October 14, 2010: The 2010 Legislative session officially ended on August 31, with the Governor having one month after the end of session to sign or veto legislation. Importantly to charter school supporters, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed two pieces of legislation that CCSA opposed, AB 572 and AB 2543. Thank you to the thousands of charter school supporters who communicated to the Governor urging his veto of these measures and we would like to thank the Governor and his staff for continuing to defend the interests of charter schools in the state. By vetoing these measures the Governor again showed his commitment to the charter school movement as he has done since the day he came into office. AB 572 (Brownley) would have imposed new draconian conflict of interest policies and audit standards on charter schools, and AB 2543 (Lowenthal) would have created new statewide renewal timelines without consideration of local situations.
In vetoing AB 572, Governor Schwarzenegger said, in part, that "parents do not need renewed faith in charter schools as suggested in this bill. On the contrary, tens of thousands of parents in California have children on waiting lists to attend a public charter school...A careful reading of the bill reveals that the proposed changes apply new and contradictory requirements, which would put hundreds of schools immediately out of compliance, making it obvious that it is simply another veiled attempt to discourage competition and stifle efforts to aid the expansion of charter schools." We wholeheartedly agree with the Governor and thank him for his veto of this measure.
Additionally, the Governor's veto of AB 2543 stated that "orderly processing of petitions to renew charter schools is a reasonable goal expressed by the author and the sponsor. Leaving charter school petitioners at the mercy of an authorizer empowered to manipulate deadlines and information in the public record, however, is not the appropriate remedy, particularly if the ultimate result is to close the school or leverage concessions on the design or finances of the school going forward. After careful review, the measure has not adequately established safeguards to ensure the latest information available on student achievement is initially considered and that a truly fair opportunity for due process would continue for appeals." CCSA agrees that while clarification of renewal timelines is beneficial to the charter school movement as a whole, this bill did not accomplish that goal.
In addition to vetoing the above-mentioned bills, the Governor signed AB 184 (Block) into law. The bill provides statutory authority for the California Department of Education (CDE) to give school districts their 2009-10 Special Disabilities Adjustment funds. Each year, Special Disabilities Adjustment funds are allocated to assist school districts with high concentrations of students with the most costly disabilities, including autism, emotional disturbance, visual impairment, hearing impairment, brain trauma and multiple disabilities. However, CDE announced in June that it did not have the authority to distribute these funds in 2009-10, and without emergency legislation, would be forced to take back SDA funds that were already received and spent during 2009-10 school year. On July 1, school districts began to see their special education adjusted retroactively.
This bill will allow school districts to retain last year's SDA allocation. In addition, the legislation authorizes SDA allocations for the 2010-11 school year. However, this authorization will sunset after the 2010-11 school year without further legislation.
CCSA has actively supported AB 184 and is pleased to announce the success of this essential piece of legislation.
Thank you for your participation in CCSA's Action Alerts and your advocacy on behalf of California's charter schools. CCSA's advocacy efforts in Sacramento are more effective when we speak as a united voice, and your participation is crucial to that success.