New Law Reforms School Takeovers

Sandre Swanson

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 2279, a law that returns full local control to school districts that are repaying an emergency state loan by authorizing the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to remove the appointed trustee under certain conditions. “The term of an emergency loan is typically 20 years, and existing law requires an appointed trustee to serve until the state loan is repaid, regardless of a district’s progress or demonstrated fiscal responsibility,” said Assemblymember Sandre Swanson. “While the superintendent is required to appoint a trustee to monitor the school district, he lacks the authority to remove that trustee when the school demonstrates financial recovery. AB 2279 gives the superintendent this important tool while protecting the local district and safeguarding taxpayer money,” Swanson said. AB 2279 allows the state superintendent to remove an appointed trustee, under specified conditions, from a district that is repaying an emergency state loan. According to Swanson, this new law addresses concerns raised in hearings by the Select Committee on State School Financial Takeovers, which identified in some communities conflicts between the state administrator and the governing board. “AB 2279 will give the state superintendent the authority to step in when necessary to resolve that conflict in an organized and constructive fashion while developing a positive learning environment for children,” he said. The bill also gives the county superintendent the power to stay and rescind the actions of the governing board, if he or she determines that the actions may affect the district’s financial stability. “The school emergency loan process was designed to help struggling schools through tough financial times,” he said “The process was not intended to compromise the ability of local parents and school board officials to participate in the education of their children,” Swanson said.
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