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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Merit System?

Very simply, the merit system is a method of personnel management designed to promote the efficiency and economy of the service and the good of the public by providing for the selection and retention of employees, in-service promotional opportunities and other related matters on the basis of merit and fitness. Visit our Merit System page to learn its basic principals and how it can benefit you and your community.

Who started the Merit System?

The merit (civil service) system is not new. Early in the 1800's, "spoils" patronage was well established as a method of filling government jobs. It took the tragedy of the shooting of President Garfield by a disgruntled office seeker in 1881 to focus enough attention on the practice to spark legislative reform. Two years later, Congress passed the Civil Service Act of 1883 (the Pendleton Act), which set up the first civil service system for federal employees to guard against patronage appointments.

In the following years, state and local civil service systems flourished, but it was not until 1936 that the first merit system law for school districts was established. California was the leader when, as a result of a disgraceful patronage system in one of our largest school districts, more than 700 employees were fired on the day after an election to make room for political "spoilsmen"

Who administers the Merit System?

The Personnel Commission is the mainstay of the merit system. It is an independent body composed of three persons appointed for three-year staggered terms. Commissioners are laypersons who must be known adherents of the merit principle. The Personnel Commission is responsible for maintaining a merit system for classified employees of the school system and fostering the advancement of a career service for such employees. To execute the responsibilities, the State Education Code provides that Personnel Commissioners shall classify positions, hear appeals and prescribe rules related to a variety of personnel practices. Authority for Personnel Commission functions is provided by Sections 45220 to 45320 and 88060 to 88139, inclusive, of the State Education Code.

With the advent of collective bargaining in the public education field, functions performed by Personnel Commissions take on added significance. The necessity for objective information and classification decisions unaltered by labor or management pressures, protection of the right of non-represented employees and an independent body which can hear employee appeals in an impartial manner are all vital to the efficient and economic operations of a school district and to the benefit of the general public.

Get to know your Personnel Commissioners.

How can I speak to a Personnel Commissioner?

Our Personnel Commission has regular and special meetings. Routinely the Commission meets the first and third Monday of each month, at the District Office, 123 South Montebello Boulevard, Montebello. Commission meetings normally start at 4:30 p.m. in the Board Room. Everyone is invited to join the Commissioners at the meetings for general information. If you have an item that you would like to discuss with the Personnel Commission, this would be the appropriate time. The Personnel Commission would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to everyone to join them at a future meeting.

Can I choose the school site I want to work at?

For most positions, that is not how it works. Once an Eligibility List is established, it will be used to fill vacancies throughout the District.

What jobs are available?

Two ways to search for available positions:

  • View current openings and directly apply for a particular position, or
  • Visit our office.

Can you notify me when a position becomes available?


  • Fill out an interest card online at our Careers page. Click on "all positions with salaries" then click on the job title. Finally, click on the "Email me when this position opens" to complete an interest card for your particular position of interest

What is the application process?

When a position is opened for recruitment, there are several steps:

  • First we receive and evaluate application materials and any support documentation required.
  • Those that are successful will be invited to the next step in the process, either a written exam, a performance exam or an appraisal interview.
    • A candidate must be successful at each step in the process until their name is placed on an Eligibility List at the conclusion.
  • The Eligibility List could be used to fill vacancies throughout the District for up to a year.

How do I submit a job application?

One way to submit an application:

  • Applying online (highly encouraged!). Apply online now.