Capitol Update 7/10/14

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July 10, 2014

The big news this week is that State Controller candidate and Speaker Emeritus John A. Perez is calling for a recount in the State Controller primary that left him 481 votes behind the second place vote-getter, fellow Democrat and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. California election law requires Perez’s campaign to pay for the recount, and allows them to request which counties and precincts they want to have recounted. The recount can be called off at any time, which we saw last month when a recount in Lesli Gooch’s campaign for CA-31 showed a difference of 1 vote in the initial manual recount. Regardless, whoever takes second place will advance to the election in November and will face off against Republican Ashley Swearengin, current Mayor of Fresno.

Legislative Update: AB 948 (Olsen) Charter School Facilities

Earlier this week, eight leaders from charter schools in the Los Angeles area along with CCSA staff met with the Senate President Pro Tem-elect Kevin de Leon’s District Director to express their strong support for AB 948 (Olsen) that makes critical revisions to the SB 740 Charter School Facilities program. It was a friendly and productive meeting and District Director Steve Veres was well informed about some of the facilities challenges faced by local charter schools. The charter school leaders effectively conveyed that the proposed changes to the SB 740 program would enable schools to provide appropriate school facilities to more low-income students in the state and use all the of the funds allocated in the program that are currently going unspent.

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School leaders discussed proposed amendments to AB 948 such as permitting SB 740 funds to be used for debt service, to purchase property rather than for just rent or lease costs, and how this will give schools additional options for securing appropriate school facilities in the future. Most importantly, the school leaders stressed that having more school facility options and funding will allow them to focus more of their resources and energy on providing students with a high quality education.

We would like to thank CAL Liaisons Martine Singer (Para Los Ninos), Kiumars Arzani (Ivy Bound), Cesar Lopez (APEX) and school leaders Marco Petruzzi (Green Dot), Johnathan Williams (The Accelerated Schools), Rhonda Deomampo (Synergy), Ruben Duenas (YPI), and Marcos Aguilar (Academia Semillas) for attending the meeting and showing their support.

CCSA will continue efforts to ensure that AB 948 is passed off the Senate Appropriations Suspense File by the August 15 deadline. Stay tuned on how you can show your support for this important legislation.

State Board of Education

The charter school movement secured another major victory yesterday as Thrive Public School was unanimously approved by the State Board of Education (SBE). This is the third charter appeal that has been unanimously approved by the SBE in a row. Congratulations to Thrive on their approval and good luck as they work towards opening in the fall.

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In other news, the SBE adopted revisions to the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) templates and regulations as part of the process to adopt permanent regulations governing the development of the LCAP and annual updates. The changes adopted by the SBE today will enter a 15 day public comment period after which they may be amended further or approved as permanent regulations that will apply to the LCAP for 2015-16. Charter schools are encouraged to review these revisions and contact us or reply to the call for public comment with any concerns or questions. Here is a link to a copy of the proposed regulations and the notice for public comment. The most significant changes proposed are a restructuring of the LCAP template form itself and the inclusion of a template for the annual update of the LCAP.