May 2015 CEO Message
May 25, 2015 California's charter public school movement is on fire. Together, over the last several weeks, we successfully participated in the LAUSD school board elections, turned out in big numbers at Advocacy Day, supported charter sponsored legislation at the Capitol, and continue to take action on the State budget. I am incredibly grateful to each of you for your tireless dedication to make sure students can access a high quality education and parents have a choice in the best school option for their children.
Last week, thousands of charter school parents, students, teachers and supporters voted in the school board runoff election in the Los Angeles Unified School District. It was a powerful demonstration of the passion of LA's charter community, which is deeply committed to playing an active role in the issues and events that impact public schools. Thank you to our amazing charter school community for sharing your voice!
While we were very disappointed to lose Tamar Galatzan, a trusted and highly respected leader, we are confident that Ref Rodriguez will champion the rights and needs of students and families, and we look forward to working with Mr. Schmerelson. For more on the elections, read L.A. school board seat is a pivotal win for charter school movement from the LA Times, and this great analysis of the election by the LA Weekly. To learn more about our sister organization, CCSA Advocates, visit their website.
The LAUSD races were not the only recent elections that charter leaders were watching. Charter schools gained additional support as a result of the election of Steve Glazer as State Senator (SD 7) who will take office immediately and Sonja Cameron to the Twin Rivers USD Board.
We hosted our most successful charter school day at the Capitol yet. More than 500 charter school students, parents, teachers, and school leaders flooded the Capitol this year for CCSA's annual Advocacy Day - by far one of the most important days for the charter school movement all year. We met with 110 legislative offices, just ten offices shy of the full 120 members of the legislature. And this was the first time we really emphasized the student voice, hosting our first ever Youth Symposium. Together, we showed our strength in numbers and our voice was heard. Watch this video recap from the event.
Our sponsored legislation cleared the Assembly Education Committee. Two of our sponsored bills: AB 1198 (Dababneh) which creates the California Credit Enhancement Program and AB 1426 (Levine) related to Blended Learning were unanimously approved as amended by the Assembly Education Committee. We are very pleased that these bills are moving forward in the legislative process. Special thanks to Delphine Sherman of Aspire Public Schools and Jennifer DaCosta from Granada Hills Charter High School who traveled to Sacramento to speak in support of this important legislation. You can watch the committee hearing on Calchannel and read our full statement on the CCSA website.
Even more great news coming from the Capitol as Governor Jerry Brown released the May Revision to his budget proposal for the 2015-16 fiscal year which includes $6.1 billion more for schools. California's recovery is resulting in significantly better revenues than projected and our charter schools are benefiting. Visit our State Budget Update for a full breakdown of proposed revisions to the 2015-16 budget.
Now that the May Revision has been released, the Assembly and Senate budget subcommittees are completing their work. Included in the budget is a $50 million increase for the Charter School Facility Grant Program. Please take a moment to sign on to our Action Alert and distribute to your networks. Let's urge these committees to include this critical facilities funding for charter schools in the final state budget. Send your letters today!
We know we have to advocate well for the nearly 550,000 students we are serving across the state, and the additional 158,000 students waiting to attend charter schools. Our ongoing advocacy work is essential to meeting the needs of these students and their families.
I love my job, working alongside so many talented and committed individuals. And I am so excited to see the great work charter schools are doing. Let's see what we can accomplish next.
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association