Governor Brown Signs Lara Bill Updating School Residency Rules Inspired by Incident at Orinda USD

August 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO, CA — Governor Jerry Brown announced today the signing of Senate Bill 200, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), to allow children to attend school where their live-in working parents reside. SB 200 would update California’s school residency laws to 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.

“Senate Bill 200 is a victory for hard working Californians who are required to live part-or full-time with their employers to fulfill their duties,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Now, some parents won’t be put in the unfair position of having to choose between spending quality time with their kids during the work week or spending that time away at work. This new law will keep countless families together and give the kids of live-in workers a shot at the American Dream.”

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. 

Miriam Storch, the employer of Vivian’s mother Maria who helped bring attention to this issue celebrated the Governor’s signature: “We are so pleased by the work of Senator Lara and his team on this bill. Giving domestic workers the option of keeping their children with them during the work week, if their employment situation allows for it, is in the best interest of children and families. This bill literally paves the way for children of domestic workers to live better lives than their parents, a wish I know all parents, of all socioeconomic classes, share.” 

Senator Lara added: “I commend Maria, Vivian and Miriam for taking a decisive stand against what occurred in Orinda and being outspoken in support of SB200 over the past year.”

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.