27 minutes | Aug 16, 2020

The Perils of Potential COVID-19 Litigation for California Schools

As California school districts work to safely reopen schools during COVID-19, the alarming specter of costly litigation looms, even as districts follow all state and local health and safety guidelines. In this episode, Santa Clara USD Chief Business Official Eric Dill helps us wade through the murky liability waters brought on by the pandemic. We explore some basics about school district insurance and risk management, and the implications for students, educators and taxpayers of potential COVID-19 litigation. Plus, we'll hear how Assembly Bill 1384, introduced by Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick O'Donnell, could provide much-needed, temporary legal protection for school districts during this most perilous time. It's a matter of urgency, Eric explains, for legislators to act on AB 1384 before the legislative session ends. "In public education, insurance dollars are public dollars. That same LCFF funding that goes to school districts to hire teachers, buy mobile devices, buy textbooks -- it's the same funding that we have to carve out for insurance," Eric says. "When our losses go up, our premiums go up, and that means fewer dollars are left for our core mission of preparing students for college, careers and the community. This is why everyone needs to be concerned when we are exposed to liability for doing what is a constitutional requirement."MORE INFO and VALUABLE RESOURCESReopening California's Schools: A SISC and Kern CSS Discussion on Liability Issues to Consider, CASBO Summer Series WebinarCoalition Letter from 230-plus organizations in Support of AB 1384Letter signed by 40+ legislators urging a hearing for AB 1384COVID-19 lawsuits: a school district worry, EdSource podcast episodeCalifornia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Schools and School-Based Programs, June 5, 2020ABOUT OUR GUESTEric Dill is the Chief Business Official in Santa Clara USD; he'll begin a new role as CBO at Santa Clara COE next month. Previously Eric served for more than 16 years in San Dieguito Union HSD in several positions, including superintendent, associate superintendent of business services, director of risk management and as a loss control analyst. He began his career in private sector risk management. He is a proud graduate of San Diego State University. He also serves on the CASBO Board of Directors. Learn more about Eric in the CASBO Career Chronicle.ABOUT CASBOThe California Association of School Business Officialsis the premier resource for professional development and business best practices for California's school business leaders. Follow at @CASBO. About your series guide Paul Richman is a public education advocate and consultant. Share your feedback at edfundingca@gmail.com. Follow at @pjr100
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