Capitol Update 6/20/13

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June 20, 2013 State Budget Update: 10 days and counting
Governor Jerry Brown has 10 days to sign the state budget, which will go into effect on July 1. Please read the June 15 Capitol Update for details on the budget as submitted to the Governor. Once the budget is signed by the Governor, CCSA will complete our analysis and provide members with a final Budget Brief, and an update to the LCFF simulator. Today, the Legislature began taking action on minor revisions to the LCFF bill, most of which are technical and appear to have no negative impact on charter schools. Please visit our budget update webpage periodically for further updates as it is refined with more details as they emerge.

On July 12, CCSA's Government Affairs team will hold a State Budget webinarto discuss the enacted 2013-14 budget and what it means for charter schools. This webinar will be an overview and all members are welcome. Please register HERE.

Legislative Update
This week, SCA 3 (Leno), which would allow California voters to decide if they want to lower the vote threshold for parcel taxes from 2/3 to 55%, was heard in another policy committee. CCSA is opposed to this bill unless it is amended to include specific proportionality for charter school students in each parcel tax, and testified again to that position. SCA 3 was sent to the Senate Rules Committee for action at a later date.

Next week, the Senate Education Committee will hear AB 948 (Olsen), CCSA's sponsored legislation to increase access to the SB 740 facility grant program by lowering the free-reduced lunch price eligibility threshold from 70% of a school's population to 60%. We were pleased to see this bill move in a bipartisan fashion out of the Assembly and hope for a similar result in the Senate.

What's Happening with Charter School Employee Pensions?
As we informed you last year, the IRS issued a notice, officially called an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," which is a formal step in the federal regulatory process towards defining eligible entities which can participate in public pension plans, such as CalSTRS and CalPERS. This followed a six-year working group process involving several agencies after a change in federal law. Since that Advanced Notice, no action has been taken by the IRS on a formal regulatory change. Most importantly, the proposed regulations under the Advanced IRS Notice have not been finalized.

Surprisingly, CalPERS recently released a bulletin on this issue indicating that they have adopted a revised applicant questionnaire, consistent with the Advanced IRS Notice, for new agencies, including charter schools, to reduce the potential risk to its plans should the draft regulations be finalized in their current form. We understand some charter schools have been affected by this change in their process because of this presumed, pending federal action. Since no action has been taken on the IRS front regarding the regulatory changes, CCSA maintains that this change in policy is premature and will work with CalPERS staff to resolve the issue.

Information from you will help us in our conversations on this issue. If you are currently enrolled in CalPERS or are hoping to enroll in the future, we would appreciate hearing from you through this short survey.