12/2/11 Charter News Round-Up

December 2, 2011

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Number of Charters Increase In California

The number of new charter schools continues to grow across the state. CCSA released our new schools data, as well as enrollment numbers, which demonstrate a healthy increase, despite a challenging economy and inequities in funding and facilities.

Several media outlets reported on this growth, and what it means at the local level. Read the article in the Sacramento Bee, and take a look at the list of new schools they provided to their readers. The San Bernardino Sun also profiled local growth, as well as the L.A. Downtown News. The latter also explained efforts of local parents looking to open a charter to meet the needs of their community. Along those lines, the San Jose Mercury News published an article linking the increase to charter friendly districts.

For more information on the growth, please visit our New Schools Press Kit with CCSA's official press release, fact sheet, and more.

Sweetwater District Backtracks On Charter Exclusion From College Program

Last week, CCSA, along with charter parents, presented a letter to the Sweetwater School District demanding an emergency board meeting to address the exclusion of charter school students from the Compact for Success Programs, along with other requests to include charter students in district sports competitions as well as stop the distribution of misinformation on charter schools. After a contentious and emotional board meeting this week, in which charter parents got the chance to speak directly to board members, the district reversed its policy. To read more on those developments, see the most recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune, as well as news stories from Univision San Diego, and La Prensa de San Diego.

LAUSD, UTLA Contract Agreement Creates Moratorium For Public School Choice Program

This week, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced a tentative contract agreement that creates more autonomy for teachers, giving them greater flexibility in the classroom over curricula, materials, hiring practices, and finances. However, the agreement also puts a moratorium on the district's Public School Choice (PSC) program, approved only two years ago to give charter schools and community groups the opportunity to operate new and low-performing schools, right before the third round of the PSC program was about to take place. The moratorium is disappointing to charter schools and CCSA, yet we are in support of the charter-like freedoms outlined in the agreement. For more on this issue, read the articles in the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and the Educated Guess blog. Another highlight in media coverage was the L.A. Daily News Editorial and the panel discussion in the radio show Which Way L.A., which featured CCSA President and CEO Jed Wallace.

Amidst a Precarious Budget Situation, Charter Petitions Reach Oakland Unified

Several districts across California are facing tight fiscal times. In Oakland, the district has voted to close a handful of schools, while at the same time, several charter petitioners are looking to open schools next year. Some of those applications and plans have already been presented publicly. To read more about what's happening in Oakland, see Katy Murphy's blog in the Oakland Tribune, as well as an article on the Fetch Your News website.

Speaking of tight budget situation, it was revealed this week that Governor Jerry Brown will be putting an initiative in next year's ballot that will increase sales and income taxes to generate funds for schools. The Sacramento Bee has more details. In addition, the same publication featured an Op-Ed from Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jonathan Raymond on the need to generate long-term solutions for schools. Read that here.

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