San Diego Unified School District is Awarded the Hart Vision Brian Bennett Authorizer of the Year - the Highest Honor for a California Charter Authorizer

March 15, 2013

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Contact: Vicki Grenz
(916) 949-9659

SAN DIEGO, California (Mar 14, 2013).The 2013 Hart Vision Brian Bennett Authorizer of the Year is awarded to San Diego Unified School District, long known for its efforts to ensure that charter public schools are treated as equal partners. "The SDUSD's collaborative efforts produced something truly historic -passage of a facilities bond that will greatly support the learning of all students in San Diego," said Jed Wallace, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Charter Schools Association.

"Thanks to continued partnership with the district and great support from charter school leaders in San Diego, Proposition Z was passed by voters last November and will result in at least $350M in facilities funding coming to support the success and growth of charter schools in San Diego," continued Wallace.

"This year, in awarding San Diego Unified School District as our authorizer of the year, we salute the board for leadership shown in enabling San Diego Unified to become a proof point for California, indeed for the nation, for how a district and charter schools can work together to pass win-win ballot measures in support of all students," added Wallace. The award was presented at the California Charter Schools Association's 20th anniversary conference held March 12-14, 2013 in San Diego.

A central feature of Proposition Z was a commitment to provide a pro rata share of the bond proceeds to charter schools and to allow for those funds to be invested with as much flexibility as is allowed under the law. San Diego Unified has long treated charter schools as partners, working together on a parcel tax that fell short of passage, and finally, Proposition Z, the facilities bond that passed in 2012.

The Hart Vision Brian Bennett Award is reserved for those authorizers that demonstrate true vision, leadership, and understanding of how to most effectively partner with the charter school movement to the greatest advantage of California's students. The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

The Hart Vision Authorizer award is named in memory of Brian Bennett who believed that education is the key to a better world and saw a quality education as a matter of civil rights. Bennett was the force behind the development of more than a dozen public charter schools including the launch of some of the earliest charter schools in California after the Legislature authorized them in 1992. While he made his home in San Diego, Bennett travelled the United States to help organize inner-city charter schools while working for the School Futures Research Foundation.

The California Charters Schools Association has hosted the Charter Schools Conference for 20 years, offering resources, guidance, and advocacy support to a charter school movement that has grown to more than 1,000 schools serving 484,000 students.

For information about Hart Vision award winners and other California Charter Schools Conference highlights, please visit

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 1,063 charter public schools and more than 484,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to empower parents and educators to unleash a new era of innovation within public education so that highly autonomous and accountable schools of choice provide quality learning opportunities for all California students. For more information, please visit