January 27, 2012:
Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) Report Shows Charter Schools Are Underfunded
This week, the LAO released a report which found that charter schools in California receive significantly less funding than their traditional public school peers, and also offered some recommendations to equalize funding over time. The report states that, on average, charters receive around 7% less than districts schools, with an even larger gap in elementary schools due to class size reduction subsidies. Part of the issue is also due to the way categorical programs are funded. To read more about it, see the articles in Educated Guess and La Opinión (Spanish). Sacramento radio station KFBK also highlighted the issue. To listen to that report, click here. You can also read CCSA's statement.
Facilities Issues For Charters Statewide
One of the most important issues for charter schools across the state is facilities. Finding and securing facilities can be an annual battle for those schools that apply for space to their district under Proposition 39. February 1st is the deadline for districts to send preliminary offers to schools that applied. This week, several publications published local stories that shed on what's happening in their area. For instance, following the decision by the CA State Supreme Court last week to uphold the Prop. 39 Bullis case, the Los Altos Unified District is taking steps to comply with Prop. 39, by setting up special meetings. Read more on the efforts in the Los Altos Crier. In Los Angeles, CCSA's Allison Bajracharya penned an op-ed on the truth behind co-locations--which are sites shared by charter schools and district schools--in the online publication Patch.com.
In Sacramento, the recently approved Oak Park Prep, a middle school under the St. HOPE public schools which is set to open its doors in the fall, is fighting to secure facilities. Read what's happening in the Sacramento Press. Close to Sacramento, charter school petitioners in Lodi are eyeing an abandoned school site as a possible location. However, some residents are opposed to that idea. For more, see the article in the Lodi News-Sentinel.
Hybrid Education Models Changing Public Education
With the recent approval of several Rocketship schools set to open within the decade in the Silicon Valley area, many are exploring the benefits of "hybrid" education models, in which face-to-face instruction is blended in with computer instruction. For Rocketship, the model has proven successful at the existing schools. That was the topic of discussion in a recent report issued by the California Report. Click here to listen to a panel discussion on this topic on Michael Kransky's Forum show on KQED-AM.
Charter School Enrollment Surpasses 2 Million
This year charter schools across California and the nation experienced tremendous growth, both in numbers and enrollment. In California, students attending charter schools surpass 412,000, making up a large percentage of the nation's two-million charter students. Recently, the Heartland Institute contacted CCSA to discuss this incredible growth, and what it means for the movement. See the article in the Heartland Institute.