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L.A. Unified school board to look at changes to teacher dismissal proceedings

LAUSD board meeting

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

LAUSD board meeting

The L.A. Unified Board of Education will vote on a resolution next Tuesday that looks at making it a district priority to call on state legislators to change the dismissal proceedings of certificated employees after a flurry of teacher misconduct cases over the weeks.

The resolution, authored by board member Tamar Galatzan and co-sponsored by Nury Martinez and board president Monica Garcia, states that "state policies make the dismissal process ineffective and costly" and that the problem is not just a challenge for LAUSD but also a statewide and national issue. 

"The Education Code needs to be updated and clarified as it currently includes outdated and irrelevant language regarding grounds for termination such as 'membership in the Communist Party,'" the resolution states.

Here are the major changes to the Education Code that the resolution outlines:

  1. Allow districts to proceed through the hearing process after board dismissal, without continuing to pay the employee. Permanent certified employees have 60 days after their notice of dismissal to demand a full administrative hearing. The process usually lasts more than one year, and the employee is usually paid throughout that time, the resolution states.
  2. Allow notices of dismissal to be given year round, and shorten or eliminate the 45- to 90-day grace periods between when an employee is notified of dismissal and when the board can initiate dismissal proceedings.
  3. Allow the introduction of evidence from cases more than four years prior to the date of filing.
  4. Change state law so as to prohibit any public employee convicted of sexual abuse of a minor from receiving their pension and retirement benefits, even if the employee resigns prior to dismissal. Any pension money that is withheld would go toward reimbursing the district for litigation costs and any surplus money would be directed to the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education or charities that support victims of sexual abuse.

If approved, the resolution would ask Superintendent John Deasy to report back with a plan of action in 30 days. The resolution is very similar to one approved by the board in 2009 that recommended changes to the state's Education Code, also co-sponsored by Galatzan, but no legislation was pursued.

Galatzan, Garcia and Martinez could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for UTLA could not be reached for comment.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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