Laura Schulkind

Laura Schulkind Partner

Partner Laura Schulkind leads the firm’s Public Education Practice Group. With over 30 years of experience, Laura is a sought-after education-law expert in a wide range of areas that confront California’s public school and community college districts. Her areas of expertise include district governance and board efficacy; ethics and conflicts of interest; government transparency under the Brown Act and Public Records Act; student rights and discipline, including FERPA, Title IX,  DACA, and serving students with disabilities under Section 504 and the IDEA; academic, certificated and classified evaluation and discipline; administrator contracts and evaluation; employee leave rights and the interactive process; contract grievance arbitration; unfair labor practices charges before PERB; labor negotiations with academic employees; harassment; employee misconduct investigations; and discrimination complaints made to outside bodies including OCR, EEOC and DFEH. Laura also taught education law in UC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute for ten years.

Laura is particularly recognized statewide for her expertise in designing lawful strategies to promote employment diversity in the community colleges. She was a primary writer of the updated Title 5 Regulations relating to diversity hiring, and was instrumental in their adoption. She has since trained thousands of community college administrators, faculty and staff across the State on designing and implementing strategies to improve workforce diversity, and processes for unbiased decision making. She has also developed strategies and practices for improving the diversity of vendor pools in district RFP and RFQ processes.

Prior to joining Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Laura was a partner at a Bay Area law firm that specializes in education law. While there, she represented school districts and other public entities on a wide range of school law and employment issues. Among other things, she twice represented coalitions of school districts challenging aspects of the STAR testing program and has a particular interest in psychometrics and legal issues relating to equity in testing.

A sought after presenter, Laura regularly conducts workshops for school districts, community college districts and professional organizations across the State in areas such as diversity hiring, Title IX/CLERY, board effectiveness, the Brown Act, conflicts of interest, harassment, best practices in management, certificated evaluation and discipline, school safety, employee leaves, student discipline, and serving students with special needs.

Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

LITIGATION

Plaintiff v. Private University (2012) - Negotiated a favorable settlement of under $10,000 on behalf of a private university in a lawsuit brought by a former student asserting race discrimination and breach of contract claims.

Mosley v. West Contra Costa Unified School District (2011) - Petitioner was a vice principal.  The school district (District) served a timely notice pursuant to Ed. Code § 44951 on March 11 advising Petitioner she may be reassigned to a non-administrator position for the following year.  In May, the District sent Petitioner a letter in error stating that her assignment for the upcoming year would be as a vice principal.  The Superintendent wrote to Petitioner in June informing her that the May assignment letter had been sent in error and the Board had not approved her assignment as an administrator.  The Board subsequently assigned Petitioner to a counseling position.  Petitioner filed a writ challenging the District's action. The court held that the May assignment letter did not rescind the March notice, that Mosley remained on notice of potential reassignment, and the district properly exercised its authority to assign Mosley to a counseling position.

Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

President, California Council of School Attorneys

Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) - Progress in Diversity Award, 2014  

Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

Aug 27, 2020

New State Guidance for Small Cohorts of Children from Governor and Department of Public Health

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued guidance for the use of small “cohorts” and groups of children and youth in order to deliver limited, in-person child supervision and instruction services. This “Cohorting Guidance,” applies to children and youth who attend or participate in controlled, supervised and indoor environments that are operated by local education agencies (“LEAs”), nonprofit organizations or other authorized providers, including public and private schools, child-care facilities, organized care, recreational programs, youth groups, before and after school programs, and day camps.

May 5, 2020

Chancellor Temporarily Suspends Regulations Limiting Interim Appointments During COVID-19 Declared State of Emergency

Current Regulations and the Executive Order

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations require community college districts to “actively recruit from both within and outside the district work force to attract qualified applicants for all vacancies,” which includes all vacant full-and part-time openings in all job categories and classifications—classified, academic, categorical, administrative and managerial.  (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5 § 53021.)  Regulations prohibit in-house or “promotional only” recruitment (where only existing district employees may apply for the position) to fill any vacancy, except on an interim basis for the minimum time necessary (but no more than two years) to allow for a full and open recruitment.  (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, § 53021, subd. (b).)  The regulations also describe a number of circumstances when a “vacancy” is not created.  (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, § 53021, subd. (c).)  These regulations also apply to merit system districts.  (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, § 53027.)

