STRENGTHENING PARENT’S VOICES IN SCHOOLS
Community Representatives are an important liaison between schools and the community. They serve a key role as problem-solvers in our schools. In the past, Community Representatives were essentially treated like temporary employees. They were exempt from classified service, making them “at-will” employees who could be terminated at any time for no reason. Community Representatives were also capped at about 4 hours a day, although they often dedicated eight hours or more to students and families. In 2018, we worked together to change this. We organized our fellow classified employees to make visits to our legislators. We took our fight all the way to Capitol Hill in Sacramento and won! When we’re united we can make big changes that improve our lives, the lives of the students we serve and our communities.
What we won with AB 2261
In 2018, we put forth a bill AB 2261 to address these issues. Here are some of the highlights of what we’ve won:
- Classified Service: As of January 1, 2019, Community Representatives are now permanent, classified positions. As classified employees, Community Representatives gain the same “just cause” job protections that all other classified employees have. See our FAQs below for more details.
- Lifting Hourly Caps For Community Representatives: AB 2261 will allow schools to invest in keeping their parent centers open and accessible for more time during the school year by lifting the 720-hour-a-year cap that Community Representatives can work (California Education Code, Sec. 45258). This ensures Community Representatives are paid for all the hours they work. Community Representatives have reported for years that—due to the demands of the jobs—they regularly work 8 hours days, but are only paid for four hours or fewer.
On September 7, Governor Brown signed AB 2261 (Friedman) into law. “Community representatives are essential to increasing parent engagement in our schools and crucial to the success of our most vulnerable students. School employees applaud Governor Brown for addressing the outdated law that has prevented crucial school staff from being appropriately recognized and valued,” said Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 Max Arias in a public statement.
AB 2261 will allow schools to invest in keeping their parent centers open and accessible for more time during the school year by lifting the 720-hour-a-year cap that Community Representatives can work (as defined in the California Education Code (Section 45258).
“For years, we’ve been trying to get this changed and the passage of this bill finally recognizes the value of Community Representatives in schools,” says Haydee Malacas, a LAUSD Community Representative at Carson High School. “For parents, this means more access to resources and assistance, so that they can better help their kids succeed.”
The lift on the cap ensures Community Representatives are paid for the hours they work. Community Representatives have reported for years that—due to the demands of the job—they regularly work 8 hour days, but are only paid for four or fewer hours.
AB 2261 also makes the position a permanent, classified position. As classified employees, they will gain the same “just cause” job protections that all other classified employees have.
Now that her position will become part of a classified unit, Haydee says she’ll no longer feel the stress of being behind the eight ball and for that, she wants to make sure everyone knows that her union and union members made this possible. Reflecting on this win and what it means to have a union, she says: “When we’re together in our union, we can make big changes…changes that improves people’s lives.”
Classified employees gain “just cause” protections and are no longer “at will employees”. You will now accrue illness, vacation, certain paid holidays, and the right to other types of leave (like military time), just like other classified employees.
On January 1, 2019, you will be permanent employees. This means there is no “probationary” period for you because you have been grandfathered into permanent status. Additionally you will begin gaining seniority in case of layoffs and right to due process for disciplinary reasons. However, employees hired after January 1, 2019, will be required to pass an employment assessment test prior to becoming permanent.
Yes. Permanent employees gain seniority and you will start accruing your seniority on January 1, 2019.
Seniority is determined by the date of hire in the classification. When your position is converted to classified, permanent status on January 1, 2019, this will be your seniority date.
If a reduction in force (RIF) becomes necessary, employees with the least amount of seniority will be laid off first. If two or more employees have the same seniority date, there are “tie-breakers” that will be utilized.
There is no change your eligibility for health benefits. Refer to your collective bargaining agreement for additional information about health benefits.
The new laws do not mean there will be a change in hours. However, the hourly cap restriction has been lifted for Community Representatives. Therefore, if your school has additional funds they may assign more hours for your position. This will vary from school to school.
You are legally entitled to a minimum of three sick days a year. A day of illness is based on the number of assigned hours per day. Additional sick days may be earned based on the number of hours worked, at a rate of .05 per hour.
For all employees employed for fewer than 35 hours a week, the vacation credit shall be computed at a rate of .03846 for each hour in paid status. This does not include overtime.
Classified employees receive holiday pay for holidays as recognized by the Board, provided the employee is in paid status on the day preceding or after the holiday. Therefore, not all holidays will apply to employees not assigned year round.
If you have any issues please contact our Membership Resource Center at (213) 637-0296 or by completing an online inquiry form.