(a) (1) No later than March 15 and before an employee is given notice by the governing board that his or her services will not be required for the ensuing year for the reasons specified in Section 44955, the governing board and the employee shall be given written notice by the superintendent of the district or his or her designee, or in the case of a school district that has no superintendent by the clerk or secretary of the governing board, that it has been recommended that the notice be given to the employee, and stating the reasons therefor.
(2) Until the employee has requested a hearing as provided in subdivision (b) or has waived his or her right to a hearing, the notice and the reasons therefor shall be confidential and shall not be divulged by any person, except as may be necessary in the performance of duties. However, the violation of this requirement of confidentiality, in and of itself, shall not in any manner be construed as affecting the validity of any hearing conducted pursuant to this section.
(b) The employee may request a hearing to determine if there is cause for not reemploying him or her for the ensuing year. A request for a hearing shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the person who sent the notice pursuant to subdivision (a), on or before a date specified in that subdivision, which shall not be less than seven days after the date on which the notice is served upon the employee. If an employee fails to request a hearing on or before the date specified, his or her failure to do so shall constitute his or her waiver of his or her right to a hearing. The notice provided for in subdivision (a) shall advise the employee of the provisions of this subdivision.
(c) If a hearing is requested by the employee, the proceeding shall be conducted and a decision made in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code and the governing board shall have all the power granted to an agency in that chapter, except that all of the following shall apply:
(1) The respondent shall file his or her notice of participation, if any, within five days after service upon him or her of the District Statement of Reduction in Force and he or she shall be notified of this five-day period for filing in the District Statement of Reduction in Force.
(2) The discovery authorized by Section 11507.6 of the Government Code shall be available only if request is made therefor within 15 days after service of the District Statement of Reduction in Force, and the notice required by Section 11505 of the Government Code shall so indicate.
(3) The hearing shall be conducted by an administrative law judge who shall prepare a proposed decision, containing findings of fact and a determination as to whether the charges sustained by the evidence are related to the welfare of the schools and the pupils of the schools. The proposed decision shall be prepared for the governing board and shall contain a determination as to the sufficiency of the cause and a recommendation as to disposition. However, the governing board shall make the final determination as to the sufficiency of the cause and disposition. None of the findings, recommendations, or determinations contained in the proposed decision prepared by the administrative law judge shall be binding on the governing board. Nonsubstantive procedural errors committed by the school district or governing board of the school district shall not constitute cause for dismissing the charges unless the errors are prejudicial errors. Copies of the proposed decision shall be submitted to the governing board and to the employee on or before May 7 of the year in which the proceeding is commenced. All expenses of the hearing, including the cost of the administrative law judge, shall be paid by the governing board from the district funds.
(d) Any notice or request shall be deemed sufficient when it is delivered in person to the employee to whom it is directed, or when it is deposited in the United States registered mail, postage prepaid and addressed to the last known address of the employee.
(e) If after a request for hearing pursuant to subdivision (b) a continuance is granted pursuant to Section 11524 of the Government Code, the dates prescribed in subdivision (c) that occur on or after the date of granting the continuance and the date prescribed in subdivision (c) of Section 44955 that occurs after the date of granting the continuance shall be extended for a period of time equal to the continuance.
(f) The governing board may adopt from time to time rules and procedures not inconsistent with this section as may be necessary to effectuate this section.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 90, Sec 1.)