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Liability Limit for Willful Pupil Misconduct

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

December 20, 2013

Dear County and District Superintendents and Chief Business Officials, and Charter School Administrators:

ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT TO LIABILITY LIMIT OF PARENT OR GUARDIAN
FOR WILLFUL PUPIL MISCONDUCT

California Education Code (EC) Section 48904(a)(1) [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&sectionNum=48904] External link opens in new window or tab. provides that the parent or guardian of a minor is liable for all damages caused by the willful misconduct of the minor that results in the injury or death of any pupil, school district or private school employee, or school volunteer. The parent or guardian is also liable for damages to real or personal property belonging to the school district or private school, or personal property belonging to a school employee, resulting from the willful misconduct of the minor. The liability of the parent or guardian shall not exceed $10,000, adjusted for inflation per EC Section 48904(a)(2).

EC Section 48904(a)(1) also specifies that the parent or guardian of a minor is liable for any reward offered by a local agency pursuant to Government Code Section 53069.5 [http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=GOV&sectionNum=53069.5] External link opens in new window or tab. for information leading to the identification and apprehension of the minor who willfully damages or destroys property, or whose willful misconduct results in injury or death to any person. This liability also shall not exceed $10,000, adjusted for inflation per EC Section 48904(a)(2).

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is required to annually adjust both of the above $10,000 liability limits specified in EC Section 48904(a)(1) to reflect the percentage change in the Implicit Price Deflator for State and Local Government Purchases of Goods and Services for the United States, as published by the United States Department of Commerce for the 12-month period ending in the prior fiscal year. Effective January 1, 2013, the inflation adjustment is rounded to the nearest one hundred dollars ($100).

Pursuant to the above calculation, and effective January 1, 2014, the SSPI has determined that the inflation adjusted liability limit will increase from $18,100 to $18,300. Shown below are the inflation adjusted liability limits for the current and two prior years.

Calendar Year Liability Limit Percentage Change in Implicit Price Deflator

2012

$17,593

2.81%

2013

$18,100

2.99%

2014

$18,300

.858%

This letter (with links to the Government Code and EC sections cited) has been posted to the Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/ac/co/.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services by phone at 916-322-1770 or by e-mail at sacsinfo@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Peter Foggiato, Director
School Fiscal Services Division

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