New Laws for California Schools: Assembly Bill 2449

12 Nov
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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 www.csba.org/whatsnewfor2019.

AB 2449, Governing board elections; beginning date of board member terms

Assembly Bill 2449 (Arambula, D-Fresno) changes the seating date for newly elected school district and county board of education members to the second Friday in December following the election.

Recent changes in election law have shifted most district and county board of education elections to even-numbered years – the statutory changes chiefly stemming from Senate Bill 415 (Hueso, D-San Diego) from 2015, a.k.a the California Voter Participation Rights Act, which endeavored to address the issue of low voter turnout in odd-year (or “off-cycle”) elections by shifting local elections to even-numbered years unless specified voter turnout levels had been achieved.

Current laws governing even-year elections create a collision between election and education statues, which the newly-passed AB 2449 untangles.

Note: The provisions of AB 2449 law, as described below, do not apply to the current 2018 election cycle, as the bill does not become effective until Jan. 1, 2019.

Current education law states that newly elected governing boards members be seated on their boards on either the last Friday in November (for county boards of education) or the first Friday in December (for school district and community college boards) following the election. However, current election law states that, in an even-year election, the Secretary of State has up to 30 days to certify the election results.

These conflicting laws create situations where board members are seated before the results of the election are officially certified, thereby introducing the possibility of a board seating the incorrect member.

To avoid such potential “egg on your face” situations, effective Jan. 1, 2019, AB 2449 changes the seating date for newly elected members to the second Friday in December following an election, so that members are not seated before the election results are certified. This new second Friday in December law applies to both school boards and county boards of education, as well as community college boards.

The bill does contain an exception for members of county boards of education elected in a primary – those members then would take office on the first day of July.

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