CCSA Answers: Authorizers Request for Student & Parent Information

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September 21, 2015 Question: Are charter schools required to provide student or parent contact information to their authorizer upon request?

Answer: Education Code Section 47604.3 requires charter schools to promptly respond to all reasonable inquiries from its authorizer. If the basis for the authorizer's request for student information is reasonably related to its oversight functions, then the charter school should comply with the request. Before providing student information, charter schools should seek clarity from the authorizer about the basis for the request and intended use of the information. Charter schools should also review their petition and MOU to determine whether the school expressly agreed to provide the requested information, or whether there are other ways for school to meet the authorizer's need for the information.

If the school previously agreed in its petition or MOU to provide the requested information, or if there is no other way to comply with the authorizer's request, then the charter school should provide the requested information. However, the school should be clear that it is furnishing the information for the sole purposes described by the authorizer, and that the authorizer is not authorized to use the information for other purposes or to contact any individual using the information furnished by the charter school.

For example, student contact information may be requested by an authorizer in order to verify residency which triggers eligibility for categorical block grant funding. Charter schools may wish to explore whether there are other ways for school to establish eligibility for funding, such as limiting information to CALPADS student number and address, but not providing full names or phone numbers. Even when doing so, the school should make clear that the authorizer is not authorized to use the information for other purposes or to contact any individual based on the information provided.