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Grace v. Beaumont Unified School District

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

June 4, 2013

DEL M. GRACE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
BEAUMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant and Respondent.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County, Super.Ct.No. RIC532079 Gloria Trask, Judge.

Anyiam Law Firm and Christian U. Anyiam for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, Mark W. Thompson, and Brooke E. Jimenez for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

RICHLI Acting P. J.

Plaintiff and appellant Del M. Grace (Grace) was a probationary school nurse with defendant and respondent Beaumont Unified School District (the District). On March 3, 2009, the District decided to terminate her employment for the 2009-2010 school year.

Grace filed a petition for writ of mandate to compel her reinstatement, arguing that the notice of her termination was insufficient. The trial court found that an e mail notice from the District’s head of human resources was sufficient notice and denied the petition. Grace appeals from the ensuing judgment.

I

ISSUE

Education Code section 44929.21, subdivision (b)[1] provides that the governing board of a school district must notify a probationary teacher on or before March 15 of the teacher’s second complete consecutive school year of employment of the decision to reelect or not reelect the teacher for the next succeeding school year. If the notice is not given, the teacher is deemed reelected for the next school year and must be classified as a permanent employee of the district at the commencement of that year.

No method of giving notice is stated in the section.[2] The gap was filled by Hoschler v. Sacramento City Unified School Dist. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 258 (Hoschler). The parties here interpret Hoschler differently. Grace argues that personal notice of the decision not to reelect (rehire) her is required and was not given. The District argues that actual notice is sufficient and that it was given. We therefore begin with Hoschler.

II

DISCUSSION

In Hoschler, the District sent a notice of nonretention to Hoschler by certified mail on March 12, but he did not receive actual notice until weeks later. (Hoschler, supra, 149 Cal.App.4th at p. 262.) The trial court found that the use of certified mail complied with the statute. However, the appellate court disagreed and reversed. (Id. at p. 261.)

Hoschler claimed that he did not receive the letter from the District and did not see it until he received it from his attorney on May 8. (Hoschler, supra, 149 Cal.App.4that p. 262.) The District did not produce a signed return receipt, and the parties agreed ...


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