CCSA Answers: Lobbying Against Anti-Charter Legislation

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April 24, 2017 Question: Can charter school board members visit elected officials in Sacramento to lobby against proposed anti-charter legislation?

Answer: Lobbying in connection with legislation affecting charter schools is acceptable.  However, charter schools that are 501(c)(3) organizations must ensure that the lobbying is kept to a minimum and is not a "substantial part" of their activities.  A charter with 501(c)(3) status must also ensure that it follows the rules set forth in the Political Reform Act for reporting expenses for lobbying purposes. (See Government Code Section 86115 et seq.) Finally, the charter school board should ensure that all expenses are authorized according to the charter's administrative policies.

A complete guide to the Dos and Don'ts of Charter Schools and Advocacy Activities is available here.

CCSA has also created a Legislative Advocacy Toolkit, a resource to help charter leaders effectively engage Legislators and other local officials in charter school issues. The Toolkit includes useful information on how you can get involved, as well as the life cycle of a bill, the budget process, and the protocols for scheduling a meeting with your elected officials.