Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Only one teacher dismissal bill remains alive at state Legislature

California State Assembly floor
California State Assembly floor
Bill Ferris/

Only one of three bills recently introduced in the state Legislature that aim to make it easier to dismiss teachers is alive today, and may continue on to change state law.

AB2028, sponsored by Republican state Assemblymen Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Steve Knight of the Antelope Valley, died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today — the end of the fiscal deadline.

The bill, which was significantly amended last month, would eliminate the four-year limitation on introducing evidence to be used in proceedings and allow the dismissal process to begin during the summer.

AB2028 passed out of committee in its amended form last month, but was put "on suspense" in the Appropriations Committee because it cost more than $150,000; a hearing was held today to take bills off suspense, but AB2028 died without a vote, said Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the Office of Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

It would have cost the state $175,000 because of the expenses associated with mandating schools keep records for longer than four years, Lockhart said. 

The California State Assembly Republican Caucus has pushed the bill, which in its initial form mirrored the L.A. Unified school board resolutions adopted on the dismissal issue after a recent spate of teacher arrests for lewd conduct with children. The California Teachers Assn. has vocally opposed the dismissal bills introduced at the Legislature and called them a retraction of due process protections for teachers.

"The committee approved hundreds of bills today, and I'm sure many of them cost more than $175,000," Lockhart said.

Lockhart said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's staff testified in support of AB2028 in April and told legislators that it costs $300,000 to dismiss one teacher.

Another bill, SB1059, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, never passed out of commitee in April.

Of the three bills, only SB1530 remains alive. It passed out of the state Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. It will go to the state Senate next week for a vote. Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima worked with the CTA and committee members to amend the bill and narrow its scope.

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