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Bill Targeting Superintendent Termination Clauses Pulled from Assembly Committee

By Laura Preston, ACSA - April 17, 2009

AB 164 (Mendoza, D-Artesia) is a bill that would prohibit K-adult superintendent contracts from containing severance and/or buyout clauses when a superintendent’s employment with a district is terminated by the board of trustees.  Under current law, superintendent contracts may include a buyout clause not to exceed 18 months of the individuals contracted salary and benefits.  The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) is strongly opposed to this measure .

ACSA recognizes there are issues with the perception of a dismissal with pay for a school superintendent.  With the significant cuts to public education, protecting the “CEO” of school districts is not popular right now.  But this measure would significantly stymie the ability of districts to attract and retain highly qualified leaders willing to take certain risks on behalf of students and taxpayers.

ACSA met with every member of the Assembly Education Committee, and our members stepped up to contact their local legislators in opposition to AB 164.  On April 15, Assembly Member Mendoza pulled his bill from the Assembly Education Committee agenda since he realized he didn’t have the votes to pass his bill out of committee.

This is tremendous news.  However, Assembly Member Mendoza has until May 13 to determine if he will try and move the bill out of committee as is, amend the bill, or drop the bill.  Currently, he intends to move the bill in some form.  ACSA will be monitoring this bill closely.

Please contact me for additional information or to provide legislative advocacy in opposition to this measure.  I can be reached at lpreston@acsa.org.

Editor's Note: Laura Preston is a legislative advocate with Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Her specialties include employment law and policy, charter schools, adult education, and school facilities.