In United Educators of San Francisco v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (San Francisco Unified School District), the Court addressed which teachers may be able to get unemployment, including during summery months. The Court first noted that under section 1253.3 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, public school employees are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits during “the period between two successive academic years or terms” if the employees worked during “the first of the academic years or terms” and received “reasonable assurance” of work during “the second of the academic years or terms.” The question was whether that limitation applied to substitute teachers and other public-school employees during the summer months. After extensive analysis, the Court concluded that section 1253.3 does not bar such employees from collecting unemployment benefits if the summer session constitutes an “academic term.” It then noted a summer session is an “academic term” within the meaning of the statute if the session, on the whole, resembles the institution’s other academic terms based on objective criteria such as enrollment, staffing, budget, and the instructional program offered. The Court made clear that some summer sessions would qualify, and some would not. For example, it stated some summer sessions — such as those offered as optional or remedial programs to a subset of students on a part-time basis and requiring the participation of fewer staff than a regular semester or quarter — do not qualify as “academic terms.” But other summer sessions — such as those in year-round schools or those that, as a whole, resemble other academic terms of the school year in terms of enrollment, staffing, budget, instructional program, or other objective criteria — would qualify as “academic terms” during which unemployment benefits are payable. Thus, each situation will require factual analysis.
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