Report 2016-103 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2016-103: Los Angeles Unified School District: It Can Do More to Reduce the Impacts of Removing Teachers From Classrooms Because of Alleged Misconduct (Release Date: October 2016)

Recommendation #1 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To ensure that LAUSD is adequately monitoring compliance with key time frames of its reassignment policy, by April 2017 it should begin using its new database to report on how long reassignments have taken to move through the various steps in its policy or begin reporting on all key time frames by another means. LAUSD should also establish procedures to periodically monitor each key decision point throughout the reassignment process to ensure that responsible parties meet the time frames it has set for resolving teacher reassignments.

6-Month Agency Response

CRM/CASE went "live" on March 27, 2017. The system tracks all reassigned employees. As of March 24, 2017 the former system IRSD has read-only access for all users. Employees are being trained to use the new system and information continues to be entered at this time.

  • Completion Date: April 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented

LAUSD's CASE database is capable of reporting on how long reassignments have taken to move through the various steps in LAUSD's reassignment policy. LAUSD informed us that CASE also automatically generates alerts for current teacher reassignments that are approaching one of the steps' deadlines, and these alerts are sent to both LAUSD's administrative oversight staff as well as the district personnel directly responsible for the reassignment in its current stage. LAUSD provided examples of these alerts. This functionality of the CASE database therefore assists and guides LAUSD personnel in monitoring each key decision point for active reassignment cases to help ensure that responsible parties meet the time frames associated with those steps and for resolving teacher reassignments.


60-Day Agency Response

Currently, the LAUSD has in place an electronic system that tracks reassigned employees and their cases. A regular report is shared with senior staff on a need to know basis. The system allows the LAUSD to track the status of all cases, including at what stage in the decision making process the case resides. The LAUSD is also piloting an even more comprehensive system entitled Consolidated Accountability System for Employees (CASE), which will assist the LAUSD in its diligence. We currently are working on the reporting function in CASE so that it accurately reports how long each matter is with each department, so that unnecessarily delays (if any) may be identified and addressed.

As part of LAUSD's next revision to its bulletin governing reassignment procedures, which we anticipate distributing at the start of the new year, the LAUSD agrees that it would be beneficial to highlight the capabilities of these systems in periodic tracking and implement best practices to ensure compliance with our goals regarding ideal time frames. Outreach to and training for local districts will assist the District in ensuring expedient processing of reassigned employees.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

We have assessed the status of this recommendation as pending until LAUSD completes the steps it notes in its response and provides us with documentation to demonstrate the system's capacity to periodically monitor and report on the length of active and past reassignments.


Recommendation #2 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To avoid significant delays in returning reassigned teachers to work, by April 2017 LAUSD should develop written procedures to guide staff in identifying appropriate placement options. These procedures should include time frames by which relevant LAUSD personnel including, but not limited to, Employee Relations and the General Counsel, are to meet with one another to ensure an appropriate and timely placement. In cases in which the teacher has been reassigned for a long time, such as in cases returning from the Hearings office, the procedure should also establish time frames by which LAUSD meets with the teacher to discuss the teacher's placement preferences.

1-Year Agency Response

The audit task force distributes a report internally at least monthly to all those with need to know. The task force follows up with those responsible for making placements and confirms the placements are timely made. The task force has monthly meetings with Operational professionals to review placements. In preparation for this final report, the task force reviewed placements that have occurred since the new procedures were implemented via the July 17, 2017 bulletin and confirmed the timelines were met. The task force will continue these procedures to confirm timely placements are made.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

In our evaluation of LAUSD's six-month response regarding the status of this recommendation, we noted that in place of formal procedures for timely meetings to discuss the status of teachers the district had already decided to return to the classroom, LAUSD had proposed to set timelines for placing those teachers and conduct regular reviews of whether administrators were meeting those timelines.

As part of its revised policy issued in July 2017, LAUSD has established a general guideline of five working days between the determination to return a teacher to the classroom and the date on which the teacher actually returns to work. LAUSD provided a written form that is to be completed at the meeting during which that determination is made, and the form requires an estimated return site and date. LAUSD has demonstrated that, going forward, it has the capacity to centrally monitor those return dates and follow up with local administrators to ensure those deadlines are met.


6-Month Agency Response

LAUSD has revised its relevant bulletin BUL-6532.1 entitled "Protocols and Procedures to Report, Reassign and Investigate Allegations of Employee Misconduct," in accordance with the audit findings. The bulletin will be formally issued on July 1, 2017, consistent with LAUSD's practice of issuing revised bulletins for the upcoming fiscal/school year.

