January 2016 CEO Message

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January 23, 2016

Happy New Year! Each new year presents fresh opportunities to tackle our advocacy goals on behalf of the 580,000 students enrolled in California's 1,230 charter schools, and the additional 158,000 students waiting for the charter education they deserve.

As you may know, Myrna Castrejón, SVP, Government Affairs, CCSA accepted an extraordinary offer to become the Executive Director of Great Public Schools Now in Los Angeles. It is with overwhelming gratitude for the amazing contributions Myrna made during more than 12 years of service at CCSA, through her tireless efforts to ensure millions of historically underserved students get the education they deserve, that we wish Myrna the absolute best. And we look forward to many more years of working together to advance our shared commitment to the public school students of Los Angeles.

During this time of transition, we are pleased to announce Colin Miller, Vice President Policy, CCSA, will serve as Acting SVP, Government Affairs. Colin's depth of knowledge and commitment to our movement make him the right person to provide leadership to take on the opportunities and challenges facing charter schools as we move forward with an ambitious 2016 legislative agenda.

We start the 2016 season in the Capitol with some very good news. On January 7, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown introduced his proposed state budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The budget includes $5.4 billion more for K-14 education, including $2.8 billion more for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), $1.2 billion in one-time block grants and, most significantly, $20 million to support charter school start up grants.

This will be the first time any state monies are invested to foster charter school growth. And now it is our turn to fight hard to retain those monies. The Governor's proposal is only the first step of a budget negotiation process that will continue through June. We will keep you posted as details emerge, including opportunities for you to get involved to help pass the budget and secure the Governor's proposed funding for charter schools. 

In the meantime, you can find more information on our website, including our 2016-17 Governor's Budget Brief that provides details of the proposal and its specific impact on charter schools, and our LCFF simulator. Learn more.

Another tremendous financial opportunity for California's charter schools is the Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP). The February application process will be opening soon, and I encourage you to take advantage of the resources we offer to support our members. In the fall round, 100% of schools that participated in our supports received funding.

This year's conference theme, the March to One Million, speaks to the incredible growth, momentum and opportunity that is California's charter school movement. We are thrilled to offer high profile speakers and over 160 Breakout Sessions on the most critical topics for the charter school movement. Register now for conference 2016.

I look forward to working with you this year to advocate for an improved charter school authorizing structure, the freedom to innovate, and the resources to continue growing our movement with quality. Together we will ensure an ever growing number of families are able to entrust their children's education to a high performing charter public school.

Sincerely,

Jed Walllace
President and CEO
California Charter Schools Association