San Diego Leaders, Community Celebrate 20th Anniversary of California Charter Schools, Advocate for Passage Of Prop. 30 and Prop. Z

October 13, 2012

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
vwaters@calcharters.org
(415) 505-7575

San Diego, CA - Thousands of San Diego charter school parents, students, and families celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the charter schools movement in California this Saturday at Balboa Park, with student performances and a focus on the impact of charter schools in transforming public education.

"California's charter school law has initiated a broad reform movement consisting of parents and educators who are coming together to create new schools which are better meeting the needs of students and encouraging improvement throughout our public education system. As more charter schools open and as more Californians become aware of the great new options that charter schools are creating for communities across the state, we see a growing recognition that the charter school movement is becoming one of the most important reform efforts to have happened in many years," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).

San Diego Unified is the second largest school district in California, and is home to 42 charter schools (SY 2011-12) and more than 15,000 students. San Diego County had 95 charters last year, serving more than 48,000 students. In the past 20 years, charter schools have experienced tremendous growth, not just in numbers but also influence. Despite this growth, however, charter schools and the families they serve continue to experience obstacles, including facilities and funding inequity.

To that end, the celebration also served as a springboard to encourage families and supporters to vote in the upcoming November elections. Speeches at the celebration also urged participants to advocate for the passage of Proposition 30 at the state level, as well as Proposition Z locally. Proposition 30 is the only solution that will end the chronic state budget cuts that have severely harmed our schools, and provide increased funding and stability for California's historically volatile budget, putting schools and public safety first. If Prop. 30 doesn't pass, there will be an automatic trigger cut to education of $5 billion, or $460 per student. Proposition Z is a San Diego Unified School District facilities bond measure, in which charter schools will receive a pro-rata share of the bond revenues, $350 million, based on enrollment to be used for facility improvements, development of new facilities, technology, and more. The Board of Education has also created a committee of primarily charter leaders to recommend which charter school projects should be funded with Proposition Z dollars.

"Charter schools are systematically underfunded in California. Proposition 30 will provide real solutions and funding that will go directly to where it is needed most--the classroom, and it will help our public education system to get back on track. Proposition Z ensures all public school students, including those that attend charters, will have a fair share of the funding, and equal access to improved facilities," added Wallace.

"San Diego Unified has been working very collaboratively with charter schools, because we believe that all public school students should be treated equitably. One of those recent collaborations was the placement of Proposition Z in the November ballot, which would ensure all public schools, including charters, in the district get badly needed repairs and renovations. It is imperative for the community to come together, and approve this important measure," said Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified School Board Member.

In the fall of 1992, Governor Pete Wilson signed SB 1446, better known as the Charter Schools Act, making California the second state to formally establish the creation of charter schools. The charter movement has transformed public education, and heralded in an era in which parents and communities can create schools of choice for their children and have greater flexibility and richer learning environments in exchange for added accountability.

This school year, San Diego County has 104 charter schools, 49 of them operating within San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). There are over 55,000 charter students in San Diego County, and over 19,000 in SDUSD. This year, California has over 1,000 charter schools and over 450,000 students, the most of any other state in the U.S. The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) held celebratory events in San Jose and Oakland this weekend to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the charter movement. CCSA is planning other events throughout the year in different cities.

For more information on the 20th Anniversary of charter schools in California, visit http://anniversary.calcharters.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 982 charter public schools and more than 412,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.calcharters.org.

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