Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

Statute Of Limitations in Action Against District and Retirees Begins When School Retirement System Knew or Should Have Known of Inaccurate Reporting Practices

Over a seven-year period, the Yuba City Unified School District erroneously added retirement incentives to 54 educators’ final compensation when they retired between the 2002-2003 and 2011-2012 school years. In 2012, CalSTRS audited the District and found the errors. In its audit report to the District, CalSTRS told the District to make corrections and stated CalSTRS would collect the overpayments from the retirees pursuant to Education Code Sections 24616 and 24617. Additionally, because the overpayments were based on erroneous information from the District, CalSTRS would also seek payment from the District if it was unable to completely collect from the retirees (Education Code Section 24616.5.)

Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

Statute of Limitations for School Retirement System’s Claims Against District and Retirees is Triggered with Each Periodic Payment of Retirement Benefits Made by the System

The Salinas Unified High School District and its teachers’ union entered into a collective bargaining agreement in 1999 that purported to create a separate class of employees for teachers who elected to work an extra (sixth) period. In 2005, after three teachers retired, a District employee sent a memorandum to the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), which arguably alerted MCOE to the potential overpayment of retirement benefits to teachers in the District who had worked the sixth period. In December 2008, an outside auditing firm advised CalSTRS that the plaintiffs, a group of eleven retired teachers, were overpaid for several years due to the District’s improper inclusion of certain earnings in the calculation of their monthly benefits. In July 2010, CalSTRS directed the District to correct its calculations and repay CalSTRS. The retirees and the District appealed the 2008 audit findings and requested an administrative hearing. In April 2012, before any such hearing, CalSTRS began reducing the retirees’ monthly payments. 

Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

Plaintiffs May Argue That a Public Agency Cannot Raise Plaintiffs’ Non-Compliance with the Government Claims Act as a Defense Where the Plaintiffs had Allegedly Been Misled Into Believing They Had Followed the Law

Douglas Morales and Jennalyn Santos were driving in Los Angeles when a Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) vehicle allegedly ran a red light and struck them, causing severe physical injuries that required hospitalization.

Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

Employee’s Grievance Does Not Satisfy the Requirement of the Government Claims Act and the Futility Doctrine Does Not Provide an Exception to the Requirements

Cassidy Olson (“Olson”) was an employee of Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD) who served as a history teacher and head baseball coach for Mira Costa High School. In September 2012, parents of some players filed a complaint with MBUSD alleging Olson engaged in abusive behavior, bullying, and hazing of players. MBUSD conducted an investigation which determined the claims of abuse were unfounded based on interviews of almost 70 players. The investigative report recommended that Olson be retained as the baseball coach and counseled on his coaching expectations. MBUSD Superintendent Michael Matthews allegedly rewrote the report in December 2012 and omitted the investigators’ recommendation and some favorable comments. Shortly after, MBUSD prohibited Olson from attending baseball games or practices or having contact with players after 3:00 pm until March 25, 2013.

Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

Personnel Commission has a Mandatory Duty to Investigate Charges Made Against a Merit-System Employee, but it is Not Required to Conduct a Pre-Hearing Investigation, and the Investigation can be Conducted During the Course of the Hearing

Prior to April 2008, Rodger Hartnett was a claims coordinator with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). The SDCOE terminated his employment, and Harnett sued the SDCOE and individual SDCOE employees for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, civil conspiracy to commit wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hartnett alleged he was wrongfully terminated as a result of the SDCOE’s failure to accommodate his “visual processing impairment” disability and in retaliation for his investigation of allegedly illegal practices involving the SDCOE’s panel attorneys.

Jan 19, 2018 Education Matters

School Officials Include School Resource Officers and Backup Officers. Removing Student From Class to Detain and Search Him for a Weapon Based on Tip is Reasonable Under Fourth Amendment

An Assistant Principal of a comprehensive high school received a text from a student alerting him that a student at the credit recovery school brought a gun to class. The Assistant Principal called the police and immediately went to the credit recovery school to alert the school’s Principal. Shortly after he arrived, the School Resource Officer (SRO) met him. The SRO called for a backup officer. The Assistant Principal contacted the student tipster for more information and learned that the student tipster had received a message via the social media application SnapChat with a video showing K.J., sitting in a classroom, displaying a gun and a magazine clip. The tipster also confirmed the K.J.’s gender, race, hair style, and that he was a former student at the comprehensive high school.