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Buchanan Announces Agreement on Bill to Streamline Teacher Dismissals

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(Sacramento, CA)— Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, today announced agreement among key education policy leaders and the Governor’s office on a bill to streamline the teacher discipline and dismissal appeal process.  The bill responds to the Governor’s veto message last year on AB 375 and culminates three years of work in the legislature. 

“As a former school board member, I’ve seen firsthand the problems with the current system.  It is broken and doesn’t work for anyone.  Too often appeals take years and cost over $100,000.” Buchanan said.  “I want to thank the education community for its willingness to continue to work on this critical issue. We share a common goal of keeping our children safe and providing a fair and efficient process.”

AB 215 creates a separate hearing process for employees charged with egregious misconduct (child abuse, sexual abuse and certain drug offenses).  These cases will be heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ) and will be prioritized over other appeals.  The decision of the ALJ will be binding.

AB 215 also streamlines hearings for all other appeals.  Cases will be heard by the Commission on Professional Competence (an ALJ and two educators), and decisions will be binding.  The process has been streamlined, reducing the time and cost to resolve these employment disputes.

Bill Lucia, President of EdVoice, said, “We are pleased to support AB 215.  Assemblymember Buchanan has demonstrated real leadership and developed practical solutions to very sensitive, complex issues raised by diverse stakeholders.  The bill protects the safety and voices of students, staff and victims, honors the rights of every employee to meaningful due process, establishes expedited proceedings for hearings involving the most egregious misconduct, and makes significant efficiencies balanced with fairness in the process of hearing all other suspension and dismissal appeals.” 

“CTA appreciates the willingness of all to come together to resolve this important issue.  Our teachers care deeply about the welfare of our students. AB 215 meets our goal of keeping our students safe by streamlining the dismissal process while maintaining due process for teachers,” said California Teachers Association President Dean E. Vogel.

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