September 2012 Message to Members from Jed Wallace

September 19, 2012

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JedWallaceSmall.jpg Welcome to the new school year! By now, charter schools throughout California have begun classes, and are well on their way to having a wonderful year. We are too! This past August 21, we had our official kick-off for the 20th anniversary of the charter schools movement at the San Carlos Charter Learning Center (SCCLC), which is the longest-running charter in the state. (read the details below) as well as my Q & A reflecting on the growth and evolution of the movement over the past two decades. In the coming weeks and months, CCSA will be hosting several 20th anniversary events in regions such as San Diego, Oakland and San Jose. We hope you can join us.

I have also had the opportunity to visit several charters this past month. For instance, in Los Angeles, I was pleased to see that after years of struggle, students at Watts Learning Center finally moved into a new and improved campus. In the Bay Area, I visited Clayton Valley Charter High School, which had a successful opening after facing incredible odds last year as they fought for their conversion. And in Sacramento, I went to Fortune School's second site, the new William H. Lee College Preparatory Academy, which began classes at the beginning of the month following an uphill battle to even open its doors. It is truly wonderful to see so many schools growing and thriving. These schools are representative of a spirit that seems to predominate across the movement - people making extraordinary efforts against all odds to open new schools and also become great new community resources.

In addition to these positive stories, however, I have also heard our schools' growing concerns in regards to the State Budget. We at the Association understand the challenges that our charter schools face, and have been working to do all we can to help. We endorsed Proposition 30 back in March, which is Governor Brown's initiative to end the chronic budget cuts that have severely harmed our schools, and would provide increased funding and stability for California's historically volatile budget. We are making every effort to ensure that Prop. 30 passes, because if the measure fails, there will an automatic trigger cut of $5 billion to education, or $460 per student. Charter schools cannot afford this cut, particularly given our existing funding inequities. Read our Prop. 30 Fact Sheet.

Now more than ever, it is essential that we harness our commitment as a movement. That's why we launched the California Involved Voters In Charter Schools (CIVICS) campaign, which encourages people to educated themselves and participate in the next elections. Find out more details, and share with your charter community. Please share this information with your school communities so that teachers, parents and community leaders can learn more about their role in the upcoming election.

Starting September 24 and thru October 12, we will be holding our fall Regional Meetings, providing you with an opportunity to engage with CCSA staff and your colleagues around policy and advocacy issues that are impacting you the most. I hope to see you then!

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association

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