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Let’s Talk - Lozano Smith Podcast


Discussing changes in the law and legal decisions that affect public agencies.

Discussing changes in the law and legal decisions that affect public agencies.


United States




Discussing changes in the law and legal decisions that affect public agencies.








Episode 58 Reflections on Kennedy v. Bremerton School District After Half a School Year

The United States Supreme Court’s June 2022 Opinion in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District marked a potential sea change for the considerations school districts must account for in relation to employee private religious expression in the school context, whether as a matter of constitutional free speech rights vs. regulation of employee speech, free exercise of religion, or the Establishment Clause. With the benefit of several months and almost half a school year to consider the impacts and...


Episode 57 State Board of Education Considers First Charter School Petition Appeals Post AB-1505

As discussed in Episode 56, there were three pending charter school petition appeals to the State Board of Education (SBE) following denial by the respective LEAs. These were the first three charter petition appeals subject to the new appeal processes since Assembly Bill 1505 became effective in 2020. In this Lozano Smith Podcast episode, host Sloan Simmons engages with Megan Macy and Courtney de Groof to follow up and discuss the outcomes of these petition appeals and what to anticipate...


Episode 56 Hot Topics Regarding Charter Schools Coming Out of the Pandemic

Effective 2019, significant legal changes were enacted regarding charter schools in California. The anticipated effects and implementation of those changes, however, were stunted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In this Lozano Smith Podcast episode, host Sloan Simmons engages with Lozano Smith Charter Practice Group Co-Leaders, Ed Sklar and Erin Hamor, to discuss the current state of affairs for charter schools and their authorizers, hot topics and trends in the charter school field, and what to...


Episode 55 Special Education – Private Schools and Alternatives to Public School Placements

In the wake of COVID-19, many families have experienced or explored new ways for their children to receive education. Lozano Smith attorneys Lauri Arrowsmith and Kaitlyn Tucker will examine the recent trend of more parents seeking alternative placements for their children with disabilities and how educational agencies should handle such requests, including those seeking placement at a private or home school. This episode will also address recent case law in the past year which provides...


Episode 54 Best Practices in Managing Disruptions at School Board Meetings

Managing school board meetings in the face of disruption created by parents, employees, and members of the public can be challenging. This podcast will explore best practices to regulate this disruption and create rules and de-escalation techniques to ensure an orderly meeting. To explore this timely topic, co-host Joshua Whiteside introduces a discussion on point between local governance experts and Lozano Smith partners, Roman Muñoz from the Sacramento office and Chelsea Olson Murphy from...


Episode 53 Elections and the California Voting Rights Act – How and Why it Works, and “Post-Transition” Best Practices

Hosts Sloan Simmons joins veteran municipal practitioner James Sanchez and Governance Practice Group Co-Chair Ryan Tung to discuss the election process and the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), including the legal requirements and practical impacts of the CVRA, as well as best practices for California public entities following the transition from at-large to trustee area elections. Show Notes & References 1:57 – California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), Elections Code sections 14025-14032 2:10...


Episode 51 (Part 2) Student Vaccines and Student Masks – Late February 2022 Developments

Hosts Joshua Whiteside and Sloan Simmons are back to discuss the latest litigation development related to a school district’s student COVID-19 vaccination mandate and the rapidly changing guidance and directives related to student and staff mask requirements, including CDPH’s recent announcement that face masks are no longer legally required indoors at K-12 schools after March 11, 2022. Show Notes & References 0:26 – Episode 51 Student Vaccines and Student Masks - Latest Developments 1:14 –...


Episode 52 Personnel Actions and the March 15th Deadline – Are You Ready?

Host Sloan Simmons joins partners and Lozano Smith Labor and Employment Co-Practice Group Leaders Michelle Cannon and Gabriela Flowers to discuss several important school district labor and employment deadlines that fall on March 15. This brief but information packed episode includes discussion on various types of release from employment as well as layoffs. Additionally, this year, for the first time ever, classified layoffs are subject to the same deadline. Show Notes & References 1:13 –...


Episode 51 (Part 1) Student Vaccines and Student Masks – Latest Developments

Host Joshua Whiteside joins Lozano Smith partner Sloan Simmons to discuss the present status of student COVID-19 vaccination and student masks requirements, including the status of State directives on point and the results of litigation in these areas. Show Notes & References 0:48 – California Department of Public Health (CDPH) February 15, 2022 announcement and upcoming CDPH February 28, 2022 announcement 3:26 – Student vaccine mandate status 5:35 – SB 871 and personal exemptions 7:45 –...


Episode 50 Modular Buildings: A Primer for School Districts

Host Sloan Simmons joins Lozano Smith partner Arne Sandberg to discuss modular buildings for California school districts, including the basics about modular buildings, procurement alternatives, and new legal developments impacting this area of school construction. Show Notes & References 1:24 – Modular buildings 2:05 – Modular component buildings vs. modular portables 4:55 – Issue of permanent vs. temporary 6:10 – Modular component building examples 7:15 – Popularity and cost-efficiency 8:16...


