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April 21, 2017

Appellate Court Rules that Charter City Does Not Need to Bargain Before Placing Citizen-Proposed Initiative on the Ballot

On April 11, 2017, the California Court of Appeal held that while a charter city must satisfy the meet and confer obligations arising from governing-body-sponsored charter amendment ballot proposals, it did not have the same bargaining requirement for citizen-proponent-proposed charter amendments. The court annulled the ruling of the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") and held that the City of San Diego ("City") was not required to meet and confer over a citizen-proposed charter amendment before placing the initiative on the ballot. (City of San Diego v. Public Employment Relations Board (April 11, 2017, D069630) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 1326317.)

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April 20, 2017

Cities and Special Districts’ Election Consolidation Plans Must Be Adopted by January 1, 2018

An important deadline is approaching for certain cities and special districts that hold off-cycle elections. Under the new California Voter Participation Rights Act ("Act"), political subdivisions that hold elections on a date other than a statewide election date and have experienced a significant decrease in voter turnout must adopt a plan by January 1, 2018 to consolidate their future elections with a statewide election not later than the November 8, 2022 statewide general election.

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April 3, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies the Standard of a Free Appropriate Public Education Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 580 U.S. __ (2017), the U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered a unanimous decision on a special education case regarding the legal standard for determining what level of educational benefit is required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). Although the Court was not explicitly clear on what would constitute a universal standard for a free appropriate public education ("FAPE"), it clarified that a school district must offer an individualized education program ("IEP") that is reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress that is appropriate in light of the child’s own circumstances.

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April 3, 2017

District Court Upholds Cost Limitations Pertaining to Publicly Funded Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)

Recently, a federal district court issued an opinion in Abarca v. Goleta Union School District, __ F. __ (C.D. Cal. 2017), affirming a 2013 Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH") decision regarding a district’s refusal to fund an independent educational evaluation ("IEE") requested by a parent based on a Santa Barbara County’s Special Education Local Plan Area ("SELPA") IEE policy that contained cost containment criteria. The court held that the administrative law judge ("ALJ") did not err in determining that the applicable SELPA IEE policy cost ceiling was reasonable and that the parent failed to establish "unique circumstances" to warrant exceeding the cost cap.

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April 3, 2017

The Ninth Circuit Reiterates Procedural Requirements, Warns Against ALJ’s Reframing of Hearing Issues, and Identifies Consequences for a School District’s Failure to Timely Respond to Due Process Complaints

On March 27, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in M.C. v. Antelope Valley Union High School District that touches on several issues significant to special education practice and procedures.

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March 21, 2017

California Court of Appeal Concludes That Commissioned Employees are Entitled to Separately Compensated Rest Breaks

Does California law require that an employee who is paid on a commission basis receive separate compensation for his or her rest periods?

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March 10, 2017

Stopping Scammers from Phishing HR and Payroll Personnel for W-2s and Other Private Employee Data

Nothing is certain except death and taxes—and phishing scams every tax season. "Phishing" is defined as identity theft taking place over the Internet. According to the IRS, phishing and malware incidents rose 400 percent in the 2016 tax season. Based on recent IRS alerts, these incidents have not diminished in the 2017 tax season. Both this year and last year, the IRS has discovered phishing schemes targeting tax professionals, payroll workers, human resources personnel, schools, individual taxpayers, and more.

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March 3, 2017

California Supreme Court Holds Public Records Sent Through Private Email Accounts and Devices May Be Subject to Disclosure

In a much-anticipated decision, the California Supreme Court held on March 2, 2017, that when a public employee uses a personal account or device to communicate about the conduct of public business, the writings may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). (City of San Jose v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (2017) Case No. S218066.)

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