Vergara v. California – Recent Decision re: Tenure, Dismissal and Layoffs (CCD)

As you may have heard in the news, on June 10, 2014, California Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu issued a decision in Vergara v. California (6/10/14, No. BC484642 (Los Angeles Superior Court)), the closely-watched case regarding elementary and secondary teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs. After thirty-three days of trial, the Court found that the following Education Code sections regarding elementary and secondary certificated employment violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution of California: section 44929.21(b) (“Permanent Employment Statute”); sections 44934, 44938(b)(1) and (2) and 44944 (“Dismissal Statutes”); and section 44955 (“Last-In-First-Out Statute” layoff laws). None of these statutes apply to community college districts. The Court found that these statutes “impose a real and appreciable impact on students’ fundamental right to equality of education and that they impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students.” Given the specific code sections at issue and the significant differences between community college education and elementary and secondary education – including both the relevant employment processes and the fact that higher education is not compulsory – the tenure, dismissal, and layoff processes for community college faculty are not implicated by the Vergara decision.