SACRAMENTO, CA — A bill by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would update California’s school residency laws advanced out of the Senate Education Committee today unanimously with a bipartisan vote of 8-0. The bill, SB200, would ensure that live-in workers, such as nannies, caregivers, maids, and gardeners, whose children live at their place of employment are able to attend school in the district in which they work if they reside there for at least three days of the week.
“Live-in workers may not fit the traditional family model, but that shouldn’t create an undue hardship to keep their families together,” said Senator Lara. “It is critical that they have the option to keep their children with them during the work week and my bill will help them achieve that goal.”
In November 2014, reports came out of a second grade child of a full-time nanny who was kicked out of her school after the district hired a private investigator. The investigator determined that despite the girl, named Vivian, living and residing in the district five days a week, where her mother worked, she was not a resident and they proceeded to kick her out of school.
Despite the district’s ability to grant the child residency due to her mother’s employment, the district initially refused to let the child continue attending school. The district’s decision put the family in a difficult situation, where the child would have to be separated from her mother or the mother would have to quit her job. After community outrage, the district reversed its decision, but required the employer to become a legal guardian of the child.
“It is in a child's best interest to reside with their parent, and attend school where the parent resides, when the parent resides in an employer's home,” said Miriam Storch, the employer of Vivian’s mother Maria. “In Vivian's case, her mother is a single parent so there is nowhere else for Vivian to go. This situation is not unique to Orinda and I applaud the Senator for addressing this critical issue.”
This is not an isolated problem. Across the state caregivers, nannies, and other workers whose jobs require them to stay overnight are faced with challenges over where their children can go to school. Districts across the state handle these issues differently.
For these workers, the nature of their employment effects far more than their commute. They should have the option to keep their family together and keep their children with them during the work week.