Current law exempts part-time playground employees from classified status if they don’t also hold a second position in the same school district. Legislation now on the governor’s desk, however, would include part-timers who don’t have a second job.

AB 670 by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would help about 1,500 “noon dutys” statewide.

“Part-time playground employees work side by side with classified employees performing similar duties,” Thurmond said. “They deserve the same protection and benefits as classified employees.”

Part-timers and staff perform similar duties, from monitoring students during breakfast and lunch, to keeping peace on the monkey bars. Job titles vary from playground supervisor to noon duty aide, but most noon dutys — as they are often referred to for short — are women working five days a week for two or three hours. They are often the lowest paid employees on campus.

In 2002, Gov. Gray Davis signed AB 2849, a CFT-sponsored bill that opened the door to classified status for many part-timers who were also working another staff position.

AB 670 would cost California school districts less than $1 million yearly. The governor has until October 15 to sign the bill.

Economic factors discourage returning students. Under the program created by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), districts and county offices that apply for and receive grants notify classified employees that funds are available. Districts then award grants for tuition and books to applicants.