January 2015 CEO Message

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January 23, 2015 Happy New Year! 2015 promises to bring a busy legislative season and a packed policy agenda - and I'm ready to dig in.

Business at the Capitol is already in full swing. On January 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown released his budget proposal for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The proposal includes $7.8 billion ongoing and one-time funding increases for California's schools including four billion dollars for continued implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), elimination of payment deferrals, and $50 million more for charter school facilities. We are very excited about the Governor's commitment to increase funding for charter school facilities, as it was one of the only ongoing education programs to see an increase and represents a major win for our movement.

This is the first step in the 2015-16 budget approval and negotiation process that will continue through June. We will need your help in the upcoming fight to pass the budget and secure the Governor's proposed funding for charter facilities. In the meantime, visit our website for more budget details.

We have planned an ambitious advocacy agenda for the coming year. Building on the momentum of the Governor's budget, CCSA has placed a high priority on ensuring charter schools have access to great facilities, and we are also working on proposals to improve access to local zoning exemptions and to provide credit enhancements for charter school facility loans. In 2015, we will also be working hard to build a friendlier authorizing environment in California, while maintaining our attention on enhancing further innovation in blended-learning and reducing excessive bureaucracy for non-classroom based charter schools.

How will we put our policy agenda into action? In the next several weeks, CCSA will host our fifth annual Back to Session event in Sacramento. This event is an opportunity for our staff, Board and Member Council to meet with legislators, the Governor's office and the Treasurer's office and lay the groundwork for our 2015 advocacy efforts.

And throughout the year, CCSA's Capitol Advocacy Leaders (CAL), an influential network of California's top charter school leaders, will be working to advance the charter school movement by ensuring California's Legislature is educated on charter school issues and by letting legislators know that their votes matter.

We need your help to be successful at the Capitol. Consider getting involved in statewide and local advocacy efforts on behalf of California's charter movement in one of the following ways:

Get to know your legislator. Have you had a chance to welcome your legislator(s) back to session? Here is a draft letter that you can customize. Your legislator's contact information can be found at the Senate's Webpage here and the Assembly's here. Be sure to personalize the letter and if possible, include a picture of your students. Also be sure to download the Legislative Advocacy Toolkit to learn how to get legislators involved in the activities of your school, schedule a meeting with your elected officials, understand the life cycle of legislation, and more.

Attend the 22nd Annual CCSA Conference, March 16-19, 2015 in Sacramento. You will learn how to increase the impact you're having in your community by attending sessions in CCSA's Leadership and Advocacy strand. Engage in sessions on regional and statewide issues that affect your students, your school and your community. Explore the entire 2015 Program.

Take what you learn at Conference and lead at Advocacy Day. Join us May 5 as we host our annual Advocacy Day at the State Capitol during National Charter Schools Week. Charter school leaders, parents and mature students will meet with their legislators, advocate on behalf of their school and the charter school movement, and discuss CCSA's policy agenda. Register now!

Reach out to our Government Affairs team. They are happy to help answer your questions and prepare you to effectively advocate for charter schools in the Capitol. Email them at: governmentaffairs@ccsa.org.

I am excited to work side by side with you in this New Year. Together, we will tackle our advocacy goals on behalf of the nearly 550,000 students enrolled in California's 1,184 charter schools, and the 91,000 students waiting for the charter education they deserve.


Jed Wallace
President & CEO
California Charter Schools Association

P.S. Help us determine the finalists of CCSA's One Movement. Many Voices. Video Contest. More than forty videos have been submitted by passionate members of our charter school community across the state. The deadline to vote is February 5. Vote now!