BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Alan Lowenthal, Chair 2011-12 Regular Session BILL NO: AB 2125 AUTHOR: Hall AMENDED: April 10, 2012 FISCAL COMM: No HEARING DATE: June 13, 2012 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT:Beth Graybill SUBJECT : Merit system school districts: Appointments. SUMMARY This bill, until December 31, 2015, in a merit-system school district with a pupil population of over 400,000, authorizes appointments to specified classifications of positions to be made from other than the first three ranks on an eligibility list. BACKGROUND Current law authorizes school and community college districts to adopt a merit-based personnel system and appoint a personnel commission to govern the employment of individuals in classified positions. A merit system may be established by local board action, by a majority vote of the district's classified employees, or by a majority vote of the voting electors of the district. Key principles of a merit system include: Selection and promotion based on merit and fitness as determined by competitive examinations. Retention based on demonstrated performance. Classification of positions based on duties and responsibilities performed. Compensation based on "like pay for like work." Appeals before a neutral third party. Merit personnel systems are governed by Sections 45220 to 45320 and 88060 and 88169 of the Education Code. Existing law requires all vacancies in the classified service AB 2125 Page 2 of a school district that has adopted the merit system to be filled from applicants on eligibility lists from promotional examinations or by means of transfer, demotion, reinstatement, or reemployment, as specified. When a vacancy is filled from applicants on an eligibility list, the appointment must be made from eligible candidates in the first three ranks on the list who are ready and willing to accept the position. (Education Code § 45272) Under existing law, merit system school districts may make appointments from other than the first three ranks of applicants on an eligibility list when the ability to speak, read, or write a language in addition to English or possession of a valid driver's license is a requirement for the position to be filled. In that circumstance, existing law requires the appointment to be made from among the highest three ranks of the applicants on the list who meet the special requirements. (EC § 45277) ANALYSIS This bill applies only to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Specifically, this bill: 1) Authorizes the LAUSD, until December 31, 2015, to fill a vacancy with an applicant who is not among the first three ranks of an eligibility list if the position requires a person of a specific gender or requires specialized licenses, certifications, knowledge, or ability that cannot reasonably be acquired during the probationary period. Specifies this authority extends only to the following nine classifications: a) Principal financial analyst. b) Principal administrative analyst. c) Senior administrative analyst. d) Senior administrative assistant. e) Senior financial analyst. f) Information technology electronic communications technician. g) Information technology solution technician. h) Senior human resource specialist. i) Any classifications that have been designated as management or confidential. AB 2125 Page 3 2) Requires the recruitment bulletin announcing the examination to indicate the special requirements that may be necessary for filling one or more of the positions in the classification. 3) Requires, if this authority is used, the appointment to be made from among the highest three ranks of eligible candidates on the appropriate eligibility list who meet the special requirements of the position and who are ready and willing to accept the position. 4) Authorizes provisional appointments, as specified, when there are insufficient applicants who meet the special requirements. 5) Requires the LAUSD to study the effectiveness of the selection method, the vacancy rates for each class, and the length of time to hire for each class, and submit a report on its findings to any affected labor union. 6) Provides that this authority shall remain in effect until December 31, 2015, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later statute that is enacted before December 31, 2015, deletes or extends that date. STAFF COMMENTS 1) History of LAUSD exemption : Prior law, until January 1, 2012, authorized the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to fill vacancies in specified job classifications from ranks other than the top three ranks of an employment list if specialized licenses, certifications, knowledge, ability or a specific gender is required. The unique selection process established for LAUSD was originally authorized by AB 424 (Richman, Chapter 881, 2003). The original exemption expired on January 1, 2006, and was extended to January 1, 2007, by AB 1772 (Assembly Public Employees Retirement and Social Security Committee, Chapter 547, 2005). AB 5480 (Smyth, Chapter 528, 2007) extended the expiration date again to January 1, 2012, and limited its application to 16 specified positions. AB 415 (Karnette, Chapter 186, 2008) added "any classifications that have been designated as management" to the listed classifications. AB 1293 (Hall, Chapter 145, 2009) added nine additional positions to which the exemption applied. AB 2125 Page 4 2) Need for the bill . According to the author's office, this bill is needed to maintain the historical flexibility in the hiring process that has allowed the LAUSD to dramatically reduce the average time it takes to fill a vacancy. The LAUSD Personnel Commission oversees a classification system of approximately 1,150 separate classifications. Selective certification allows the district's personnel commission to have an efficient hiring process without affecting the merit system. 3) Merit systems . There are about 100 merit system school districts in California, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, which adopted the merit system in 1936. About 60% of classified employees statewide are employed in districts that operate under a merit system. Personnel decisions in merit system districts are governed by a local personnel commission that is responsible for maintaining the system and establishing guidelines that the district governing board must follow in the hiring, retention, and promotion of classified employees. A local personnel commission is comprised of one member selected by the governing board of the school district, one member nominated by the classified employees of the district (and appointed by the district governing board), and a third member who is appointed by the other two. In a merit system, vacancies in the classified service are filled from applicants on eligibility lists, except for those filled by employees who are transferred, demoted, reinstated, or reemployed in accordance with rules the local personnel commission has established. Applicants are placed on an eligibility list in the order of their "relative merit" based on their performance on a competitive examination; applicants with the same score have the same "rank" on the list. Generally speaking, appointments must be made from individuals in the first three ranks on the list, however the law provides exemptions when the ability to speak, read, or write a language other than English or possession of a valid driver's license is a requirement of the position. This bill temporarily provides the LAUSD with additional exemptions for specific classifications by authorizing appointments to be made from other than the first three AB 2125 Page 5 ranks on the eligibility list if the position requires specialized licenses, certification, knowledge or ability that can't reasonably be acquired during the probationary period or if a specific gender is required for successful job performance of a position. SUPPORT Los Angeles Unified School District OPPOSITION None received.