Capitol Update 2/26/15

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February 28, 2015

Tomorrow is the final day for bills to be introduced in the California State Legislature. Bill introduction deadline week is a hectic time in the State Capitol, with legislators, legislative staffers, and lobbyists booked with many last minute meetings as they finalize their bill package or secure bill authors. This year 1,360 bills have been introduced so far, and 560 of those bills were introduced in the past three days alone. For comparison, last year 1,503 bills were introduced in total. With two days left before the deadline, we are well on track to surpass last year’s record.

Two Anti-Charter Bills Introduced

This week two anti-charter bills were introduced—SB 322 (Leno) related to charter school expulsions and suspensions, and AB 709 (Gipson) related to charter school boards and conflict of interest. SB 322 would make charter schools subject to discipline provisions in the Education code, removing a fundamental flexibility offered to charter schools. In addition it reduces the time from 30 days to 10 days in which a charter school has to notify the district that a student has left the school and requires charter schools to collect data regarding teacher turnover. AB 709 (Gipson) is similar to conflict of interest legislation that CCSA strongly opposed last year subjecting charter school boards to the Brown Act, Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, the Public Records Act and the Political Reform Act of 1974.

No action can be taken on a bill until 30 days after it has been introduced. CCSA is continuing to evaluate these bills and other potential anti-charter measures in the coming days. We will have a more comprehensive list of bills that have been introduced next week.

Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio Calculations for Independent Study

Senate Bill 858, enacted June 20, 2014, changed the way independent study ratios are calculated from a school-wide calculation to a required calculation by grade span. Many charter schools raised concerns about the impact of this change, and CCSA has been working with both the Departments of Education (CDE) and Finance (DOF) to clarify these provisions. This week, CDE reported that due to the late timing of the legislation and late availability of the requisite instructions for making the calculations, for the purposes of calculating the ratios for 2014-15, local education agencies can choose to calculate ratios by grade span or on an overall local education agency-wide basis. The CDE has posted instructions and worksheets for calculating ratios for independent study on their website. We appreciate DOF and CDE’s guidance on this issue. We also note that there is also proposed statutory amendment in the Governor’s Budget that will eliminate this grade span ratio requirement permanently. CCSA will advocate for this permanent solution through the budget process.

Prop. 39 New Energy Expenditure Plan Online System will be available Friday, February 27

Starting on Friday, February 27, 2015 LEAs may submit Energy Expenditure Plan applications under the 2015 Guideline rules using the new streamlined, online application process. Each LEA will receive a "Welcome to Energy Expenditure Plan Online" e-mail that includes the web address link to the Energy Expenditure Plan Online system. Questions may be directed to Prop39@energy.ca.gov or the Proposition 39 Hotline, toll-free at 855-380-8722, or for those out-of-state at (916) 653-0392.

Learn at Conference, Lead at Advocacy Day

Conference: At the 22nd Annual CCSA Conference, March 16-19, 2015 in Sacramento, CA you will learn how to increase the impact you're having in your community by attending sessions on leadership, advocacy and more. Engage in sessions on regional and statewide issues that affect your students, your school and your community with topics that include: 

CCSA's Leadership and Advocacy strand
CCSA’s School Development, Replication and Growth strand
Explore the entire 2015 Program!

CCSA's Standard Registration Rate ends this Friday, February 27. Register today!

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 year, we are launching an exciting new program with our first ever youth symposium for students attending Advocacy Day. 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.