San Diego Charter Community Gathers Today to Protect Students and Oppose AB 1531

April 16, 2014

  • Print

(San Diego, California) - Dozens of San Diego's charter parents and leaders will take a firm stand against Assembly Bill 1531 today at 9:00 a.m. at a press conference in front of the district offices of Assemblymembers Gonzalez and Weber (1350 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101).

Tens of thousands of students attend charter schools across San Diego County. Initial analysis shows that more than 17,000 students attending 46 of the 55 charter schools operating in San Diego Unified School District could be negatively impacted by Assembly Bill 1531 if it passes. Ramifications from the bill could also force several charter schools to close their doors to students and families. The numbers of students effected will only grow as we take into account more students across the county.

Last week the Assembly Education Committee heard AB 1531 (Chau), which undoes over 20 years of creating better options for parents and students, taking us back to 1991 when there were no charter schools in California. This bill would thwart a core tenet of charter school independence by requiring school districts to select a majority of the nonprofit board members of a charter school.

Unfortunately, the final vote last week was 4-3 in favor of the bill, the bare minimum requirement for it to pass. Assemblymember Gonzalez of San Diego voted to support AB 1531. This bill is bad for kids and we demand better of Assemblymember Gonzalez. However, we appreciate Assemblymember Weber's kids first agenda, and we would like to thank her for voting against this anti-charter bill.

"AB 1531 is the single biggest threat to charter autonomy we've seen since passage of the Charter School Act. It puts the future of the charter school movement in California at great risk by undermining the unique ability of charters to operate as schools of choice delivering high quality learning for all students," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, California Charter Schools Association. "I am proud of all of the charter parents, leaders and supporters who are publicly speaking out on behalf of thousands of students who would miss out on an excellent education if this bill passes."

AB 1531 is a drastic reversal of the stated intent of the Charter Schools Act "to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure" (Education Code Section 47601). Requiring charter authorizers to appoint a majority of charter school board members would compromise independent oversight by the charter authorizer and blur the lines of accountability for charter schools.

"Charter public schools across California are getting great academic results for students, especially historically underserved students, and continue to improve over time. Any attempt to stifle this type of progress and innovation is to the detriment of the charter students who depend on a high quality education the most, to ensure they are prepared for life after high school," continued Wallace.

David Sciarretta, Principal, Albert Einstein Academy Charter Middle School will join Adria Williams, a San Diego charter school parent, Amanda Aguirre Allen, a founding charter school board member and other charter supporters at today's press conference to voice their opposition to Assembly Bill 1531.

About Assembly Bill 1531 (Chau):

  • AB 1531 would require charter school authorizers to select a majority of the nonprofit board members of a charter school.
  • This bill would force charters to give up their independence and revert to traditional district schools.
  • People are erroneously claiming that this bill has something to do with protecting charter school employee eligibility for public retirement systems. The law is clear that charter school employees are eligible for public retirement systems and no change in law is needed.
  • AB 1531 continues to the second stop in the legislative process, the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will focus on the fiscal impact of the bill.

Charter Schools by the Numbers:

  • 55 charter schools operate in San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD)
  • 46 of these 55 charter schools serving more than 17,000 charter students in SDUSD could be impacted by AB 1531
  • 1,130 charter public schools in California
  • 519,000 students attend charter schools in California ‚Ä®
  • 50,000 students are on waitlists in California‚Ä®

About the California Charter Schools Association:
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 1,130 charter public schools and more than 519,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) 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. The Mission of CCSA is to enable our members to increase the number of students attending quality charter schools in California as quickly as possible by securing policy wins supportive of charter schools and providing the supports necessary to open and expand quality charter schools.