A comprehensive three-hour training has been provided to administrators district-wide who supervise employees who have direct contact with students. These groups have included:

- Local District Administrators of Operations (AOOs)

- Operations Coordinators

- Directors

- Staff Relations personnel

- Principals

- Assistant Principals

The training was designed to address the contents of the revised bulletin. and covers major topics including:

- Responding to allegations;

- Procedural aspects of the employee reassignment process; and

- Key activities for conducting preliminary inquiries of allegations by the Local District and school site.

Paricipants have had opportunities to apply the information through a primary scenario covered throughout the training session coupled with activity-based discussions.

The Audit Response Task Force is also designing on-line training to all administrators to continue updating or refreshing their knowledge and recertify annually that they have completed the training.

Finally, LAUSD has refined its "case review" process internally. The employee case review meetings include the AAO or Division Head who presents the case, as well as representatives from Employee Relations, the Office of the General Counsel, Student Safety Investigation Team, and Audit Response Task Force. Documentation maintained regarding case review meetings include the roster of attendees (sign-in sheet) and the rationale for the decision to return the employee to work or proceed with dismissal.

  • Estimated Completion Date: July 1, 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The description of the changes that LAUSD discusses do not address our recommendation which was intended to address significant delays in returning reassigned teachers to work after the decision has been made that the teacher is to be returned. During our audit, LAUSD explained that it needed to hold additional meetings with administrators and in some cases with the teachers before actually returning teachers to work. As a result, we recommended that LAUSD establish time frames for those meetings.

When we followed up with LAUSD about its response, it stated that it no longer sees a need to hold a separate placement meeting after the decision to return the teacher has been made. Instead, LAUSD has proposed to conduct a monthly internal audit of all teachers slated for return to work to identify the timing and location of their subsequent placements. The internal audit would alert responsible LAUSD staff about teachers still in need of placement to help ensure those cases are given priority. LAUSD has not yet developed a formal protocol for this process or provided documentation demonstrating that its internal audit process is occurring.


60-Day Agency Response

Currently, the LAUSD convenes a regular meeting to discuss employee reassignment in cases where reassignment is appropriate. The attendees are those best positioned to ensure the safety of students, as well as the rights of employees, when making the reassignment. The LAUSD's upcoming revised bulletin will emphasize the need for parties to continue to convene in a timely fashion, monitor the length of reassignment cases, and make the most sensible and timely reassignments as appropriate. Sign in sheets and agendas will be retained from each meeting in which an employee reassignment back to the worksite is discussed in order to prove regularity, attendance and matters discussed.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

We have assessed the status of this recommendation as pending until LAUSD completes its planned revisions to its policy bulletin and provides us with that documentation.


Recommendation #3 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To improve the consistency of its formal reassignments, by April 2017 LAUSD should develop a comprehensive risk evaluation tool to guide its local administrators in determining whether allegations against a teacher represent a clear risk to students or district personnel. LAUSD's evaluation tool should consider factors such as a teacher's prior behavior, the vulnerability of affected students, and the complexity of the allegations.

1-Year Agency Response

The revised bulletin with all of the audit recommendations was issued on July 17, 2017. A final copy will be forwarded to the CSA.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

LAUSD's updated reassignment policy bulletin, which was issued in July 2017, includes the risk assessment evaluation tool as a standard attachment for local administrator use.


6-Month Agency Response

The task force developed a checklist entitled Risk Assessment Reflection Tool: Allegations of Employee Misconduct. This form was created with input from Area Operations professionals to be included in the revised bulletin BUL-6532.1, entitled "Protocols and Procedures to Report, Reassign and Investigate Allegations of Employee Misconduct." The revised bulletin has been the basis of recent and ongoing trainings and is scheduled to be formally issued on July 1, 2017.

  • Completion Date: March 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

LAUSD has developed a checklist-style tool that will help ensure decision makers are thoroughly and consistently considering the same key factors when making the decision whether to formally reassign a teacher. The tool is scheduled to become effective as part of LAUSD's policy update on July 1, 2017.


60-Day Agency Response

The LAUSD believes that trained administrators are in the best position to evaluate risk at their school sites. Our professional administrators know their school environment, know their students and families, and know their staff. While the LAUSD should continue to rely on the best judgment of its trained educators, it will include guidance in the form of a checklist in the upcoming revised bulletin. This checklist is being designed by a task force within Employee Relations with administrative and school site experience, in conjunction with local district Administrator of Operations professionals. We believe the checklist will assist administrators in considering all factors in order to arrive at the most sensible decision regarding removing an employee from the school site

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

We have assessed the status of this recommendation as pending until LAUSD completes the steps that it indicates it plans to complete and provides us with the documentation for our review.


