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History of the Merit System & Personnel Commissions

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What is a Merit System?

A system of hiring based on principles of equity and fairness, whereby individuals in the classified service are hired, retained, and promoted based on ability. In utilizing a system of this nature, the good of the public is maximized, as employees will be selected for positions based on fitness and qualifications necessary to hold a position. Thus, the design of this system promotes efficiency and economy in hiring practices. Approximately 100 school districts in California are considered Merit System School Districts, of which Lynwood USD is one.

Fixing it! What initiated the Merit System?

Legislative support for meritorious hiring was initiated in 1880 with the passage of the Civil Service Act of 1882 (Pendleton Act) by Congress. This allowed for civil service systems within city and county hiring practices. Then, during the 1930s, California extended meritorious hiring to school districts as a result of rampant cronyism within the Los Angeles Unified School District, when more than 700 employees were fired to provide jobs for friends of newly elected Board members. In response to this situation, Los Angeles Unified School District lobbied the State to incorporate a merit system into the California Education Code, which was enacted into law on September 15, 1935. The legislation stipulates that a merit system can be incorporated into a school district with a majority vote by the employees.