Update: Assemblymember Brownley, Senator Simitian and the California Charter Schools Association have decided to delay action on a package of three bills (AB 360, AB 440 and SB 645) that would create a standard of transparency and academic accountability to further support high-performing charter schools. The governor has expressed an interest in working with us in the fall on this legislation.
CCSA is committed to the reforms that this bill package includes, and along with our members, we will continue to work with the Legislature and the Governor during the fall to complete the most comprehensive and workable package possible.
Legislative efforts to address charter school management and governance
Since CCSA's inception, the Association has worked to ensure that fair and reasonable standards are in place regarding charter school governance, finance and operations. As the movement has matured, the vast majority of California's charter schools have adopted practices that model the kind of excellent management and governance that the public demands of all public schools. Many of these common sense practices, such as conforming with public meeting requirements or responding to public records requests, have been voluntarily adopted by nearly all charter schools in the state.
For several years, the charter school movement has been supportive of making California's charter school law reflect the best practices that most charter schools follow. Unfortunately, many proposed pieces of legislation regarding charter school governance and operations have been laden with other provisions designed to fundamentally compromise charter school flexibility or undermine charter schools ability to succeed with students. As such, the Association opposed legislation until proposals could be crafted which address in law the best practices that many charter schools are already following.
Assemblymember Brownley, the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, has introduced legislation for the last several years seeking to occupy the field on these issues. In their introduced form, these bills have been unacceptable to charter schools.
CCSA reaches agreement on charter school governance, finance and operations
Over the past few years, CCSA worked extensively with Assemblymember Brownley, the Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and author of several charter school bills, to see if legislation could be crafted which would further our effort to bring forward appropriate accountability measures for charter school governance, finance and operations. We are pleased to report that Assemblymember Brownley and CCSA have now reached an agreement that sets up the charter school movement to continue modeling organizational excellence for all public schools for the long term.
In the course of our discussions with Assemblymember Brownley, it also became apparent that we could reach consensus on additional matters of importance to the charter school movement. The first was the need to increase minimum academic performance requirements and to tighten renewal processes for low performing charter schools - a need that Assemblymember Brownley addressed in her own legislation and that Senator Simitian also recognized when he authored SB 645, sponsored by CCSA. The second was the longstanding need to update and reform California's charter school facility program to provide additional access to previously allocated funds for charter schools serving low income students.
Bills provide clarity, address accountability and increase access to quality facilities
What has emerged is a package of three bills which we believe respect the fundamental charter school proposition, which is that charter schools embrace high levels of accountability in exchange for freedom from regulation and bureaucracy while receiving funding commensurate with what is provided to other public schools. As such, we are pleased to support a package of bills which are described below.
The package of bills recognizes the increased flexibility and increased accountability that charter schools in California receive. With this package, charter schools will have increased:
- Clarity on governance law
- Academic accountability
- Access to quality facilities
Content of Legislation
Please view details on this package of bills by visiting the links below.
Related Information and Resources
- Read about this and other bills affecting charter schools this year - including full text of each bill
- Blogger John Fensterwald outlines the bills in a post on Thoughts on Public Education