Category Archives: legal

Ninth Circuit upholds existing FAPE rules in A.W. v. Tehachapi Unified School District

1 Jul
On June 25, 2020, in a special education case in which CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance filed an amicus brief, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the district in an unpublished opinion in A.W. v. Tehachapi Unified School District, upholding the district court’s decision on a couple of issues, including that the school district was not required to seek a due process hearing when it believed it was providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In 2015,...

CSBA webinar provides guidance on board meetings and Brown Act waivers during stay-at-home order

5 May
The second in a series of CSBA webinars to help governance teams best navigate the uncertainty of school closures caused by the novel coronavirus focused on how board meetings can best be conducted while adhering to still-active Brown Act requirements. “Open Board Meetings in a World of School Closures” featured experts from CSBA and its partner law firms reviewing Brown Act requirements, noting which requirements have been waived during the state’s stay-at-home order and offering practical advice on conducting public...

Conducting remote school board meetings: What board members should know

29 Apr
governance meeting
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed daily life in California, including how the public’s business is conducted at school district and county office of education board meetings. For some board members, the idea of discussing agenda items in person, with members of the public sitting together in a packed room and lines of community members addressing the board from the same microphone may already seem like the distant past. Like so many in K-12 education, board members are making significant...

Changes to special education processes announced by the Office of Administrative Hearings

22 Apr
Announced on April 15, 2020, and effective on the same date, the Office of Administrative Hearings will be conducting all mediations, prehearing conferences and due process hearings remotely, either through video conference or by telephone. All special education hearing rooms at OAH locations are closed to the public, and no hearings or mediations at off-site locations will take place. The link to the OAH order can be found here. OAH is a neutral state agency that helps solve disagreements between...

Court of Appeals affirms requirement to exhaust IDEA administrative remedies in A.L. v. Clovis Unified School District

15 Apr
On March 18, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Clovis Unified School District in A.L. v. Clovis Unified School District, affirming the lower court’s dismissal of claims against the district. In the case, a student filed claims of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), among other claims. As the case progressed, the student settled her Individuals with Disabilities Education Act claims before a...

Boards may meet without a physical meeting space for the public, and may receive updates on COVID-19 from officials

1 Apr
On March 17, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a second executive order impacting meetings held by school district and county office of education boards. Executive Order N-29-20 superseded paragraph 11 of the March 12, 2020, Executive Order N-25-20, which required local educational agencies to provide a physical location from where members of the public could participate in a board meeting. This overriding Executive Order N-29-20 provides that boards no longer need to make space available for the public to appear...

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...