

The Office of Public School Construction ("OPSC") recently announced that the State successfully sold bonds on October 19th yielding "approximately $1 billion for School Facility Program projects."  OPSC expects the State Allocation Board ("SAB") to include disbursement of the available funds "to projects on the unfunded list with valid priority funding certifications" on its December 2011 agenda.  As OPSC noted, 187 school district certifications for 504 projects (306 modernization projects, 136 new construction projects and 62 projects from additional programs) are on the unfunded list.  These 504 projects comprise a total of $1.34 billion.  Accordingly, it appears that with about $1 billion in revenue becoming available, and $1.34 billion worth of projects on the unfunded list, there will be projects with valid priority funding certifications on the current unfunded list that still will not have money available.

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed AB 1156.  The law, similar to AB 9 (also approved by Governor Brown on October 9, 2011, and about which we previously reported), is an anti-bullying measure aimed at giving victims of bullying priority or special consideration for interdistrict transfers.  The law amends Sections 32261 (Interagency School Safety Demonstration Act of 1985), 32282, 32283, 46600, and 48900 of the Education Code.

Categories: Student Issues

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and recent media coverage of “mean girls and boys” and the reported influx of bullying through social networking have brought the reality of bullying to the doorstep of America’s schools, causing many state and local educational agencies to develop policies to address and prevent bullying of students.  It is well established that children with ...

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed AB 9, also known as Seth's Law.  The law is an anti-bullying measure aimed at giving public schools tools to prevent and address bullying through mandatory policies and systems to help discourage harassment, track incidents when they do occur and create a safe school environment for all students.  The bill is named in memory of Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old gay student who ...
Categories: Student Issues

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown announced the signing of AB 501, subjecting community college auxiliary organizations and joint powers agencies comprised of educational agencies to the Educational Employment Relations Act (“EERA”).  These entities will now have the same obligations as school and community college districts and county offices of education in matters of labor relations and ...
Categories: Labor/Employment

Recently, the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) announced that, effective September 1, 2011, it “discontinue[d] separate approval of third party LCPs.”  A third party LCP is a DIR-approved provider of labor compliance services that provides those services, by contract, to an awarding body.  DIR is, in their own words, “ending the existing approval of private [LCP] programs and grandfathering those approvals over to awarding bodies,” and will only be granting new approvals to awarding bodies going forward.  While DIR’s notice will have minimal impact on awarding bodies such as school and community college districts that maintain and enforce their own approved LCPs with their own personnel, the impact on awarding bodies that rely on third party LCPs is more significant.  How does this affect your district?

On Saturday, October 8, 2011 Governor Brown vetoed AB 165, the student fee legislation that would have codified existing student fee restrictions and authorizations, added student fee monitoring to the existing Williams settlement accountability and oversight processes, and resolved the ACLU’s class action lawsuit against the state.  The veto was a surprise to most who followed the bill through the ...
Categories: Student Issues
The implementation of the settlement of the ACLU’s student fee lawsuit has taken many unusual turns. The previous settlement is no longer in place, but the litigation has been put on hold pending the legislative process. AB 165, the legislation initially designed to implement the settlement, and which will still be the foundation for a resolution of the litigation if it is enacted, was the product of much legislative wrangling.  It now sits on the Governor’s desk, having passed in both houses of the legislature, and it will likely be enacted. Amendments to AB 165 since it was originally introduced have been extensive, but have not significantly changed the basic two-component structure: 1) Codification of the existing “free school guarantee” in statute, rather than the current myriad of judicial decisions, a state regulation, Attorney General opinions, and administrative guidance documents; and 2) Creation of oversight and enforcement mechanisms to encourage Constitutional compliance in the future.
We believe the landscape regarding student fees has changed permanently, regardless of the fate of AB 165 and the ACLU lawsuit—public awareness of the “free school guarantee” is so widespread that more vigilant compliance by school districts will be needed regardless of the outcome of the legislative and judicial process.  Many districts have already implemented extensive changes to ensure compliance.  The ACLU is still actively addressing fee issues arising at the beginning of this school year.  Because the landscape has changed permanently, and because of the likely passage of the legislation, districts are well-served by taking steps to ensure compliance and address specific requirements in AB 165.  The parameters of the “free school guarantee” and AB 165 will be reviewed in detail in a series of free AALRR Breakfast Briefings on the subject.  Click here to register.  A summary of AB 165 follows. 
Categories: Student Issues

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