February 3, 2012:
"Schools We Can Believe In" Rally on Saturday
This Saturday, thousands of parents are expected to rally in Los Angeles to tell elected leaders to put students first, and demand better schools in every neighborhood. The rally will include L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia and Superintendent Dr. John Deasy, as well as charter and other education leaders. Read an op-ed on the rally in Patch.com and visit www.familiesthatcan.org/rally for more information.
Legislation Impacting Charters is Passed
This week, two bills that have negative impact on charter schools moved forward in the Legislature, one even reaching Governor Brown's desk. AB 1172, which would empower districts to deny charter petitions on the basis of fiscal impact, was approved in the Assembly, and now heads to the Senate. Read CCSA's Statement and stories in the Whittier Daily News, the Sacramento Bee, and the Redding Record Searchlight article and Editorial.
The other, SB 81, which would restore transportation funding for many school districts, is awaiting the Governor's signature. The latter represents a permanent cut to charter schools that don't benefit from this program. Read articles in CalWatchdog, the Cabinet Report (subscription required), and the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Charter School Closure Measures Across the Country
This week, Time Magazine published an article exploring some of the growing measures to address underperformance in charter schools across the country, citing CCSA's recent Call for Non-Renewal. See what they said in the article.
Also, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers released a report which indicates that charter school closure rates are down nationwide. Read their press release here, as well as an article in Education Week.
Charter Funding Should be Equalized
Last week, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) released a report that highlighted and detailed the funding inequity in charter schools across California, and made suggestions on how to address this ongoing issue that affects so many of our schools. The U-T San Diego published this week an excellent editorial underlining the findings of the report. Read the editorial here.
Charter Facilities News Across California
This week marked the deadline for school districts across the state to make preliminary offers of Prop. 39 facilities to charter schools that submitted applications last fall. Facilities equity is one of CCSA's top priorities, and we are tracking those preliminary Prop. 39 offers. We're also seeing news outlets covering the issue. For instance, the situation between Bullis Charter school and the Los Altos School District on the Prop. 39 front is again stirring controversy. After the CA Supreme Court upheld a ruling that found the district in non-compliance, the district made a facilities offer to Bullis that would split the campus. Read the latest in the Mountain View and Patch.com.
On a more positive note, the Placer Herald published a piece that featured Rocklin's Western Sierra College Prep Academy's incredible effort of turning a warehouse into a school campus in less than a year, and the district offering a Prop. 39 "in lieu" to help finish construction. Read that article here. And further down south, the Capistrano Unified School District awarded the Oxford Prep Charter School the full campus where it's currently co-located with a district school. The latter has been in declining enrollment for several years. Read the article in the Orange County Register.
The Good News
We like to wrap up the week by highlighting some of the positive charter stories in the media this week. For instance, KPCC-AM did a story on the upcoming state Academic Decathlon, and how schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, including last year's winner, Granada Hills Charter, are preparing. Granada Hills also went on to win the National Decathlon competition. Read and hear the piece from KPCC-AM. And in Stockton, the charter school located in the middle of downtown is having a great impact not only on the students and families it's serving, but on the people that work and live in the area. Read what they're saying in the Stockton Record.