Capitol Update 4/11/13

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April 11, 2013 When the Legislature returned from spring recess last week, they did so with gusto. Budget subcommittees in both houses are continuing to work through the Governor's budget proposal and CCSA has advocated for charter schools all along the way. Policy committees are hearing bills impacting charter schools in the coming weeks and we need your support to help protect charter schools. Read on to learn more about the state budget, legislation, recent actions at the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools and the 20th Anniversary Advocacy Day.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Updates - New Webpage Launched
As we've reported in past Capitol Updates, for 2013-14, Governor Brown has proposed a major overhaul of state school funding. Please visit our Budget web page, which we have updated this week with helpful information on the LCFF. CCSA will be offering an Interactive Webinar on the LCFF on Monday, April 22. Sign-up today at CCSA's events web page!

Also, this week the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education held an additional hearing on the LCFF. CCSA again testified to our concerns with several specific parts of the proposal, while remaining supportive overall of the goals of the LCFF initiative.

Protect Charter School Facility Options: TAKE ACTION to Oppose AB 1032
Next week, the Assembly Education Committee is voting on a bill that would gut Proposition 39. We need your help to stop this bill!

Proposition 39 was written to ensure that all public school students share equally in district facilities. The bargain made when Proposition 39 was passed by California voters in 2000 was to reduce the threshold for the state or a local school district to pass a facilities bond from two-thirds to fifty-five percent, a considerably easier standard to meet. In exchange, charter school students were to be given equal access to district facilities, if charters are able to meet certain eligibility requirements.

While the process remains far from ideal, over the years, regulations and case law from court cases have helped define what "reasonably equivalent" means. AB 1032 (Gordon) would gut current Proposition 39 practice and allow school districts to deny facilities to charter schools using subjective and self-serving measures.

Many charters are forced to spend a disproportionate amount of their budgets to rent facilities, even though they are public schools. This is money that would be better spent in the classroom.

The principle behind Proposition 39 is one of equity and fairness for all public school students; charter school students ARE public school students.


How can you help?

  1. Take five minutes and visit CCSA's easy to use Action Alert Center to email members of the Assembly Education Committee. Don't forget to personalize the email with your story.
  2. If you have more time, call members of the Assembly Education Committee to let them know your position on the bill and urge them to oppose the bill in committee. Don't worry if your call is brief, your opposition will still be registered with the office.

Sacramento Actions
On Wednesday, the Assembly Appropriations committee passed AB 917 (Bradford) and AB 1159 (Blumenfield), two charter school bills which CCSA supports. Next week, in addition to AB 1032, committees are hearing bills to expand the Parent Empowerment Act, and several bills relating to online learning.

In a few weeks, the Assembly Education Committee will hear a bill about charter school conflict of interest requirements, AB 913 (Chau). The sponsor, the California School Boards Association, has sponsored similar legislation for the last few years, none of which has been successful. This year, they are claiming that this bill would secure charter school employees' right to participate in CalSTRS and CalPERS, and communicating this widely to their members (some of whom are employed by charters, causing significant questions and confusion). Let's be clear: This right is not in jeopardy - the IRS has spent more than seven years working on a definition of what an eligible entity is for a governmental pension plan like CalSTRS. While the initial work product, which is not yet even to the stage of draft regulations, seemed to indicate that charter schools may not be eligible, the IRS heard loudly from the charter school community. Many of you helped make our voices heard. Since then, no formal action has been taken, and when the IRS does issue draft regulations, we expect to see significant revisions to their initial proposal. At any rate, this process has nothing to do with California conflict of interest laws and charter schools. Any attempt to link them is patently false.

Advisory Commission on Charter Schools Considers Multiple Nonclassroom-Based Funding Determinations
Wednesday, the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS) met to consider several nonclassroom-based funding determinations. They recommended approval of all of these funding determinations at varying levels of funding - these recommendations will go to the State Board of Education in May.

20th Anniversary Advocacy Day
You are needed in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 8 for Advocacy Day to fight for fair funding and autonomy for charter schools! Visit the 20th Anniversary Advocacy Day resource page for important information on how to prepare for success.

CCSA is hosting two online training sessions before Advocacy Day on "Success in the Capitol: Preparing for Advocacy Day." Visit CCSA's events web page to register.

Coming Next Week...

  • The Commission on Teacher Credentialing meets next week to discuss potential regulations regarding English Learner Authorization requirements for Intern Credentials.
  • The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education meets to discuss charter school items in the Governor's Budget proposal. Watch charter school leaders in action while they testify during the hearing.
  • The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education meets next week to discuss the LCFF. CCSA will be at the hearing and testify to our concerns with parts of the proposal.