Capitol Update 8/21/14

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August 21, 2014

The 2013-14 legislative session will come to a close next week and there are more than 600 bills pending before the California State Legislature on a myriad of topics. A small sampling of the more controversial bills include if we will have a plastic bag ban, if ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft will be more regulated, and if there will be more stringent groundwater regulation. One issue that has been settled is whether there will be an education bond on the 2014 ballot. Governor Brown stopped this proposal this week for a variety of reasons including concerns about placing an additional bond measure on the November ballot that already includes a water bond and rainy day fund proposition. On the charter schools front there are three major bills awaiting action.

Legislative Update

AB 948 (Olsen), our sponsored bill related to charter school facilities, was approved 32-0 on the Senate Floor this afternoon. We would like to thank Senate Education Chair Carol Liu for presenting the bill and congratulate Assembly Minority Leader-Elect Kristin Olsen and principal co-author Senator Cathleen Galgiani on the bill’s passage. Next, AB 948 returns to the Assembly for concurrence in Senate amendments, where we expect it to be approved on a bipartisan vote. Then it will be sent to the Governor for consideration. Thanks again to everyone who supported AB 948 and helped get the bill removed from the Senate Appropriations Suspense file. The bill expands eligibility for charters to receive facilities grants from a 70% free or reduced price lunch threshold to 60%. This expansion will potentially provide funding for nearly 100 additional schools.

AB 913 (Chau), related to charter school conflict of interest that we oppose is also awaiting action on the Senate Floor. We oppose AB 913 because it creates burdensome and unnecessary barriers for charter school operation. Click here to fill out our Action Alert opposing AB 913.

SB 1263 (Pavley), related to charter school location that we oppose is on the Assembly Floor awaiting action. We oppose SB 1263 because it would remove critical flexibility that charter schools use to overcome facilities challenges. Click here to fill out our Action Alert opposing SB 1263.

2014–15 Mandate Block Grant Application Currently Available

The California Department of Education (CDE) has released the 2014–15 Mandate Block Grant (MBG) Application. This application will serve as each local educational agency’s (LEA’s) Letter Requesting Funding. Charter Schools must request these funds in order to receive them. A completed MBG Application must be submitted electronically by September 2, 2014, to receive 2014–15 MBG funding. The MBG Application, up to date Participation Status, and other important MBG details may be accessed from the MBG Request for Application web page.