CCSA Launches Charter School Facilities Initiative

September 19, 2012

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Charter school laws across the country, including California, place the burden of obtaining and paying for facilities on the charter schools themselves. As a result, charter schools often struggle to find adequate and affordable facilities, and charter leaders routinely identify facilities as one of their top challenges of running a school.

Recently, the states of Colorado, Georgia, Indiana and Texas have commissioned a comprehensive charter school facility study. The results of the project have provided hard evidence, as well as disturbing findings about charter school access to adequate facilities, many of which share a similar theme, such as:

  • Charter schools are the only public schools forced to spend operating revenue on facilities.
  • Many charter schools have limited capacity to serve federally-subsidized meals for students from lower-income families.
  • Charter school facilities are too small in comparison to relevant standards.
  • State grant funding for public school facilities has provided insufficient benefit for charters.
  • Local and state capital funding programs are not a significant source of funding for charter school facilities.
  • Not all districts are willing to share unused land or facilities with charter schools.
  • Physical education and recreational options are limited for charter school students.

As evidenced above, charter schools across the nation struggle with inadequate and costly facilities. Based in part on policy gains in other states following the publication of survey results, California has decided to follow suit, and is participating in a national charter school facilities initiative. The survey will begin on October 1, 2012 and conclude on October 31, 2012, and we will be having several options to collect the data, including online surveys, on-site visits, calls to schools and more.

The collective results of the survey will be used to help effect change around charter school facility access and funding at both a state and national level. In California, we expect to use data from this survey to further hone our advocacy strategies, provide data to support our advocacy efforts, and improve the outcomes of our efforts to reform SB 740, Proposition 39, and California State Charter School Facilities Program (Prop 47, 55, 1-D).

Hard data is much more effective than anecdotal data when it comes to convincing lawmakers to provide charter schools with equitable access to facilities. As such, it is imperative that all charter schools in California participate in this important survey so that we can enter the next Legislative session armed with powerful evidence to show that charter public school students do not have access to the facilities they deserve in order to receive the best education possible.

Learn more about this important endeavor. For additional information, contact Dion Jackson, Project Manager for the Charter School Facilities Initiative Survey by email or at (213) 244-1446 x242.

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