California Court of Appeal Sides With Charter School in Teacher's Challenge to Exemption from District Employment Rules

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March 30, 2012 The Sixth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal upheld the trial court decision in favor of Ridgecrest Charter School, ruling that the teacher failed to meet her burden of establishing facts or argument that would support her multiple causes of action filed after her termination. In the case of Squillacote v. Ridgecrest Charter School, the school had terminated the teacher promptly after an incident involving a student. The teacher filed a lawsuit alleging, among other things, that regardless of her at-will employment status, Ridgecrest was required to provide her the pre-termination process that school districts are required to use. She argued that charter schools should not be exempted from these laws because it would violate public policy and deny her equal protection under the law.

Both Ridgecrest and CCSA, as amicus curiae, argued that Education Code section 47610, the commonly referred to as the "megawaiver", allows charter schools to exempt themselves from employment laws applicable to school districts. CCSA submitted evidence from the legislative history to emphasize that the Legislature specifically intended to include employment laws within the scope of the megawaiver. The court sided with Ridgecrest and CCSA, stating "We are confident that in passing Education Code section 47610, the Legislature intended to accomplish exactly what was stated -- exempting charter schools from the onerous conditions of employment imposed on public schools."

Read the unpublished Court of Appeal decision issued on March 28