Recommendation #4 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To minimize the number of reassignment investigations unnecessarily referred to its Investigation Team, by April 2017 LAUSD should revise its policy to allow local administrators, in certain circumstances and with sufficient justification, to request small, specific additional amounts of time to complete their initial investigations and possibly avoid formal reassignments. When it grants additional time to a local administrator, LAUSD should continue to closely monitor the local administrator's activities until its preliminary investigation is complete.

1-Year Agency Response

The revised bulletin with all of the audit recommendations was issued on July 17, 2017. A final copy will be forwarded to the CSA. The policy remains LAUSD official policy.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

LAUSD's updated reassignment policy bulletin, which was issued in July 2017, allows local administrators to request up to two additional days to complete the initial investigation into teacher misconduct in cases where extenuating circumstances arise.


6-Month Agency Response

The recently revised bulletin and training for administrators reflects the flexibility of local decision makers to take and additional 2 days beyond the previous 5-day requirement to conduct and complete preliminary inquiries. The training has been underway for some time and the formal issuance of the revised bulletin will take place on or before July 1, 2017.

  • Completion Date: January 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

LAUSD has amended its policy to allow local administrators to request up to two additional days to complete the initial investigation into teacher misconduct in cases where extenuating circumstances arise. In all other cases, the initial investigation period remains limited to five days. LAUSD plans for this revised policy to become effective July 1, 2017


60-Day Agency Response

The LAUSD agrees that this recommendation makes sense. It is important to allow sufficient time at the outset so that the correct decision is made regarding formal reassignment. The LAUSD is aware that formal reassignment presents expense and may greatly impact employee morale, even if the employee remains in paid status through formal investigation. Allowing more time for administrators to make the best initial decision will certainly minimize the likelihood that employees are unnecessarily removed from the classroom. The LAUSD has met with administrators and concluded that, on a case-by-case basis, more than 5 days will be allowed in order to ensure local administrators have ample time to make the correct decision as to whether to reassign an employee. The upcoming revised bulletin and training materials will be amended accordingly.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #5 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To ensure that local administrators are providing appropriate and consistent information to reassigned teachers regarding the reasons for their reassignments, by April 2017 LAUSD should develop procedures to periodically review the documents it began collecting under its May 2016 policy revision and determine whether those documents are consistent with its policy and with the facts of the individual reassignments.

1-Year Agency Response

The audit task force receives and reviews all Attachment C forms (attached to the July 17, 2017 bulletin). The task force updated the incident types in Attachment D to provide more accurate incident descriptions after an internal audit of cost common inconsistencies. In cases where the task force disagrees with the selection of incident type, the task force returns the form with instructions to revise. This review is ongoing by the task force with each form for reassignment that is submitted.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

LAUSD has developed a written protocol directing human resources staff to review each attachment C form to compare the reason for reassignment provided to the circumstances of the allegation and the list of allowable incident descriptions. LAUSD also provided documentation showing that the district will return an attachment C form to a local administrator if the description is missing or does not comport to the provided list of standard reasons.


6-Month Agency Response

The Audit Response Task Force, which consists of two human resource professionals, was created to ensure continual review of all documents submitted regarding reassigned employees. The task force reviews documents submitted to the Incident Reporting System to ensure accuracy and they review the reason for the reassignment as it relates to student and employee safety as well as the need for full investigation by SSIT.

  • Completion Date: November 2016
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

Although LAUSD's response indicates that the recommended document review is occurring, it has not developed procedures to periodically review the documents it began collecting under its May 2016 policy revision. Developing procedures is necessary to ensure that the reviews are thorough and timely and that the process continues in the future should the currently responsible staff leave LAUSD or move on to other positions. LAUSD has told us that it will proceed with developing these formal procedures.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

The LAUSD has implemented a centralized review of the relevant bulletin attachments by a joint Office of the General Counsel/Human Resources task force. As part of this review, the task force will download all relevant documents supporting the request for reassignment and identify those that are in conflict or inconsistent with the relevant bulletin. If the matter cannot be resolved with the local district, then the matter will be submitted to the Chief Human Resources Officer for final resolution.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #6 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To ensure that it clearly informs reassigned teachers that they may voluntarily pursue professional development during their reassignments, including online training through LAUSD's Learning Zone program, by April 2017 LAUSD should revise the language in its standard reassignment documents.

