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AB-389 Private schools: employees: criminal background checks.(2013-2014)

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AB389:v93#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 389
CHAPTER 701

An act to amend Sections 44237 and 56366.1 of the Education Code, relating to private schools.

[ Approved by Governor  October 10, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State  October 10, 2013. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 389, Williams. Private schools: employees: criminal background checks.
(1) Existing law sets forth a method for providing special education and related services to pupils with exceptional needs. Existing law also permits, under certain circumstances, contracts to be entered for the provision of those services by nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies, as defined. Existing law authorizes a master contract for special education and related services provided by a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency only if the school or agency has been certified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as meeting specified standards. Existing law requires the Superintendent, before certification, to conduct an onsite review of the facility and program seeking certification, as provided. Existing law further requires the Superintendent to conduct an investigation of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency onsite at any time without prior notice if there is substantial reason to believe that there is an immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of a child, as provided.
This bill would authorize the Superintendent, when conducting an onsite review or investigation, to verify that the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency has received a successful criminal background check clearance and has enrolled in subsequent arrest notice service, as specified, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(2) Existing law requires every person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction on the elementary or high school level to require each applicant for employment in a position requiring contact with minor pupils who does not possess a valid California state teaching credential, or is not currently licensed by another state agency that requires a criminal record summary, to submit 2 sets of fingerprints to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining a criminal record summary from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Existing law requires a recipient of the summary to not disclose its contents or provide copies of the information, and requires the information received to be destroyed upon hiring.
This bill would delete the exemption for applicants possessing a valid California state teaching credential or who are currently licensed by another state agency that requires a criminal record summary, from submitting 2 sets of fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a criminal record summary from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bill would, notwithstanding the restrictions on sharing and destroying criminal background check information, require a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, upon demand, to make available to the Superintendent evidence of a successful criminal background check clearance and enrollment in subsequent arrest notice service, as provided, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. The bill would require the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency to retain the evidence, as specified. The bill also would make technical, nonsubstantive changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 44237 of the Education Code is amended to read:

