Category Archives: legal

FERPA and virtual learning during COVID-19

31 Mar
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, and the social distancing and other safety-related restrictions being implemented to contain it, schools throughout the country have almost universally switched to distance or virtual learning. The switch has raised countless questions for parents and school leaders alike. One critical question is around how the confidentiality of student education records will be maintained as required by law, when schools adopt virtual means to educate their students. The U.S. Department of Education,...

COVID-19, board meetings and Brown Act requirements

18 Mar
governance meeting
The following update provides guidance on the Brown Act provisions waived under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order, and information about the procedures your governing board can use to conduct board meetings during this unique time. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order: On March 12, 2020, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order that, in part, authorized governing boards to hold public meetings via teleconference and to make public meetings accessible by telephone or otherwise electronically to members of the public during this time,...

New law and changes to updating student records

6 Mar
As the keeper of student records, districts often receive requests from former students and parents/guardians for transcripts, diplomas and other past student records. A new law, Assembly Bill 711 (Chiu, D-San Francisco), aims to help former students and parents request changes to these records, including changes to the student’s name and/or gender. Districts are required to update the records of a former student who submits a written request or government-issued documentation of a name and/or gender change. Although students have...

Settlement reached in literacy lawsuit against California

25 Feb
students with pencils
A settlement was approved last week in Ella T. v. California, ending a lawsuit against the State of California brought on behalf of 10 students attending three elementary schools in the state. Under the terms of the settlement, subject to approval by the Legislature, the state will provide a block grant of $50 million over three years to support literacy in the 75 California elementary schools with the lowest average reading scores (those, traditional public and charter schools, with the...

California Supreme Court finds some district employees eligible for unemployment benefits during summer term

17 Feb
On Jan. 16, 2020, the California Supreme Court reversed a court of appeal decision and held that section 1253.3 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (section 1253.3) does not bar public school employees from collecting unemployment benefits if the summer session constitutes an “academic term.” The Court’s decision in United Educators of San Francisco v. San Francisco Unified School District means that some school districts employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer, but it’s not yet clear how...

March 15 layoff notices: What boards should know

10 Feb
public school building
As a member of a school board governance team, few situations are more sensitive than a district delivering March 15 layoff notices. It is essential for governing board members to be familiar with information about the March 15 notice, its implementation process and the strict legal requirements attached to the process. The March 15 notice is a formal, written announcement from a school district to certificated employees — required by Education Code section 44949 — informing them that they may...

E-cigarette maker Juul allegedly still marketing to teens

27 Aug
Two new lawsuits out of Illinois are targeting the San Francisco e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. for allegedly using deceptive marketing campaigns to target teens. News of the complaints broke just under a year after reports that the company had offered districts in California stipends of as much as $20,000 to adopt a vaping curriculum to be taught by Juul consultants. In a study published last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers claimed the curriculum failed to emphasize...

CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance restores California public school funds to state budget

3 Jul
California’s public schools will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding and avoid billions in potential losses thanks to a settlement agreement between the State of California and CSBA. The agreement ensures public schools will receive repayment of $686 million (approximately $110 per student) due to prior year underpayments. It also contains provisions that could protect up to 1 percent of the Proposition 98 guarantee ($756 million in 2017–18 and potentially more in subsequent years) as part of...

The limited impact but substantial importance of Cal Fire v. CalPERS

31 May
On March 4, 2019, the California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the appellate court’s decision in Cal Fire 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, upholding the 2012 elimination of a pension benefit for public employees. The narrow decision in favor of the State will not have much effect on school boards and county offices of education, but the Court’s decision is still significant. The law at issue In 2012, the Legislature enacted the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of...

New guide takes a deep look at protecting student data privacy

11 Apr
Increased data use has the potential to enhance and expand educational opportunities, but it can also put sensitive student information at risk. To address the concern, the Future of Privacy Forum recently published “The Policymaker’s Guide to Student Data Privacy.” With data proliferating in school settings — from enrollment numbers to test scores to health and disciplinary records — the FPF finds that effective policies enacted at the local, state and federal levels can mitigate dangerous and costly data collection...