1-Year Agency Response

The revised bulletin with all of the audit recommendations was issued on July 17, 2017. A final copy will be forwarded to the CSA. The bulletin remains official LAUSD policy.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

LAUSD has amended the form it presents to teachers at the time of formal reassignment to inform teachers that they are allowed to participate in online professional development courses available through the district's Learning Zone program, as well as its Professional Learning Network program. The amended form is included as a standard attachment to the district's revised reassignment policy bulletin, which LAUSD issued in July 2017.


6-Month Agency Response

The relevant bulletin has been revised to remind employees that they can still use their Single Sign-on to enroll in professional development through the District's "Learning Zone" and "My PLN." This is accomplished through a written notice to the reassigned employee. The point is underscored in training sessions as well.

  • Completion Date: March 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

LAUSD has amended the form it presents to teachers at the time of formal reassignment to inform teachers that they are allowed to participate in online professional development courses available through the district's Learning Zone program, as well as its Professional Learning Network program. The form directs reassigned teachers to use their district credentials to sign in to the programs. This form is an attachment to a policy update that LAUSD plans to make effective on July 1, 2017.


60-Day Agency Response

LAUSD has never denied any reassigned employee the right to pursue voluntary professional development. As discussed in the audit, however, requiring mandatory professional development is not feasible. The LAUSD will emphasize this point in the upcoming revised bulletin. The LAUSD will issue a letter to relevant labor partners as well to ensure they are positioned to advise members accordingly.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #7 To: Los Angeles Unified School District

To ensure that substitutes do not exceed assignment time limits that state law and regulations have established, by April 2017 LAUSD should formalize its recent practice of reviewing assignments of substitutes in its Smart Find system weekly. As part of this formalized practice, LAUSD should review open teacher reassignments to ensure that the Smart Find system includes all substitute assignments for those teachers.

1-Year Agency Response

The task force has prohibited non-routine payments to ensure that it can best monitor the appropriate use of substitute teachers. Monthly meetings between the task force and the Assistant Director of the substitute unit, with a review of reports, has served to implement this recommendation and such regular meetings will continue.

  • Completion Date: July 2017
  • Response Date: October 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

Upon follow up with LAUSD, the district provided documentation of correspondence between its substitute teacher unit and administrative staff overseeing teacher reassignments. The purpose of this documentation is to ensure that the teachers identified as reassigned in the substitute unit's records represent all actually reassigned teachers. LAUSD also provided documentation of additional guidance being issued to school administrators directing them to properly account for classrooms of reassigned teachers and reminding them of legal limitations on duration of classroom service for substitutes who are not fully credentialed teachers.


6-Month Agency Response

The Audit Report Task Force receives weekly (every Monday)reports from the substitute unit to review and monitor sub assignments for reassigned employees. The HR Personnel Specialist sends notice to the Principal for any reassigned employees as needed in order to ensure compliance with timelines under state law.

The relevant bulletin has been revised to include an attachment requiring schools to choose the "reassigned" option in SmartFind Express when calling for a substitute to cover the class of a reassigned employee. This corrects the previous system whereby administrators had too many options available as the reason for the substitute, which made tracking difficult.

  • Completion Date: March 2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

LAUSD's response indicates that it is conducting regular reviews of substitute assignments for reassigned teachers in its SmartFind database. However, LAUSD has not developed a formal procedure for this review, which would help ensure the review's timeliness and consistency. Further, LAUSD has not addressed the second part of our recommendation, which identified the need for a procedure to review the assignments in its substitute assignment database to ensure that the database reflects all classrooms with currently reassigned teachers. We made this recommendation because we found instances in which, contrary to LAUSD policy, school site administrators requested substitutes by means other than through the official database. In those instances, the current database would not be able to track the duration of those substitute assignments to ensure they comply with state law.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation
  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

60-Day Agency Response

LAUSD implemented SmartFind in June 2016 to monitor all substitute assignments in order to ensure that they do not exceed time limits. The Human Resources department will continue to monitor assignments to ensure compliance with the law. Assuming the length of time a substitute is in place, merely by reviewing the number of days an employee is housed, however, can skew the assessment since many school sites have other employees from the site cover classes when teachers are temporarily reassigned. For this reason, monitoring SmartFind is the best way to review the length of time substitutes are assigned and a point person in the new task force will ensure that this review occurs.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: January 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2016-103

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.