Governor Signs New Student Residency Bills

August 2015

On August 11, 2015, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1101 (“AB 1101”) requiring that, before a school district can undertake an investigation to determine whether a student meets residency requirements for attendance, its governing board must first adopt a policy regarding the conduct of such investigations.  AB 1101 becomes effective on January 1, 2016.  Also on August 11, the governor signed Senate Bill 200 (“SB 200”), which revises rules for compliance with residency requirements in certain circumstances when a student’s parent or guardian resides outside district boundaries.

 AB 1101, which adds section 48204.2 to the Education Code, requires a residency investigation policy to comply with all of the following requirements:

  • Identify the circumstances upon which the district may initiate an investigation, which must, at a minimum, require the district employee to be able to identify specific, articulable facts supporting the belief that the parent or legal guardian of the pupil has provided false or unreliable evidence of residency.
  • Describe the investigatory methods that may be used by the school district in the conduct of the investigation, including whether the school district will be employing the services of a private investigator.  Before hiring a private investigator, the policy must require the district to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the student resides in the district.
  • Prohibit the surreptitious photographing or video-recording of students who are being investigated.  “Surreptitious photographing or video-recording” is defined to mean the covert collection of photographic or videographic images of person or places subject to an investigation.  The collection of images is not covert if the technology is used in open and public view.
  • Require that employees and contractors of the district engaged in the investigation identify themselves truthfully as such to individuals contacted or interviewed during the course of the investigation.
  • Provide a process whereby the district’s determination as to whether a student meets the residency requirements for attendance may be appealed, and specify the basis for that determination.  If an appeal is made, the burden is on the appealing party to show why the decision of the district should be overruled.

The policy required pursuant to AB 1101 must be adopted at a public meeting of the governing board of the district.

SB 200 amends Education Code section 48204 and becomes operative on January 1, 2016.  It provides that a student complies with a district’s residency requirements in instances where the student’s parent or legal guardian resides outside of the boundaries of the district but is employed and lives with the student at the place of his or her employment within the boundaries of the school district for a minimum of three days during the school week.  By requiring a district to allow those students to attend a public school within its boundaries, thereby increasing the duties the district, SB 200 imposes a state-mandated local program.

 If you have any questions regarding AB 1101, SB 200 or any related matter, please call one of our six offices.

 F3 NewsFlash prepared by Howard Friedman and John Norlin.
Howard is a Partner in the F3 Los Angeles office.
John is Special Counsel in the F3 San Diego office.

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