STRENGTHENING PARENT’S VOICES IN SCHOOLS
Community Representatives are liaisons between schools and the community, and play an important role as problem-solvers in our schools. Yet, they are essentially treated like temporary employees. They cannot work more than 90 days or a total of 720 hours in one year. This limits most Community Representatives to less than four hours of paid work per day even though they often dedicate 8 or more hours to students and families every school day.
Community Representatives are exempt from classified employee service. This makes them “at will” employees who can be terminated at any time for no reason at all.
How we’re addressing the issue
In March, SEIU Local 99 helped to put forth AB 2261—a state legislative bill authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman—to address this issue.
AB 2261 will update the California Education Code (Section 45258) to allow Community Representatives to foster stronger ties with more parents and help more students succeed by:
- Lifting the cap on Community Representative work hours.
- Allowing school sites to invest in keeping their parent centers open and accessible for more time during the school year.
- Making the Community Representative position a permanent, classified position. As classified employees, they will gain the same “just cause” job protections that all other classified employees have.
AB 2261 will also revise Section 45258 of the California Education Code and make the Community Representative position a classified position. As classified employees, they will gain just cause job protections that all other classified employees have.
Claudia Duron (far right), a Community Representative at Nueva Vista Elementary, hosts a meeting with parent volunteers at the school’s parent center.
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 School employees applaud Governor Brown for addressing the outdated law that has prevented crucial school staff from being appropriately recognized and valued,” said Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 Max Arias in a public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.”
Where’s the Bill?
Legislative bills move progressively in steps from one committee to another, to the assembly floor, to the senate floor, and lastly – to the Governor’s desk. This timeline plots out the key milestones the bill must go through before landing on the Governor’s desk. Follow the bill’s progression in more detail on the California Legislative Information website.
The first draft of the bill is read for the first time and may be referred to a committee in March.
March 19 – 21
The bill is referred to and read in the Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security. The bill is amended in the committee and re-referred to the committee for a second reading.
Bill passes Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security and is referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. Read the committee’s analysis of the bill.
Bill is passed by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and will now go to the Senate floor for voting. Read the committee’s analysis of the bill.
Bill is approved by State Assembly and now moves to the Senate. Read the Assembly’s analysis of the bill.
May 30 – June 7
Bill is read for the first time in the Senate and passed to the Committee on Rules, which refers it to the Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations.
Bill passes the Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations and is re-referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Read the committee’s analysis of the bill.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations will determine the cost of the bill to the state. The committee can do two things:
- If it determines that the bill has no fiscal impact to the state, it will pass through the committee and go to the full Senate for a vote. We have until August 31 for approval from the Senate.
- Move it into the suspense file. This means that the bill is put on hold to review its impact on the state budget. If AB 2261 goes into the suspense file, the committee will need to vote it out of committee and send it to the Senate floor. This vote will likely take place in August when the legislature returns from summer break.
The deadline for the Senate to vote on the bill. After this, the bill will go to the Governor’s desk.
Governor Brown signs AB 2271 into law! Read more.