HK School Law Newsletter – October 2017 Admissions, Suspensions and Expulsions Alert
GOVERNOR SIGNS AB 1360
Admissions, Suspensions and Expulsions
Governor Brown has signed Assembly Bill 1360.
Assembly Bill 1360 adds/changes key provisions of Ed. Code section 47605 of the California Charter Schools Act related to suspensions/expulsions and admissions preferences (and some additional items). AB 1360 will make the same additions/changes to Ed. Code section 47605.6 concerning countywide charters. Because AB 1360 was enacted before Assembly Bill 830, which would have made additional changes to Section 47605, only AB 1360 is effective.
As noted in the new preface to Section 47605, AB 1360’s purpose is to:
- Ensure equal access to interested pupils at charter schools and prohibit practices that discourage enrollment or disproportionately push out segments of already enrolled pupils.
- Ensure that charter school discipline policies are fair and transparent.
- Ensure that a pupil’s constitutional right to due process is protected at charter schools.
- [E]nsure that charter schools operate within the system of common schools by remaining “free, nonsectarian and open to all students.”
We believe School District counsel will likely consider the changes made by AB 1360 to require a material revision to a school’s charter. We strongly urge your school to consult with legal counsel regarding the impact of these changes to your charter.
AB 1360 requires charter petitions to include certain information and assurances regarding admissions and suspension/expulsion procedures. Most importantly, the changes directly negate the holding in the Brown decision allowing charter schools to “dismiss” students. The specific requirements are described below.
SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION REQUIREMENTS
Ed. Code section 47605(b)(J) is amended to include very specific requirements for suspension and expulsion procedures described in a charter petition. These new requirements are:
- Charter petitions must now state the procedures by which pupils can be suspended or expelled from the charter school for disciplinary reasons or otherwise involuntarily removed from the charter school for any reason. These procedures, at a minimum, must include an explanation of how the charter school will comply with federal and state constitutional procedural and substantive due process requirements that is consistent with all of the following:
a. For suspensions of fewer than 10 days, provide oral or written notice of the charges against the pupil and, if the pupil denies the charges, an explanation of the evidence that supports the charges and an opportunity for the pupil to present his or her side of the story.
b. For suspensions of 10 days or more and all other expulsions for disciplinary reasons, both of the following: i.) Provide timely, written notice of the charges against the pupil and an explanation of the pupil’s basic rights; ii.) Provide a hearing adjudicated by a neutral officer within a reasonable number of days at which the pupil has a fair opportunity to present testimony, evidence, and witnesses and confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, and at which the pupil has the right to bring legal counsel or an advocate.
c. Contain a clear statement that no pupil shall be involuntarily removed by the charter school for any reason unless the parent or guardian of the pupil has been provided written notice of intent to remove the pupil no less than five schooldays before the effective date of the action. The written notice shall be in the native language of the pupil or the pupil’s parent or guardian or, if the pupil is a foster child or youth or a homeless child or youth, the pupil’s educational rights holder, and shall inform him or her of the right to initiate the procedures specified in clause (ii) before the effective date of the action. If the pupil’s parent, guardian, or educational rights holder initiates the procedures specified in clause (ii), the pupil shall remain enrolled and shall not be removed until the charter school issues a final decision. For purposes of this clause, “involuntarily removed” includes disenrolled, dismissed, transferred, or terminated, but does not include suspensions specified in clauses (i) and (ii).
ADMISSIONS AND ADMISSIONS PREFERENCES
Ed. Code section 47605(b)(H) is amended to state that admission policies and procedures must now be consistent with Section 47605(d). Prior to this change, the law only required a charter petition to include “[a]dmission requirements, if any.”
Lottery requirements remain the same. Admission preferences, however, have been changed as follows:
- Preferences, including, but not limited to, siblings of pupils admitted or attending the charter school and children of the charter school’s teachers, staff, and founders identified in the initial charter, may also be permitted by the chartering authority on an individual charter school basis.
- Priority order for any preference shall be determined in the charter petition in accordance with all of the following:
a. Each type of preference shall be approved by the chartering authority at a public hearing.
b. Preferences shall be consistent with federal law, the California Constitution, and Section 200.
c. Preferences shall not result in limiting enrollment access for pupils with disabilities, academically low-achieving pupils, English learners, neglected or delinquent pupils, homeless pupils, or pupils who are economically disadvantaged, as determined by eligibility for any free or reduced-price meal program, foster youth, or pupils based on nationality, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
d. In accordance with Section 49011, preferences shall not require mandatory parental volunteer hours as a criterion for admission or continued enrollment.
Ed. Code section 47605(d)(3) is amended to require school districts to notify charter schools when a student is expelled or leaves the district. The amended sub-section reads as follows:
- If a pupil is expelled or leaves the charter school without graduating or completing the school year for any reason, the charter school shall notify the superintendent of the school district of the pupil’s last known address within 30 days, and shall, upon request, provide that school district with a copy of the cumulative record of the pupil, including report cards or a transcript of grades, and health information. If the pupil is subsequently expelled or leaves the school district without graduating or completing the school year for any reason, the school district shall provide this information to the charter school within 30 days if the charter school demonstrates that the pupil had been enrolled in the charter school.
Finally, Ed. Code section 47605(n) is added and reads as follows:
- A charter school may encourage parental involvement, but shall notify the parents and guardians of applicant pupils and currently enrolled pupils that parental involvement is not a requirement for acceptance to, or continued enrollment at, the charter school.
CLEAN UP EDITS
AB 1360 also includes a number of non-substantive clean up edits such as adding the word “charter” before the word “school” in certain subsections, as well as a few grammatical edits.
Your Team at Hansberger & Klein, PLC