Assembly Bill 215, effective January 1, 2015, makes a number of significant changes to the Education Code, most of which relate to the dismissal of certificated school employees. Below is a summary of some of these important changes.
Dismissal for “Egregious Misconduct”
As most school districts know, the Education Code only permits the dismissal of permanent employees under specific circumstances, including felony convictions, persistent violation of school rules, and alcoholism, to name a few. Assembly Bill 215 adds an additional circumstance: “egregious misconduct.” Egregious misconduct is conduct amounting to certain sex and drug offenses, in addition to criminal abuse or neglect of a child.
Dismissal Proceeding Structure and Timeline Changes
The Bill also creates a division between “regular” dismissal proceedings and those supported by egregious misconduct. Regular dismissal proceedings are those based on any employee behavior other than egregious misconduct, or if the dismissal is based on any other charges in addition to egregious misconduct. Regular dismissal proceedings require that a dismissal hearing be held within six months of an employee’s request for hearing. Previously, the hearing had to be held within 60 days.
However, dismissal charges based solely on an employee’s egregious misconduct are expedited. The Bill requires that egregious misconduct hearings be held within 60 days of the employee’s request for a hearing, and also requires that the Office of Administrative Hearings “prioritize” these hearings over any other type of dismissal proceedings. The Bill also restricts the parties’ ability to obtain a continuance for proceedings based solely on allegations of egregious misconduct.
This post is not meant to be an exhaustive summary of the changes made by Assembly Bill 215. If you, or your district, have questions about the Bill’s changes, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
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