44237.
 (a) Every person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction on the elementary or high school level shall require each applicant for employment in a position requiring contact with minor pupils to submit two sets of fingerprints prepared for submittal by the employer to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining criminal record summary information from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(b) (1) As used in this section, “employer” means every person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation offering or conducting private school instruction on the elementary or high school level.
(2) As used in this section, “employment” means the act of engaging the services of a person, who will have contact with pupils, to work in a position at a private school at the elementary or high school level on or after September 30, 1997, on a regular, paid full-time basis, regular, paid part-time basis, or paid full-time or part-time seasonal basis.
(3) As used in this section, “applicant” means any person who is seriously being considered for employment by an employer.
(4) This section does not apply to a secondary school pupil working at the school he or she attends or a parent or legal guardian working exclusively with his or her children.
(c) (1) Upon receiving the identification cards, the Department of Justice shall ascertain whether the applicant has been arrested or convicted of any crime insofar as that fact can be ascertained from information available to the Department of Justice and forward the information to the employer submitting the fingerprints no more than 15 working days after receiving the identification cards. The Department of Justice shall not forward information regarding criminal proceedings that did not result in a conviction but shall forward information on arrests pending adjudication.
(2) Upon implementation of an electronic fingerprinting system with terminals located statewide and managed by the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice shall ascertain the information required pursuant to this subdivision within three working days. If the Department of Justice cannot ascertain the information required pursuant to this subdivision within three working days, the Department of Justice shall notify the employer submitting the fingerprints that it cannot so ascertain the required information. This notification shall be delivered by telephone or email to the employer submitting the fingerprints. If the employer submitting the fingerprints is notified by the Department of Justice that it cannot ascertain the required information about a person, the employer shall not employ that person until the Department of Justice ascertains that information.
(3) The Department of Justice shall review the criminal record summary it obtains from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ascertain whether an applicant for employment has a conviction, or an arrest pending final adjudication, for any sex offense, controlled substance offense, crime of violence, or serious or violent felony. The Department of Justice shall provide written notification to the private school employer only as to whether an applicant for employment has any convictions, or arrests pending final adjudication, for any of these crimes.
(d) An employer shall not employ a person until the Department of Justice completes its check of the state criminal history file as set forth in this section.
(e) (1) An employer shall not employ a person who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony or a person who would be prohibited from employment by a public school district pursuant to any provision of this code because of his or her conviction for any crime.
(2) A person who would be prohibited from employment by a private school pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not, on or after July 1, 1999, own or operate a private school offering instruction on the elementary or high school level.
(f) An employer shall request subsequent arrest service from the Department of Justice as provided under Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code.
(g) This section applies to any violent or serious offense that, if committed in this state, would have been punishable as a violent or serious felony.
(h) For purposes of this section, a violent felony is any felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code and a serious felony is any felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 of the Penal Code.
(i) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), a person shall not be denied employment or terminated from employment solely on the basis that the person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony if the person has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 4852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal Code.
(j) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), a person shall not be denied employment or terminated from employment solely on the basis that the person has been convicted of a serious felony that is not also a violent felony if that person can prove to the sentencing court of the offense in question, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she has been rehabilitated for the purposes of school employment for at least one year. If the offense in question occurred outside this state, then the person may seek a finding of rehabilitation from the court in the county in which he or she is a resident.
(k) The commission shall make available to each private school a listing of all credentialholders who have had final adverse action taken against their credential. The information shall be identical to that made available to public schools in the state. The commission shall also send on a quarterly basis a complete and updated list of all teachers who have had their teaching credentials revoked or suspended, excluding teachers who have had their credentials reinstated, or who are deceased.
(l) The Department of Justice may charge a reasonable fee to cover costs associated with the processing, reviewing, and supplying of the criminal record summary as required by this section. The fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the Department of Justice.
(m) Where reasonable access to the statewide electronic fingerprinting network is available, the Department of Justice may mandate electronic submission of the fingerprints and related information required by this section.
(n) All information obtained from the Department of Justice is confidential. Agencies handling Department of Justice information shall ensure the following:
(1) A recipient shall not disclose its contents or provide copies of information.
(2) Information received shall be stored in a locked file separate from other files, and shall only be accessible to the custodian of records.
(3) Information received shall be destroyed upon the hiring determination in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 708 of Title 11 of the California Code of Regulations.
(4) Compliance with destruction, storage, dissemination, auditing, backgrounding, and training requirements as set forth in Sections 700 to 708, inclusive, of Title 11 of the California Code of Regulations and Section 11077 of the Penal Code governing the use and security of criminal offender record information is the responsibility of the entity receiving the information from the Department of Justice.

SEC. 2.

 Section 56366.1 of the Education Code is amended to read:

