Effective April 1, 2014, transcripts in civil, probate, and mental health proceedings where there was a court reporter can be ordered online. The online request is available from the Court’s public website, www.occourts.org, accessed from the pull-down menu under: QUICK LINKS, How Do I … Request a Transcript?
Santa Ana, CA – Orange County is making it easier for the public to order their transcripts. Effective April 1, 2014, transcripts in civil, probate, and mental health proceedings where there was a court reporter can be ordered online. The online request is available from the Court’s public website, http://www.occourts.org, accessed from the pull-down menu under: QUICK LINKS, How Do I … Request a Transcript?
The Court has created this automated Online Transcript Request Program in an effort to expedite the transcript request process. As many of you have probably experienced, it can take weeks, if not longer, for the court reporter to get back to you regarding your transcript request. That’s because of all the steps you have to go through to get that request into the court reporter’s hands.
Your request will now be sent directly to the court reporter that was present at the proceeding. The reporter will provide you with a cost estimate and make arrangements for payment. The new process is easy to use and requires only that you provide the case number.
The closely watched suit challenging five California statutes governing teacher protections came to a conclusion yesterday, as lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendents in Vergara v. California made their closing arguments. (Both LA School Report and The Los Angeles Times have good summaries for you.)
According to Education Week, March 28, 2014 – The closely watched suit challenging five California statutes governing teacher protections came to a conclusion yesterday, as lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendents in Vergara v. California made their closing arguments. (Both LA School Report and The Los Angeles Times have good summaries for you.)
The lawsuit, bankrolled by a Silicon Valley entreprenuer and argued by some of the same lawyers who argued the Proposition 8 gay-marriage case before the U.S. Supreme Court, seeks to overturn rules governing teacher dismissal, tenuring, and layoffs in the Golden State.
The course of the two-month trial, heard by Judge Rolf N. Treu without a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court, hinges on very different readings of the laws in question: Is 18 months too short of a time to decide whether to grant teachers tenure, or is it sufficient and indeed in the best interest of students? Are seniority rules blind to real differences in teacher quality, or is it the only fair and objective way to govern layoffs? Are low dismissal rates of poorly performing teachers the result of the state’s “byzantine” procedures, or the failure of administrators to adhere to them?
At the heart of many of those questions is the still-thorny issue of how to identify the best teachers. That’s been a national theme, with some 35 states crafting new evaluation systems to help identify and remediate their teachers.
Underscoring the lack of consensus on the topic, though, attorneys for the plaintiffs called several youths who painted unflattering portraits of their teachers, as well as researchers who testified to earnings and educational benefits of those students taught by teachers with high “value added” scores.
Lawyers representing the state of California and the two state teachers’ unions noted the district awards some of those teachers had received—and said that “value added” methods were flawed and unreliable. Both sides also called a number of well known education researchers, exposing rifts among academics on those same topics.
The parties will have until April 10 to submit final briefs in the case. Judge Treu then will have 90 days to issue a ruling. Whatever it is, the opposing side is almost certain to appeal.
In a temporary settlement of a dispute that led employees to picket in front of the county courthouse last year, about 100 court reporters will get $2,300 each to help cover a huge jump in their health care costs.
But the payments aren’t a permanent fix, and talks will restart in September between the reporters’ union and court officials. Court reporters transcribe every hearing and trial.
The dispute started in 2012, when the court cut the reporters from 40 hours a week to 35 and deemed them part-time employees. That meant a 12.5 percent pay cut and a spike in health care premiums that took effect last year. One veteran reporter, Debi Pinkham, said her monthly payments went from $400 to $1,200.
The increase was so dramatic because the court pays 75 percent of health care premiums for full-time employees, but only half as much – 37.5 percent – for part-time workers.
In December, the court and the union representing reporters agreed to split a one-time health-insurance subsidy for reporters of $2,316 a person.
That will cost the court and the union, the Orange County Employees Association, about $115,000 apiece.
Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager for the union, said union officials and reporters hope the state restores some court funding between now and September when contract talks restart.
Orange County Superior Court officials declined to comment beyond the signed agreement, spokeswoman Gwen Vieau said.
State funding for Orange County courts in the most recent year was $13 million less than it had been two years prior. The court used $19 million in reserve funds to cover a revenue shortage in its 2013-14 budget.
But next year’s revenue is expected to fall $40 million short of planned expenses, and court officials have said state rules will prevent them from using reserve money to cover that gap.
During their lunch breaks in November, court reporters stood outside the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana holding banners and signs with messages including “Restore my full-time benefits” and “Superior Court of Wal-Mart.”
As they stood with protest signs, reporters said they understood the need for shared sacrifice at a time of budget cuts. They wouldn’t have complained if everyone took furlough days or had to share a similar increase in health care costs. But they said they were singled out, perhaps because of a perception they made too much money.
An experienced reporter could earn $78,000 to $93,000 a year before the cuts, one said. Reporters said they’ve earned those salaries through state qualifications and years of experience.
At the time, Muir compared the court’s move to corporations making workers part time to get out of paying benefits.
She contrasted the treatment of the reporters with that of the judges who are ultimately their bosses. Judges, who make more than $178,000, pay nothing toward their own health care.
Meanwhile, reporters said the changes forced them to cancel vacations or take out loans to send kids to college. One reporter said her take-home pay went down $21,000 a year.
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