“Fighting an unfair firing can be a lengthy process,” said Tina Solórzano Fletcher of San Diego’s AFT Guild, Local 1931, which represents faculty and staff at local community colleges. “Our certificated members who appeal a termination continue to receive compensation. Our classified employees should also.”
Local 1931 was the impetus for CFT-sponsored AB 2413 (Carrillo D-Los Angeles), which would allow classified staff to retain paid status during a personnel investigation if there isn’t clear and convincing evidence of the alleged infraction.
“This is a serious equity issue,” said Solórzano Fletcher, who also serves as Southern Vice President for the CFT Council of Classified Employees. “Our goal is for everyone to be treated fairly.”
Equity is also the theme in several more bills the CFT is sponsoring or co-sponsoring that affect classified employees and their work.
AB 1691 (Medina D-San Bernardino) would expand the Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program to community college staff and funds the program at $90 million annually. This popular program has brought financial relief to thousands of classified employees working in K-12 schools during summer months. Learn more about the Summer Assistance program in our toolkit.
SB 505 (Hertzberg D-Los Angeles) aims to correct wage overpayment in good faith. When an employer accidentally has overpaid an employee, that money must be paid back. This CFT-sponsored bill would require that a public employer, absent fraud, misrepresentation, or theft, make a good faith effort to consult with an employee to obtain written authorization to resolve a monetary obligation before utilizing third party collection services or commencing a civil action.
SB 878 (Skinner D-Berkeley) proposes the “Road to Success” — school transportation for all — that would require districts to provide students transportation to and from their neighborhood school (unless the student is in grades K-6 and lives within a half mile, or the student is in grades 7-12 and lives within one mile of the campus). Transportation plans would be crafted in consultation with classified and certificated staff, among other stakeholders. Districts may also partner with a publicly owned transit system. The state would reimburse the district at a per mile rate.
SB 1343 (Leyva D-Chino) would require classified employees working in charter schools to participate in CalPERS. Currently, charter schools have an option to participate in the statewide teacher and public employee retirement systems, or provide an alternative retirement plan, if any at all. CalSTRS has noticed the increased number of charter schools that are not participating in the retirement plans, which have driven up costs to every other employer and continue to bring additional risk to the retirement system. CFT-sponsored SB 1343 requires all charter schools to participate in the public retirement systems and creates an automatic payment system so that no harm may come to the funds if a charter were to close down unexpectedly or be delinquent in their payments to the retirement funds.
Another bill CFT is watching is one that affects all school communities. SB 871 (Pan D-Sacramento) would require COVID-19 immunization for student enrollment in school, repeal the personal belief exemption for California Department of Health mandated vaccines, and restore a Hepatitis B vaccination check.
On the state budget front, CFT is watching these fiscal proposals that will affect the work of classified employees:
- $1.5 billion for 5,000 electric buses over three years to support school transportation programs, with a focus on greening bus fleets. Grants of $500,000 will be available for electric buses and charging equipment.
- $596 million to fund and implement universal school meals with the state covering any remaining unreimbursed costs up to the combined state and federal free per-meal rate.
- $450 million for school kitchens in one-time funds to upgrade kitchen infrastructure and $3 million one-time funds to support School Breakfast and Summer Meal Start-Up and Expansion Grant Program.
— By CFT Staff