BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                          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 




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          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.  





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          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.  




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           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 




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               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.