Capitol Update 6/19/14

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June 19, 2014

This has been a very busy week in the Legislature with long policy committee hearings. Next week will be even busier as committees rush to complete their business before the June 27 policy deadline. On Monday, Senator Kevin de León of Los Angeles was formally elected the next leader of the California State Senate. President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León, or ‘KDL’ as he’s often abbreviated will take over the position when the current pro Tem Darrell Steinberg steps down in November due to term limits. With this election, pro Tem-elect de León will be the second Latino ever to hold the position, the last time being in 1883 when Senator Reginaldo del Valle held the post.

Legislative Update: AB 913 Passes Senate Education Committee

Despite the charter community's and other's strong opposition to the legislation, the Senate Education Committee approved Assembly Bill (AB) 913 (Chau) yesterday on a 4-2 vote. If enacted, AB 913 will impose the same conflict of interest requirements on charter public schools as traditional public school districts. CCSA is not opposed to conflict of interest requirements and strongly advocates for transparency in governance. However, AB 913 represents an approach that creates burdensome and unnecessary barriers for charter schools when flexibility for charter schools is critical to enable them to operate at optimal levels. We would like to thank Senators Huff and Wyland for their no votes and Senator Correa for abstaining from the vote.

As AB 913 moves to the Senate Floor for consideration, we will continue to vigorously oppose the bill on behalf of our members. We strongly urge the California State Senate to reject AB 913 as it is the wrong course in addressing conflict of issue requirementsfor charter schools.

On another note, AB 2235 (Buchanan), the Kindergarten – University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2014 was also approved in the Senate Education Committee on a 5-0 vote. The $9 billion price tag was removed from the bill amid concerns that it will be difficult to get Governor Brown to approve such a large bond and place it on the November 2014 ballot. Negotiations are continuing with stakeholders. AB 2235 will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Oppose Senate Bill 1263 (Pavley): Restrictions on Charter School Locations

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

Senate Bill 1263 (Pavley) will be heard in the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday, June 25As amended on June 17, this bill creates new restrictions and burdensome requirements on charter schools that have facilities located outside of their authorizing districts’ boundaries.

The June 17 amendments do the following:

● Charter schools may operate ONE site outside of the boundaries of the school district for temporary use for up to 1 school year unless the school district in which the charter is located consents to a longer time.

● Parents must be notified 60 days prior to the beginning of the school year.

● Charter schools approved prior to July 1, 2014 that are located in out of district facilities may continue operating until charter renewal. The school may request to use the same location if specific findings are made or if the school district in which the charter is located consents.

● School districts with negative certification are prohibited from authorizing new charter schools outside of their boundaries.

Allowing charters to locate schools outside of their authorizing district has provided a valuable backstop for charter schools with difficult or unique facilities challenges within their district of authorization.

We urge you to take action now and contact the Assembly Education Committee to express your opposition to SB 1263 to ensure this bill does not move forward.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

California Energy Commission Prop. 39 (Energy) Guidelines Adopted

On Wednesday, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted a set of substantive changes to the Prop. 39 Energy Efficiency Program guidelines. These new guidelines will greatly benefit charter schools, especially those in leased private facilities. They have amended the payback provision, completely deleting the payback time for charter schools in their second or later term or leasing public facilities. CCSA greatly appreciates the time and energy the CEC has put into this program, especially their efforts to understand and recognize the unique issues facing charter schools. We urge you to read the guidelines, the summary, and the frequently asked questions for more information on this very valuable program.

Budget Update: Governor Set to Sign 2014-15 State Budget

Tomorrow morning Governor Brown will join Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in San Diego to sign the 2014-15 state budget. In our Capitol Update on Monday, CCSA reported the highlights of the budget, as approved by the Legislature. The Governor’s signing is the final step in the budget adoption. While the Governor has authority of a “line item veto” to delete or reduce any item of appropriation, we note that the adopted budget largely reflect an agreement between the Governor and Legislative Leadership. CCSA will be providing a complete Budget Brief in the coming days.