– Not to the benefit of charter schools

Last week the legislature’s Assembly Education Committee continued its year-long process of passing anti-charter school legislation that could impact charter school funding.  After passing AB 917 earlier this year, which adds classified employees to the list of signatures needed for a charter school conversion, the committee passed AB 1032 this week.  AB 1032 radically changes the Proposition 39 facility options for charter schools with new requirements around how you quantify facilities and what the district’s responsibilities are.  Additionally, AB 377 was voted down by the committee.  That measure would have allowed non-classroom based charter schools to claim ADA for any student anywhere in the state.  This is similar to proposals in the Governor’s budget that would address the contiguous county limitation that non-classroom based charter schools currently are hampered by.  The anti-charter school legislative assault will continue this week in the Assembly Local Government Committee when they hear AB 913 which would create conflict of interest laws for charter schools and possibly make certain board violations criminal by applying Government Code 1090.  To view any of these bills go to www.leginfo.ca.gov and type in the bill number.
On a positive front, the Administration continues to support strong policy changes for charter schools in the budget subcommittee hearings – policies that support charter school funding.  Both the Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees have voted to transfer the SB 740 facility grant program and the Charter School Revolving Loan Program from CDE to CSFA in the State Treasurer’s Office. The administration’s other charter school changes are still being held ‘open’ in the subcommittees.  These changes include:

  • Adding non-classroom based charter schools to the Sb740 facility grant program
  • Dramatically altering the SB740 regulatory process
  • Extending the surplus property requirements for charter schools
  • Making the law more flexible for all online schools in the state

The Governor’s new funding formula, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), is also still being considered by the legislature and it appears they are coalescing around a few changes which would include:

  • Increasing the base grants for all districts and charter schools
  • Requiring the SPI to review accountability plans in order to maintain flexibility over categorical funds
  • Providing some increase to the base grant for redesignated EL students after year five
  • Pulling ou some key categorical programs from the flexibility provisions (e.g. CTE programs, Adult Ed)
  • Reducing or changing the county office of education funding formula to be “less generous”

This week, the Assembly Education Committee will hear AB 88. AB 88 contains the Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula proposal. While members of the Legislature and education stakeholders are expected to air their concerns, there will not be any major action on the proposal until after the Governor releases his May Revision on May 15.

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