56366.1.
 (a) A nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency that seeks certification shall file an application with the Superintendent on forms provided by the department, and shall include all of the following information on the application:
(1) A description of the special education and designated instruction and services provided to individuals with exceptional needs if the application is for nonpublic, nonsectarian school certification.
(2) A description of the designated instruction and services provided to individuals with exceptional needs if the application is for nonpublic, nonsectarian agency certification.
(3) A list of appropriately qualified staff, a description of the credential, license, or registration that qualifies each staff member rendering special education or designated instruction and services to do so, and copies of their credentials, licenses, or certificates of registration with the appropriate state or national organization that has established standards for the service rendered.
(4) An annual operating budget.
(5) Affidavits and assurances necessary to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations that include criminal record summaries required of all nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency personnel having contact with minor children under Section 44237.
(b) (1) The applicant shall provide the special education local plan area in which the applicant is located with the written notification of its intent to seek certification or renewal of its certification. The applicant shall submit on a form, developed by the department, a signed verification by local educational agency representatives that they have been notified of the intent to certify or renew certification. The verification shall include a statement that representatives of the local educational agency for the area in which the applicant is located have had the opportunity to review the application at least 60 calendar days before submission of an initial application to the Superintendent, or at least 30 calendar days before submission of a renewal application to the Superintendent. The signed verification shall provide assurances that local educational agency representatives have had the opportunity to provide input on all required components of the application.
(2) If the applicant has not received a response from the local educational agency 60 calendar days from the date of the return receipt for initial applications or 30 calendar days from the date of the return receipt for renewal applications, the applicant may file the application with the Superintendent. A copy of the return receipt shall be included with the application as verification of notification efforts to the local educational agency.
(3) The department shall mail renewal application materials to certified nonpublic, nonsectarian schools and agencies at least 120 days before the date their current certification expires.
(c) If the applicant operates a facility or program on more than one site, each site shall be certified.
(d) If the applicant is part of a larger program or facility on the same site, the Superintendent shall consider the effect of the total program on the applicant. A copy of the policies and standards for the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency and the larger program shall be available to the Superintendent.
(e) (1) Before certification, the Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review of the facility and program for which the applicant seeks certification. The Superintendent may be assisted by representatives of the special education local plan area in which the applicant is located and a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency representative who does not have a conflict of interest with the applicant. The Superintendent shall conduct an additional onsite review of the facility and program within three years of the effective date of the certification, unless the Superintendent conditionally certifies the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or unless the Superintendent receives a formal complaint against the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. In the latter two cases, the Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review at least annually.
(2) In carrying out this subdivision, the Superintendent may verify that the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency has received a successful criminal background check clearance and has enrolled in subsequent arrest notice service, pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(f) The Superintendent shall make a determination on an application within 120 days of receipt of the application and shall certify, conditionally certify, or deny certification to the applicant. If the Superintendent fails to take one of these actions within 120 days, the applicant is automatically granted conditional certification for a period terminating on August 31 of the current school year. If certification is denied, the Superintendent shall provide reasons for the denial. The Superintendent shall not certify the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency for a period longer than one year.
(g) Certification becomes effective on the date the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency meets all the application requirements and is approved by the Superintendent. Certification may be retroactive if the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency met all the requirements of this section on the date the retroactive certification is effective. Certification expires on December 31 of the terminating year.
(h) The Superintendent annually shall review the certification of each nonpublic, nonsectarian school and agency. For this purpose, a certified nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency annually shall update its application between August 1 and October 31, unless the state board grants a waiver pursuant to Section 56101. The Superintendent may conduct an onsite review as part of the annual review.
(i) (1) The Superintendent shall conduct an investigation of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency onsite at any time without prior notice if there is substantial reason to believe that there is an immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of a child. The Superintendent shall document the concern and submit it to the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency at the time of the onsite investigation. The Superintendent shall require a written response to any noncompliance or deficiency found.
(2) With respect to a nonpublic, nonsectarian school, the Superintendent shall conduct an investigation, which may include an unannounced onsite visit, if the Superintendent receives evidence of a significant deficiency in the quality of educational services provided, a violation of Section 56366.9, or noncompliance with the policies expressed by subdivision (b) of Section 1501 of the Health and Safety Code by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school. The Superintendent shall document the complaint and the results of the investigation and shall provide copies of the documentation to the complainant, the nonpublic, nonsectarian school, and the contracting local educational agency.
(3) Violations or noncompliance documented pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) shall be reflected in the status of the certification of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, at the discretion of the Superintendent, pending an approved plan of correction by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. The department shall retain for a period of 10 years all violations pertaining to certification of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(4) In carrying out this subdivision, the Superintendent may verify that the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency received a successful criminal background check clearance and has enrolled in subsequent arrest notice service, pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(j) The Superintendent shall monitor the facilities, the educational environment, and the quality of the educational program, including the teaching staff, the credentials authorizing service, the standards-based core curriculum being employed, and the standard-focused instructional materials used, of an existing certified nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency on a three-year cycle, as follows:
