A pending bill in the California State Legislature is looking to change how school boards would go about dismissing a superintendent.
Senate Bill 494, which Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) introduced, would require school boards to provide more than 24 hours of notice if they want to dismiss a public school district official.
A minimum of a 72-hour notice would be required before a public meeting at which a district superintendent and/or assistant superintendent could be terminated without cause, a news release from Newman’s office said.
“SB 494 will ensure greater transparency and accountability in school district governing board proceedings and ensure stability and transparency in school district governance,” Newman said.
The measure comes after the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees voted last December to terminate the contract of former Superintendent Kirsten Vital Brulte for unexplained reasons. The termination of Brulte’s contract was said to be without cause.
The Board of Trustees is considering candidates for the superintendent position and expects that person to begin their role this July.
Newly elected trustees Michael Parham and Gary Davis, who won last November’s races for the respective Area 2 and 4 seats on the board, were among the four trustees who voted to end Brulte’s role as superintendent.
If enacted, SB 494 would prohibit school boards from taking action to terminate a superintendent or assistant superintendent within 30 days after first convening following a board election.
Newman’s office mentioned circumstances similar to CUSD that occurred in the Orange Unified School District, where its board called a special meeting with 24 hours’ notice over the past winter break to dismiss the district’s superintendent and assistant superintendent.
“Similar scenarios are being reported throughout the state, with many instances of sudden district leadership changes appearing politically motivated, resulting in avoidable levels of contention, distrust, and disruption in affected school communities,” the release from Newman’s office said.
The State Senate approved the bill on Tuesday, May 15. SB 494 must next be considered by the State Assembly to move forward.
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