Capitol Update 9/30/14

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September 30, 2014

CCSA Issues Statement on Governor Brown Signing AB 948 into Law

Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), issued the following statement today:

CCSA applauds Governor Jerry Brown on signing AB 948 into law and securing safe, reliable school facilities for more students attending California charter schools. Additional students, particularly low-income students attending charter schools, will have more access to funding for facilities and to high quality learning environments.

The law, once enacted on January 1, 2015, will allow more charter schools to be able to apply for the SB 740 program which provides facility rent and lease cost reimbursement to schools serving some of the neediest student populations. The result is that AB 948 will allow schools to spend more money in the classroom and not on the classroom.

This victory attests to the power of charter school parents, teachers, school leaders and supporters, who sent hundreds of letters, emails and faxes to the legislature urging support for AB 948 and for the Governor to sign the bill.

On behalf of the 514,000 California students that attend the 1,130 charter school students in the state we thank the Governor, Assembly Member Olsen and other legislators for their leadership on this important issue.

Governor Brown Vetoes AB 913 (Chau)

Today, Governor Brown also vetoed AB 913 (Chau), legislation we opposed related to charter school conflict of interest laws.

Governor Brown's veto message read: "Starting a charter school requires the strong commitment of dedicated individuals willing to serve on a governing board. While I support transparency, this bill goes further than simply addressing issues of potential conflicts of interest and goes too far in prescribing how these boards must operate."

AB 913 would have required the same conflict of interest requirements of charter schools as traditional school districts, dismissing the core premise of the California Charter Schools Act of 1992 which provides charter schools with more governance flexibility. AB 913 would have required charter schools to comply with open meeting requirements, the Public Records Act, the Political Reform Act, Government Code 1090 (with certain exceptions), and other provisions.

CCSA is not opposed to conflict of interest requirements and strongly advocates for transparency in governance. However, this bill represented an approach that created 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 the Governor for his thoughtful veto on this issue, and thank all of our supporters who helped to advocate against this bill by responding to our action alerts.