Capitol Update 5/23/14

  • Print

May 23, 2014

It’s deadline time in the Legislature. Today was the last day for bills with a fiscal impact to be passed out of the Appropriations Committee and next week, all bills must either pass out of their house of origin or be marked dead. With the Memorial Day holiday, the Legislature will have four days next week of marathon committee hearings to go through more than one thousand bills. Speaking of deadlines…

You made a difference: AB 1531 Held in Appropriations Committee

Both the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees considered a combined 400+ bills on their suspense files in rapid fashion, completing hearings in less than an hour.

Here are the results on some key charter schools bills from today’s hearing.  It is a mixed bag for charter schools, because among the many bills that were held were bills CCSA opposed and other bills we sponsored or supported.

The following bills were all held in Appropriations Committee, meaning that they will not be moving forward:

AB 1531 (Chau) Charter school boards. We opposed this bill which would have required charter school authorizers to select a majority of the nonprofit board members of a charter school. This bill was perhaps the single most threatening anti-charter bill this session. Charter school supporters attended more than 100 meetings with legislative offices and sent nearly 6,000 emails opposing this measure. Thank you to Capitol Advocacy Leaders (CAL) Liaisons, school leaders, board members, parents, teachers, students, and everyone that made their voice heard and helped kill AB 1531.

SB 1067 (Beall) School site entry. We opposed this bill which would have required two separate entrances/exits to any school site. CCSA opposed this bill because it would have created additional challenges for charter schools to access school facilities.

AB 2178 (Levine) Blended learning. We sponsored this bill which would have created a blended learning pilot program. While we are disappointed with this result, we will continue to support Governor Brown’s proposed streamlining of Independent Study in the budget process.

SB 1317 (Huff) Conflict of interest. We sponsored this bill to clarify charter school conflict of interest policies for charter schools in a way that ensured transparency but also recognized the unique organizational structures of many charter schools. With this bill off the table, we will continue to work to ensure that opposed legislation, AB 913 (Chau), which focuses on this same issue from last year does not move forward.

Overall a mixed day for charter schools in the Legislature. While two of our sponsored bills died, two of our opposed bills died as well. We still have one active threat that will be voted on next week, SB 1263 (Pavley).

Action Alert:  Oppose Senate Bill 1263 (Pavley)

Stand up for California's charter schools and make your voice heard today!

Senate Bill 1263 (Pavley) will be heard on the Senate Floor next week. This bill will create new and oppressive facilities barriers for charter schools by no longer allowing charter schools to locate outside of their district in instances where they are unable to locate an acceptable in-district facility.

This exception has provided a valuable backstop for charter schools with difficult or unique facilities challenges within their district of authorization. By completely removing this exception, SB 1263 will eliminate critical flexibility that charter schools currently utilize to overcome facilities challenges.

We urge you to take action now and contact your senator to express your opposition to SB 1263 today to ensure this bill does not move forward.

Budget Negotiations Continue

Even with all of the legislative deadlines this week and next, the budget committees continue to meet to complete the 2014-15 budget before the June 15 deadline. One key issue now is which revenue estimates will be used in the final budget. The Legislature appears to be making decisions based on the higher revenues of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which would provide significant additional revenues in the Proposition 98 guarantee for K-14 schools. We will keep you posted as these issues continue to be resolved.

2014 Anti-Charter School Ballot Initiatives Fail

As of this month, the two anti-charter ballot initiatives pending signature collection have failed a key deadline to qualify for the 2014 ballot. These initiatives would have placed new requirements for charter schools on conflict of interest and on administrator and teacher credentials.

Earlier in the year there was an agreement reached on the teacher firing bill AB 215 (Buchanan) that resulted in all education related initiative proponents agreeing to no longer collect signatures. As of today, we can now confirm that this agreement has held firm and as a result there will be no anti-charter initiatives on the November ballot.