Capitol Update 6/5/14

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June 5, 2014

This week’s state primary election may earn the record for the second lowest voter turnout in California history. Despite the low turnout, dozens of important races were decided. With California’s recent change to a top-two primary system, the top two vote getters regardless of party will advance to the November General Election ballot. This rule has significantly altered campaign strategy because candidates can end up in a race that is Democrat vs. Democrat or Republican vs. Republican in November. When this occurs, candidates moderate their views in an attempt to appeal to voters of the opposing party.

With the primary election behind us, November stakes are high with the Democratic supermajority control of the Legislature in question.

Action Alert:  Oppose Assembly Bill 913 (Chau)

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

Assembly Bill (AB) 913 (Chau) will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on June 18While this bill intends to establish “good government” conflict of interest requirements for charter schools, it really creates burdensome and unnecessary barriers for charter schools. AB 913 ignores the core premise of the California Charter Schools Act of 1992 and imposes the same conflict of interest requirements on charter schools as traditional school districts.

In fact, recent amendments to AB 913 further take away critical flexibility for charter schools. AB 913 continues to impose Government Code 1090 on charter schools, which would place extreme limits on who is allowed to serve on a charter school board. Further, the bill would prohibit board members from making loans or lease agreements thereby shutting off an important avenue charter schools have in securing vital resources.

AB 913 is in stark contrast to our sponsored legislation on this same issue, SB 1317 (Huff). Whereas SB 1317, which is dead for the year, recognized the unique status and needs of charter schools through specific carve outs and exceptions in the law, AB 913 attempts to re-regulate charter schools by treating them exactly like a traditional school.

We urge you to take action now to contact members of the Senate Education Committee to express your opposition to AB 913 today and ensure that this bill does not move forward.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Legislative Update

This week the Senate Education Committee approved AB 2408 (Allen) on a unanimous vote. We support AB 2408 because it would add charter school and parent representatives to the board of the California Collaborative on Educational Excellence. Having a charter representative is particularly important because the Collaborative will be providing assistance to charter schools and occasionally making recommendations on charter revocations.

Budget Update

State budget deliberations continued this week, with the Budget Conference Committee meeting to attempt to reconcile differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget. The conference committee includes four representatives from each house. The committee will then issue its conference report which will be sent back to both houses for approval. While the committee did review key differences within the education budget, they did not take any significant definitive action.

The key sticking point appears to be between Governor Brown and the Legislature over which revenues to accept when crafting the budget. The Legislature’s actions have assumed the estimates of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which would provide about $2 billion more for education than the Governor’s revenue projections. At this point, it is unclear whether the Governor will accept a higher level of spending or use his veto pen to align with his own projections.

While the Budget Conference Committee continues, negotiations between the Governor, Assembly Leadership, and Senate Leadership may play a more significant role in crafting the final budget agreement. We expect the budget to be resolved before the start of the new fiscal year and we will keep you posted as decisions emerge.

Next Week

The State Board of Education’s Advisory Commission on Charter Schools meets in Sacramento next Wednesday, June 11. Review their agenda here.