SB 1362 Would Disrupt Education for 233,000 Charter Public School Students

March 14, 2018

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Media Contact:
Brittany Parmley, California Charter Schools Association

SB 1362 Would Disrupt Education for 233,000 Charter Public School Students

SACRAMENTO, California - If enacted, SB 1362 (Beall) would threaten closure of 40% of charter public schools currently operating throughout the state and disrupt the education of 233,000 public school students. This legislation would also impose a chilling effect on all future charter school approvals. Further, while SB 1362 is premised on removing barriers to a high quality public education for all students, with an emphasis on students with disabilities, it fails to address funding and service delivery barriers currently experienced by charter schools at the hands of authorizers and creates a perverse incentive for over-identification of students with disabilities.

"Unfortunately, Senator Beall's legislation scapegoats hard working families who've opted to enroll their students in a high performing charter public school and asserts that they are to blame for poorly managed district finances," said Carlos Marquez, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). "Fiscal impact arguments are red herrings for decades of irresponsible governance and operational practices by large school districts. Charter public school families shouldn't be expected to prop up a failing school system and jeopardize the education of their children. Senator Beall's legislation is among the most brazen efforts we've seen recently to rid the state of charter schools. Our families won't go down without a fight."

"Research has shown that when charter public schools are granted programmatic and fiscal autonomy, they serve increased numbers and a broader range of students with disabilities," said Gina Plate, Senior Vice President of Regional Advocacy at CCSA and Chair of the California Advisory Commission on Special Education. "Unfortunately, SB 1362 moves in the opposite direction. We are disappointed in Senator Beall's failure to include our families in the discussion and hope we can work with him to improve his legislation so that it actually meets its stated objectives."

More Information:

Additional Background on CCSA's Opposition to SB 1362:

  • The Charter Schools Act is crafted purposefully to keep authorizing decisions focused on the quality and viability of the proposed charter. SB 1362 violates the Legislature's clear intent stated in the Charter Schools Act as outlined in Education Code Section 47605(b).
  • This bill perpetuates the false notion that school funding belongs to the district, rather than the students and that district self-interests are more important than education quality. Education funding follows the student, whether they move to another district within the state or choose to attend a charter public school.
  • Declining enrollment is attributable a variety of factors that are unlikely to reverse in the coming years including but not limited to: housing costs, local employment opportunities, declining birth rates, students dropping out of school or transferring to other school districts.
  • Suggesting a district average is the "right" proportion of special education students for a particular charter school ignores the entire notion of specialized learning and placement for high need students. It also presupposes that districts appropriately identify students.
  • Any policy regarding special education in charter schools needs to take into account the two legal options with regards to special education responsibility and funding.

    1. Charter schools that are independent LEAs for special education and have access to special education funds (which is about half of charters in state) have full autonomy and responsibility for placement and services. The percentage of students with disabilities served is very close to statewide averages.
    2. For charter schools that are dependent on their authorizing districts for special education, there is no control over special education decisions or enrollment.
  • An evaluation of charter school special education delivery should only be approached in the context of a broader look at all of California's SELPAs to ensure an appropriate base of comparison and avoid over isolating concerns with charter systems that may indeed be statewide issues for all SELPAs.