Changes to Healthy Schools Act Create New Pesticide Record-Keeping, Reporting and Training Obligations

March 2015

Senate Bill 1405, which became effective on January 1, 2015, imposes additional requirements on school districts and child care centers applying pesticides that are not exempted from regulation under the Healthy Schools Act (“HSA”). Included among the new mandates for schools are the establishment of a pest management plan, an annual requirement to submit records of all pesticide use, and completion of approved pest management training.   

By way of background, the HSA—codified by Education Code sections 17608-17613—was enacted in 2000 to promote reduction in the use of pesticides on school sites by focusing on pest prevention through use of the least hazardous pest control practices. The HSA prohibits school districts from using certain types of pesticides identified by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (“DPR”) and places restrictions on the use of others.  Under the HSA, districts must adhere to strict notice and recording requirements when using pesticides, including annual written parental notifications and school-site postings prior to the application of pesticides. 

The HSA was expanded in 2011 to include child care centers and has now been further expanded by the enactment of SB 1405.  Specifically, SB 1405 established the following requirements:

  • Development and Posting of Integrated Pest Management (“IPM”) Plans. Schools and child care centers applying pesticides not exempt from the HSA must establish an IPM plan and post it on their school or district websites—or include it in their annual notification to parents and guardians of enrolled students if they do not have a website.  IPM plans must either adhere to the DPR-developed template or be approved by the DPR.  The DPR has now posted its IPM plan template for school districts to use to meet this requirement.
  • Reporting Pesticide Use. Schools and child care centers applying pesticides not exempt from the HSA are required to report their pesticide use annually to the DPR.  The first reports are due January 30, 2016, and include pesticide use from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.  The reporting form is available here
  • Completion of IPM Training. Beginning July 1, 2016, any person, prior to applying any pesticide subject to the HSA at a school or child care center, must complete a DPR-approved training course. For school and child care staff, such training must occur annually. The approved courses that meet this SB 1405 requirement will be listed on the DPR website when available, but by no later than spring of 2016.

In order to ensure compliance with SB 1405, districts should make sure to complete the IPM plan, template, following the directions listed on the DPR website.  Additionally, if not already in place, an accurate system of tracking pesticide application at each school site should be developed. Finally, districts should monitor the DPR website periodically for more information on the training requirements that become effective in July 2016.

 If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call one of our six offices.

 F3 NewsFlash prepared by Kathleen J. McKee and John W. Norlin.
Kathy is a Partner in the F3 San Diego office.
John is Special Counsel in the F3 San Diego office.

This F3 NewsFlash is a summary only and not legal advice.  We recommend that you consult with legal counsel to determine how this legal development may apply to your specific facts and circumstances.  Information on a free NewsFlash subscription can be found at www.f3law.com.

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