Apr 14, 2020

Interaction between Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave

In public school and community college districts that participate in the State Disability Insurance (“SDI”) program, employees who are eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) may also file a claim for Paid Family Leave (“PFL”), a benefit established under California law. PFL provides 60-70% wage replacement benefits for up to 6 weeks (8 weeks effective July 1, 2020) in a 12-month period for eligible employees who need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child. (Unempl. Ins. Code, § 3303(a).) Given the similarities between EPSL and PFL, we have received numerous questions regarding how one may affect the other. This bulletin serves to provide practical guidance on how employers should handle those situations where an employee seeks benefits under both laws.

Apr 8, 2020

State Superintendent Issues “Framework for Labor-Management Collaboration: Serving Local Communities During the COVID-19 Emergency”

On April 1, 2020, State Superintendent of Public Instruction (“SPI”), Tony Thurmond, issued a “Framework for Labor-Management Collaboration: Serving Local Communities During the COVID-19 Emergency” (“The Framework”).  The SPI developed this joint document in collaboration with representatives for Governor Gavin Newson, as well as a broad-based group of organizations including the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, and the major statewide unions that represent school employees.  The document is intended to support labor-management collaboration for K-12 districts and unions navigating the unique challenges of COVID-19.

Mar 26, 2020

FAQs for LEAs: Serving Disabled Students in the Age of COVID-19

UPDATED MARCH 26, 2020

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) prohibits discriminating against students with disabilities, and requires local education agencies (“LEAs”) to provide equal educational opportunities to disabled students in the form of Free and Appropriate Education (“FAPE”) in the “Least Restriction Environment” (“LRE”).  The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) governs the procedural and substantive obligations of LEAs to serve disabled students who qualify for special education and related services, including the obligation to provide eligible students with a FAPE in the LRE. California state laws provide similar protections, and in some cases greater protections, to students with disabilities.

Mar 18, 2020

California Legislature Passes SB 117 to Provide Protections for School Districts Closed Due to COVID-19 and Funding for Protective Equipment and Supplies and Labor for Cleaning School Sites

On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed SB 117, an education budget trailer bill, that includes protections for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools (hereafter “local educational agencies” or “LEA’s”) that have closed, or will close, due to COVID-19. Most importantly, SB 117 provides LEA’s will not lose funding due to COVID-19 closures. The bill supports Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-26-20 which provided protections for school funding. (Our bulletin on Governor Newsom’s Executive Order is found here. The bill also waives other requirements and timelines to support LEA’s that have closed and appropriates $100,000,000 in funding for the purchase of protective equipment and for the supplies and labor required for additional cleaning of school sites for LEA’s that provided classroom-based instruction after March 4, 2020 and before June 30, 2020.

Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

5 March 2021
Consortium Trainings

EEO During a Hiring Freeze and Retention Issues

Bay Area CCD ERC Webinar
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5 February 2021
Consortium Trainings

Summit: Race Forum (AM Session)

Bay Area CCD ERC Webinar
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5 February 2021
Consortium Trainings

Summit: Race Forum (PM Session)

Bay Area CCD ERC Webinar
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8 January 2021
Consortium Trainings

Classified Layoffs

Bay Area CCD ERC Webinar
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20 November 2020
Speaking Engagements

Town Hall - Legal Eagles

Community College League of California (CCLC) Annual Convention Webinar
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18 November 2020
Speaking Engagements

Affirmative Action in a Post ACA 5 Academic Environment

Community College League of California (CCLC) Annual Convention Webinar
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Education

  • JD, The New York University School of Law

  • BA, Wesleyan University

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