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State teachers union backs bill easing firing process

SACRAMENTO — California's largest teachers union is backing a measure that would make it easier to discipline and fire teachers accused of misconduct after successfully fighting a similar proposal last year.

Lawmakers this week will take up AB375 by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, which would speed up the appeals process after a teacher is fired and add homicide charges to the list of offenses that can spur a teacher's removal by a school district.

It would still allow a panel of teachers and a judge to resolve dismissal disputes instead of giving districts the power to make a final decision, a provision in last year's bill that teachers unions opposed.

The measure also has support from Sen. Alex Padilla, a Los Angeles Democrat who spearheaded last year's attempt to revise the process in response to a Los Angeles elementary school teacher who was accused of blindfolding students and feeding them his semen.

Under current law, teachers who are fired can appeal their case to a three-member disciplinary commission of a judge and teachers chosen by both sides, a process that can take years to resolve and can cost school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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