May 2013 Message to Members from Jed Wallace

May 30, 2013

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JedWallaceSmall.jpg May has been another remarkable month for CCSA members across the state.

National Charter Schools Week Celebration and Charters Around the State Recognized

In early May, we celebrated with our colleagues from across the country National Charter Schools Week and I know that many schools held local school community celebrations. Coinciding with Charter Schools Week, we have seen a record number of charters recognized by local, state and national publications and organizations these past few weeks for the inspiring work they are doing with students and communities.

Record Number of State Legislators Contacted During Advocacy Day

On May 8th, CCSA and our members made our presence felt in Sacramento when more than 200 students, parents, teachers and charter leaders from across the state met with more than half of the state Legislature, sharing stories of charter school success and advocating for charter-related priorities such as equitable funding and facilities.

CCSA Convenes Blended Learning Community to Inform Policy Agenda

In response to the rapid rise of innovative blended learning programs generating strong student outcomes in California's charter school sector, CCSA convened a group of blended learning charter school operators, funders and experts in San Jose on May 2 to discuss how best to optimize the policy environment to allow for even greater innovation and impact in the years to come. The event was hosted at the site of Summit Denali, CCSA Board Chair Diane Tavenner's newest school, scheduled to open in Fall 2013. Participants spent the day providing the on-the-ground perspective needed to identify the regulatory and statutory breakthroughs needed to solidify California as the undisputed national leader in blended learning. The group surfaced policy suggestions related to funding based on seat-time, assessment and teacher credentialing as their top advocacy priorities. CCSA's Government Affairs Team will incorporate this feedback into a proactive policy agenda that is being developed to create even greater opportunities for charter school innovation and impact in 2013-14 and beyond.

Governor's May Revise Provides Much Needed Deferral Relief and More Details on LCFF

May also brought positive news with the Governor's May Revise. Announced on May 14, the Governor included in his proposal $1.6 billion in additional K-12 deferral relief and $1 billion in one-time funding for the transition to the common core standards. In addition, the May Revise provided much needed and welcomed clarification on the proposed Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the Governor's plan for a new school funding system. CCSA has been analyzing the proposals and will track the budget through its long approval process to continue to advocate for equitable funding for charter school students. Please watch for your CCSA Capitol Updates and check the CCSA website for the most up-to-date news on the state budget and other legislative matters.

Regional Meetings to Provide Budget, Legislative, Accountability and Local Updates

We have also begun our Regional meetings, where CCSA members and staff will come together in 17 different locations around the state from May 20 to June 5 to discuss key state budget implications, legislative updates and priorities, and new advancements in our accountability work in addition to discussions regarding local issues and networking. If you have not already registered to attend the meeting in your area, I encourage you to do so.

CCSA to Provide Additional Guidance Following Selivanov/Berkovich Trial

I have heard personally from many charter leaders who have expressed concerns following the April 5 Los Angeles County Superior Court jury conviction of Eugene Selivanov and Tatyana Berkovich related to the misuse of charter school funds as founders and former executive staff and board members of the Ivy Academia Charter School. In collaboration with the law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch (Procopio), CCSA Legal Defense Fund (LDF) co-sponsored a free webinar for charter operators to provide an overview of the case and its potential consequences. CCSA legal team is working collaboratively with legal experts from around the state to conduct an exhaustive review of the court's proceedings and to provide members with additional guidance. Please watch for future CCSA updates on this matter.

Parents, Teachers and Charter Leaders Can and Did Make a Difference

The school board election cycle having now come to a close in Los Angeles, it is clear that, while every election result did not go as we might have hoped, charter school stakeholders are stepping up to take unprecedented levels of responsibility in elections of importance to charter schools. In the process, charter school parents, teachers, board members and school leaders are showing that we are on a trajectory for winning even more elections in the near future. We are deeply grateful to the many charter leaders, parents, teachers and supporters who helped empower whole school communities to participate in the democratic process.

We look forward to working with newly elected board of Los Angeles Unified and indeed of every school district in this state to create the policies that will enable the expansion of quality charter schools to the level that parents and communities are clearly demanding. In the process, we know we will quicken the arrival of the day when all of California's public school students will have access to the improved learning options they will need to learn and succeed in life.

Jed Wallace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association

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