Capitol Update 6/26/14

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June 26, 2014

This was another busy week of lengthy policy committee hearings as the legislature raced to complete its work before Friday’s June 27 policy committee deadline. Next week is expected to be fairly quiet in the days leading up to the legislature adjourning for the 4th of July holiday and summer recess. Legislators will spend the month of July attending to issues in their districts. Summer recess is a great time to request a meeting to get to know your legislator. Legislators will then reconvene in Sacramento for the final month of the legislative session on Monday, August 4.

In other news, the Legislature has approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution 144 (Olsen) which proclaims the every second week of May to officially be the California Charter Schools Week.

Action Alert: Contact Your Senator Today and Oppose AB 913 (Chau)

AB 913 (Chau) which imposes burdensome and unworkable conflict of interest requirements on charter school boards is expected to be considered on the Senate Floor next week.

If enacted, AB 913 would severely restrict board members from making donations or loaning funds to charter schools. This flexibility is greatly needed as charter schools have fewer financial resources and tools to access than other public schools.

Contact your Senator TODAY and urge him or her to vote NO on  AB 913, legislation that hurts charter schools.

Legislative Update

SB 1263 (Pavley): After a lengthy debate in Assembly Education Committee yesterday, SB 1263 (Pavley) which places restrictions on charter schools from having a facility located outside of their authorizing district, was approved 5-2. All five Democrats voted in favor of the legislation even though there was acknowledgment that the legislation is flawed and creates new barriers for charter schools. We would like to thank Republicans Assembly Member Kristin Olsen, Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and Assembly Member Rocky Chavez for opposing this legislation.

The intent of SB 1263 is to resolve a current issue related to the Acton Agua Dulce district in Southern California. However, instead of resolving this specific issue, this bill would only exacerbate many charter schools facilities challenges, create more work and uncertainty for charter schools when they face charter renewal, and draw resources away from educating students. The appropriate venue to resolve this matter is in the judicial system where there is a pending lawsuit. Any legislative action should be assessed after the case is resolved in the courts.

Allowing charter schools to locate one a site outside of their authorizing district has provided a valuable backstop for charter schools facing difficult or unique facilities challenges within their district of authorization. We will continue to strongly oppose SB 1263 as it moves to the Assembly Floor for consideration in August.

SB 1137 (Torres): This bill, related to school transportation funding, was approved in the Assembly Education Committee 7-0 yesterday. We have an oppose unless amended position on this legislation because charter schools are not eligible for school transportation funding under the bill. There was a robust discussion by committee members who would like to see charter schools included. However the bill was reluctantly passed without charter school inclusion due to funding constraints. We will continue to work both this year and in the future to ensure that charter schools have access to these critical transportation funds.

AB 2007 (Grove): AB 2007 authorizes a virtual or online school to also claim independent study ADA for a pupil who is enrolled in a virtual or online school and moves outside of the authorized school district area to operate for the duration of the school course or courses or until the end of the school year, whichever comes first. AB 2007 was approved in the Senate Education Committee yesterday and adds flexibility for student enrollment at charters using Independent Study.

Budget Update

As we reported last week, Governor Brown has signed the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year which begins on July 1. CCSA has completed a 2014-15 Final Budget Act Budget Brief, and updated its Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Calculator. These resources are now available on the Budget Page of our website.

CDE Reports First Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Calculations

Charter schools can now see the first official calculations of the funding they will receive under the Local Control Funding Forumula (LCFF) in new reports developed by the California Department of Education (CDE). The calculations for school districts and charter schools are displayed in the traditional funding exhibits, plus a new “LCFF Funding Snapshot.” To access these reports for school districts and charter schools, visit the LCFF Funding Snapshot web page on the CDE website. Detailed exhibits are also available on the Principal Apportionment, Fiscal Year 2013-14 web page.

CSFA Approved Charter School Revolving Loans

Today the California School Finance Authority (CSFA) approved Charter School Revolving Loans for 2014-15. The list of loan recipients can be found here as “Attachment A” to the CSFA agenda. The CSFA also approved awards and authorized the disbursement of funds under the tenth funding round of the state Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants Program. The list of awards can be found here.