New Laws for California Schools: Assembly Bill 2160

This new, weekly feature from CSBA will highlight a new education law signed by the Governor in 2018. All laws are effective Jan. 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted. The full What’s New for 2019 report on all new laws affecting K-12 education is available at

AB 2160, Part-time playground positions

Assembly Bill 2160 (Thurmond, D-Richmond) is directly related to AB 670 (Thurmond), a bill pertaining to classified service for part-time playground positions which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017. AB 2160 is a so-called “technical cleanup” bill to AB 670 and applies to the approximately 90 school districts/county offices of education statewide that are utilizing the merit system. Those districts were left out of the previous AB 670 unintentionally.

A list of merit districts is available here.

AB 670 amended Education Code section 45103 to include part-time playground employee positions as part of the classified service, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Part-time playground employees were previously exempted from the classified service.

CSBA opposed AB 670 due to the law’s significant fiscal impact on school districts that are already experiencing steep increases in various employee costs, including pensions and health care.

AB 2160 is the cleanup bill. The original AB 670 law did not amend Education Code section 45256, which is applicable specifically to school districts using the merit system.

AB 2160 is intended to ensure that all playground aides working in K-12 schools and community colleges, including merit districts, are included in classified service and receive the same rights and protections as classified employees.

The language of AB 2160 operates slightly differently than AB 670, exempting part-time playground positions in merit districts from probationary status, effective Jan. 1, 2019, when these positions will be recategorized into classified service. That means existing part-time playground employees in merit districts become permanent classified employees on that date.

In summary, under AB 2160, an employee of a merit school district in a part-time playground position hired on or before Jan. 1, 2019, shall be deemed a permanent employee of the school district without placement on an eligibility list under Section 45272 or examination under Section 45273. Employees hired after Jan. 1, 2019, will be subject to each district’s regular hiring process. AB 670 made part-time playground employees in non-merit districts part of the classified service, but did not explicitly provide for immediate permanent status, as AB 2160 does.

As AB 2160 likely impacts existing collective bargaining agreements, effected districts should seek advice of legal counsel.