Episode 49 Preparing for the New Year: New Student Laws In Effect Now and in 2022 and Beyond

Host Joshua Whiteside joins Lozano Smith attorney Ruth Mendyk to discuss updates and new obligations facing educational agencies now and during the second half of the 2021-22 school year. This discussion includes a review of important legislation from the Fall 2021 legislative session. Show Notes & References 2:30 – Education Code 48205 - Excused absences 2:50 – Senate Bill (SB) 14 (urgency) - Excused absences for mental or behavioral health 6:46 – Assembly Bill (AB) 516 - Excused absences...


Episode 48 COVID-19 School Closures: Compensatory Education in the Special Education Context

Following COVID-19 school closures during the 2019-2020 school year, many school districts are faced with making determinations regarding potential compensatory education for their special education student populations. Host Sloan Simmons discusses the concept of compensatory education and school closures with Lozano Smith special education experts Marcy Gutierrez and Collen Villarreal, including important factors for districts to consider on this subject and the latest OAH rulings on point....


Episode 47 The Supreme Court Speaks: Guidelines for Regulation of Student Off-Campus Speech

For the first time since 2007, the United States Supreme Court has weighed-in on student free speech rights under the First Amendment. In Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the high court addressed for the first time the parameters and limits for schools’ regulation of student off-campus speech. In this episode, Lozano Smith student speech experts Mike Smith and Sloan Simmons break down the Supreme Court’s decision and its implications for California school districts. Show Notes &...


Episode 46 California’s “Reopening” and the Future of Public Meetings Under the Brown Act

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and California’s “reopening,” host Sloan Simmons has a timely discussion with Lozano Smith Governance Co-Practice Group Leader, Anne Collins and Lozano Smith Technology and Innovation Practice Group Leader Travis Cochran regarding the state of the law and future of public meetings under the Brown Act in light of pending legislation that would continue flexibility for remote participation by local officials and the public. Show Notes & References 3:19...


Episode 45 Charter School Reforms in the COVID-19 Era

Host Sloan Simmons facilitates a timely and interesting discussion with Lozano Smith Charter School Practice Group Leaders, Ed Sklar and Erin Hamor, regarding the status of charter school reform legislation and the impacts of COVID-19 on the same. Show Notes & References 2:10 – Review of charter reform legislation over the last two years 2:31 – Assembly Bill (AB) 1505 3:26 – State dashboard 7:20 – AB 1316 and pending Education Budget Trailer Bill 7:36 – People v. McManus; San Diego Super....


Episode 44 EIFD and Tax Increment – A Public Finance Practitioner Discussion of the Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District Financing Tool

Lozano Smith attorneys Constantine Baranoff and Daniel Maruccia join host Sloan Simmons in an informative and detailed discussion of how Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts have evolved in California with attorneys who focus on public finance and who have formed EIFDs throughout the state. They also discuss available financing structures and explore projects (including freeway overlay and flood control) which EIFDs may be used to finance. Show Notes & References 5:01 – 2012...


Episode 43 Catching Up, and Looking Forward: Student Issues After a Year of COVID-19 and Heading Back to School in 2021-2022

Host Sloan Simmons joins Lozano Smith attorneys Ruth Mendyk and Joshua Whiteside to discuss updates to district policies and practices during the 2020-21 school year, pending legislation on student retention and grading issues for 2021-22 and proposed curriculum and kindergarten / preschool related issues for future years. Show Notes & References 2:30 – Assembly Bill (AB) 1127 - Expanded transfer rights to victims of bullying (Client News Brief 74) 4:34 – Education Code 48900(r) - Student...


Episode 42: Return to School in the COVID-19 Era – Student Athletics Issues (Part 3)

Host Sloan Simmons talks with Lozano Smith attorneys Ruth Mendyk and Chelsea Olson Murphy about the latest developments on COVID-19 and student athletics, with a focus on the most recent guidance from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), as well as other state public health directives and guidance heading into the 2020-2021 school year. Updates UPDATE 12/1/2020 – CIF puts hold on start date for full practice and competition for Education Based Athletics:...


Episode 41: Return to School in the COVID-19 Era – Special Education Issues (Part 2)

Host Sloan Simmons talks with Lozano Smith Special Education attorneys Alyssa Bivins and Marcy Gutierrez about the latest developments on COVID-19 and special education, with a focus on Senate Bill 98 and the most recent state and federal directives and guidance heading into the 2020-2021 school year. Show Notes & References 1:40 – California Department of Public Health Guidance (July 17, 2020) 2:13 – Senate Bill (SB) 98 2:25 – Emergency Plans and IEPs 10:00 – Impact of extended school...


Episode 40: Return to School in the COVID-19 Era – Student Issues (Part 1)

Host Sloan Simmons talks with Lozano Smith attorneys Desiree Serrano and Aimee Perry about the latest developments on COVID-19 and students, with a focus on Senate Bill 98 and the most recent state agency directives and guidance heading into the 2020-2021 school year. Show Notes & References 2:18 – Requirements for in-person instruction 2:40 – Senate Bill (SB) 98 5:12 – Daily live interaction 7:16 – Distance learning 8:54 – California Department of Education’s Distance Learning FAQs 11:13 –...