Early reports show at least one of two state Senate bills that aim to make it easier to dismiss a teacher accused of misconduct has cleared the first hurdle and will pass out of the Education Committee.
SB1530, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, has the necessary six votes to pass out. The bill would give school boards more authority in firing teachers. It would also make the decision of a three-person panel on the dismissal instead a decision by just the administrative law judge, and the ruling would be advisory. The bill would only apply to cases involving sex, violence or drug offenses involving children.
L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy testified in support of the bill and has said the state is "long overdue" for a revamp of its laws governing teacher dismissal. A California Teachers Assn. official spoke against it. CTA spokesman Mike Myslinski declined to comment until the final vote counts were in.
The vote count is not final according to staff in Padilla's office. The bill will continue on to the appropriations committee.
A broader bill that mirrors the L.A. Unified resolutions on teacher dismissal is facing more trouble passing through. The board approved the resolutions, which call on legislators to make changes to the education code, after a spate of reported sexual misconduct cases earlier this year.
SB1059, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, currently has two votes in favor and one against it by Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, who is also the committee chair, said Bill Bird, a spokesman for Huff's office.
The Huff bill would remove pensions and health benefits from teachers convicted of sexual abuse of a minor and prevent disciplinary records from being removed from personnel files. It would also require teachers be removed from the classroom if officials believe they are under investigation.
A third bill, AB2028, sponsored by Republican state Assemblymen Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Steve Knight of the Antelope Valley, will be discussed this afternoon at the state Assembly's Education Committee.