May 20, 2011:
Anti-Charter Bill Clears State Assembly, Heads to Senate
A bill that would, among other things, cap the number of charter schools in California for the next five years passed the Assembly this week. AB 401, by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), passed with a 45-29 vote. The bill is just one in a series of unprecedented attacks against charter schools in California, and CCSA will continue to fight against it. For more, read the Associated Press story. Also, read CCSA's official statement. The Fresno Bee published an editorial on the negative legislation, as well.
State Budget and Education
This week, Governor Jerry Brown released the May Revise of the budget, which included an increase in funds for public education. However, the budget plan still relies heavily on a special election to extend taxes. For more on this, read the L.A. Times Columnist George Skelton's take, and John Fensterwald's blog, as well as stories on how the budget is impacting schools in the San Bernardino Sun and the Voice of San Diego.
Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education Race
Voters this week cast their decision on the Los Angeles Unified School District board seat left vacant by incumbent Yolie Flores. Veteran teacher Bennett Kayser is leading the race against community activist Luis Sanchez, with 51% of the vote to 49%, respectively. However, absentee ballots are still to be counted. For more on the this story, read the articles in the Daily News, and Echo Rock Patch.
Proposition 39 Offers
The Los Angeles Unified School District released this week the list of final offers on facilities to charter schools under Proposition 39 for the year. The list reveals that the number of seats offered to charter school students for the next school year are higher than in recent history. However, charter schools and CCSA still have numerous concerns on these offers, which include numerous co-locations and discontigous sites. For more, read the Daily News story and CCSA's Jed Wallace statement.
In Santa Rosa, a charter school's plans to build its own campus have fallen flat for this year, and they are now scrambling to find space to house their students. The Santa Rosa Academy is working to find facilities for their students through the district, which can be a challenge to charter schools. Read the details in the Press Enterprise.
Charter Stories Across the State
After placing second place in the White House Commencement Challenge, High Tech High announced this week that their commencement speech for the graduating class will be given by NASA Chief and former astronaut Charles Bolden. High Tech High, one of the nation's top charter schools, competed with other public schools in the nation for the chance to have President Barack Obama speak at their graduation ceremony. For more, read the article in the San Diego Union Tribune.
In San Jose, Rocketship is looking to the county to open more top quality charter schools. After being rejected by the Ravenswood City School District, Rocketship is now looking to present the applications to San Mateo County. As more charters are denied by districts, charters and charter operators are using their appeal rights in order to be able to expand to meet the growing demand for charter schools. The San Jose Mercury News has the story.