(1) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall complete a self-review in year one.
(2) The Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency in year two.
(3) The Superintendent shall conduct a followup visit to the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency in year three.
(k) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the Superintendent shall not certify a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency that proposes to initiate or expand services to pupils currently educated in the immediate prior fiscal year in a juvenile court program, community school pursuant to Section 56150, or other nonspecial education program, including independent study or adult school, or both, unless the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency notifies the county superintendent of schools and the special education local plan area in which the proposed new or expanded nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency is located of its intent to seek certification.
(2) The notification shall occur no later than the December 1 before the new fiscal year in which the proposed or expanding school or agency intends to initiate services. The notice shall include the following:
(A) The specific date upon which the proposed nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency is to be established.
(B) The location of the proposed program or facility.
(C) The number of pupils proposed for services, the number of pupils currently served in the juvenile court, community school, or other nonspecial education program, the current school services including special education and related services provided for these pupils, and the specific program of special education and related services to be provided under the proposed program.
(D) The reason for the proposed change in services.
(E) The number of staff who will provide special education and designated instruction and services and hold a current valid California credential or license in the service rendered.
(3) In addition to the requirements in subdivisions (a) to (f), inclusive, the Superintendent shall require and consider the following in determining whether to certify a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency as described in this subdivision:
(A) A complete statement of the information required as part of the notice under paragraph (1).
(B) Documentation of the steps taken in preparation for the conversion to a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, including information related to changes in the population to be served and the services to be provided pursuant to each pupil’s individualized education program.
(4) Notwithstanding any other law, the certification becomes effective no earlier than July 1 if the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency provided the notification required pursuant to paragraph (1).
(l) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the Superintendent shall not certify or renew the certification of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, unless all of the following conditions are met:
(A) The entity operating the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency maintains separate financial records for each entity that it operates, with each nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency identified separately from any licensed children’s institution that it operates.
(B) The entity submits an annual budget that identifies the projected costs and revenues for each entity and demonstrates that the rates to be charged are reasonable to support the operation of the entity.
(C) The entity submits an entitywide annual audit that identifies its costs and revenues, by entity, in accordance with generally accepted accounting and auditing principles. The audit shall clearly document the amount of moneys received and expended on the educational program provided by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school.
(D) The relationship between various entities operated by the same entity are documented, defining the responsibilities of the entities. The documentation shall clearly identify the services to be provided as part of each program, for example, the residential or medical program, the mental health program, or the educational program. The entity shall not seek funding from a public agency for a service, either separately or as part of a package of services, if the service is funded by another public agency, either separately or as part of a package of services.
(2) For purposes of this section, “licensed children’s institution” has the same meaning as it is defined by Section 56155.5.
(m) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall be charged a reasonable fee for certification. The Superintendent may adjust the fee annually commensurate with the statewide average percentage inflation adjustment computed for local control funding formula allocations pursuant to Section 42238.02, as implemented by Section 42238.03, of unified school districts with greater than 1,500 units of average daily attendance if the percentage increase is reflected in the school district local control funding formula allocation pursuant to Section 42238.02, as implemented by Section 42238.03, for inflation purposes. For purposes of this section, the base fee shall be the following:
(1) 1–5 pupils  ........................
$ 300
(2) 6–10 pupils  ........................
500
(3) 11–24 pupils  ........................
1,000
(4) 25–75 pupils  ........................
1,500
(5) 76 pupils and over  ........................
2,000
The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall pay this fee when it applies for certification and when it updates its application for annual renewal by the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall use these fees to conduct onsite reviews, which may include field experts. A fee shall not be refunded if the application is withdrawn or is denied by the Superintendent.
(n) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, only those nonpublic, nonsectarian schools and agencies that provide special education and designated instruction and services using staff who hold a certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which staff in a public school are required to hold in the service rendered are eligible to receive certification. Only those nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies located outside of California that employ staff who hold a current valid credential or license to render special education and related services as required by that state shall be eligible to be certified.
(2) The state board shall develop regulations to implement this subdivision.
(o) In addition to meeting the standards adopted by the state board, a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall provide written assurances that it meets all applicable standards relating to fire, health, sanitation, and building safety.
(p) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (n) of Section 44237, and for purposes of enabling the Superintendent to carry out his or her duties pursuant to this section, a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall, upon demand, make available to the Superintendent evidence of a successful criminal background check clearance and enrollment in subsequent arrest notice service, conducted pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
(2) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall retain the evidence and store it in a locked file separate from other files.