October 27, 2016 2016-103
The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:
As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report concerning the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) policies and practices for removing teachers from the classroom in response to allegations of misconduct and for resolving those allegations.
This report concludes that LAUSD can do more to reduce the impacts of those teacher removals, known as reassignments. The costs of reassigning teachers, who generally continue to receive their regular salaries and benefits while reassigned, have declined at LAUSD in recent years. However, recent trends in LAUSD’s resolution of reassignments suggest that case backlogs—and costs—could rise again in coming years. Specifically, LAUSD’s data show that the district is resolving fewer reassignments annually and taking longer to resolve the cases it does close. LAUSD often exceeded the time frames it has set for itself to investigate alleged misconduct and make disciplinary decisions, and it does not sufficiently monitor compliance with these time frames or evaluate how the district has performed over time. In cases where teachers have been reassigned for particularly long periods, LAUSD has taken months or even years to identify appropriate placements for some teachers after the district or administrative and legal hearings have determined the teachers should return to work.
Additionally, LAUSD can do more to ensure that its decisions to reassign teachers are necessary and that local administrators approach those decisions consistently. Although most of the reassignment cases we reviewed indicated a clear safety threat, we noted two instances in which local administrators reassigned teachers without demonstrating a clear safety threat. Improved training and guidance, and development of a comprehensive evaluation tool for local administrators to use when making reassignment decisions, will help ensure reassignments are necessary and consistent.
ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA