Capitol Update 1/29/15

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February 1, 2015

A new poll was released today showing that 52% of likely voters would support the continuation of Proposition 30 taxes. While 52% is close to the threshold to approve the initiative, groups pushing to extend the taxes can use this poll as ammo to gain further support to extend these taxes. Discussion of extending Prop. 30 comes along with a potential facilities bond already in the mix. 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for education initiatives, and initiatives in general. Initiatives impacting the state on a variety of topics require only a record low 365,879 signatures to qualify, thus, it is likely that we will see many more filed.

Proposed IRS Ruling Regarding Charter School Employee Participation in State Retirement Systems

This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Treasury issued guidance regarding specific rules they are considering that relate to whether a State retirement system that covers employees of a charter school will fall within the meaning of a “governmental plan” under IRS laws. As you may recall, the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) changed its application process for charter school applications to their retirement program after the IRS released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking around this issue in November of 2011. CCSA has been working closely with CalPERS since their board took action to implement this new policy, which adversely effected charter schools and their options in choosing a retirement system for their employees.

Based on our initial review of the newly issued IRS guidance, we believe that it adequately clarifies that charter school employees in California may still participate in public retirement systems, including CalPERS. We look forward to working with CalPERS on this issue and we will keep you updated about whether this guidance affects changes in their policy and applications for new charter schools.

CDE Issues New Guidance on Parent Service Hours

The California Department of Education has released new guidance addressing parent service hour requirements in public schools. Fiscal Management Advisory 15-01 makes clear that public schools, including charter public schools, may not require parent volunteer hours or payment of a fee in lieu of performing volunteer hours as a condition of enrollment or participation in school programs.

This Advisory was issued as a result of engagement by Public Advocates and CCSA, following the release of a report by Public Advocates last November, which called into question the parent involvement policies of many charter schools across the state. While CCSA believes that many charter schools are complying with the law, CCSA has worked with Public Advocates and the CDE since the release of that report to issue guidance that will assist charter schools in developing charter petitions and other foundational documents that reflect the practices that should be universal across the charter school sector in California.

CCSA has also developed new guidance on this topic, which is consistent with the Advisory issued by CDE. To view this guidance and sample policies, visit our website.

Don't Miss CCSA's Winter Business Managers' Meetings!

Have questions about the Governor’s 2015-16 State Budget Proposal and how the state’s financial situation will impact your school? Look no further than CCSA’s Business Managers' Meetings! We will cover the current funding rates, updates on proposed changes, information on state and federal categorical programs - plus legislative and regulatory updates. Find out more today.

Finance Academy Coming Soon!

Back by popular demand, the California Charter Schools Association is again offering our one-day Finance Academy, in partnership with FCMAT. This in-person workshop, offered in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego, will assist charter schools and developers in all phases and areas of financial management. Sign up today!

Learn at Conference, Lead at Advocacy Day

Conference: March 16-19, 2015 hundreds of charter leaders, teachers and supporters will come together in Sacramento, CA to share their voices, learn from each other, celebrate successes and build momentum for the charter movement. CCSA is proud to offer registration specials that include discounts for CCSA member schools and groups of 3+ or 10+. Register now with a purchase order and you won't pay until March 2015. Don't miss out on the dynamic 2015 CCSA Conference Programming. We look forward to hosting you in Sacramento.

Annual Charter School Day at the Capitol: CCSA will celebrate National Charter Schools Week by hosting our Annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento on Tuesday May 5, 2015. Registration is open! CCSA will schedule a meeting with your legislators based on your school’s physical address. School leaders, board members, teachers and parents are encouraged to participate. The event includes onsite training, lunch and an exciting program. This event is a benefit of CCSA membership and is complimentary to individuals from member schools. Register HERE today and watch last year’s video to learn more about the event and why your participation is critical. Questions? Email governmentaffairs@ccsa.org.