California State FlagOn August 21st, the legislature will reconvene from summer recess and make one final push to put legislation on the Governor’s desk. Once they’re back they will have until September 15th to act on all remaining legislation before they adjourn for Interim Recess. After adjournment, the Governor will have until October 15th to sign or veto all legislation, with legislation that he signs becoming law on January 1, 2018 unless the measure has an urgency clause in it. The legislature will then reconvene on January 3, 2018 to begin the second year of the 2017-18 legislative session.
When the legislature does return there will be two bills left that could impact California’s charter schools. The measures are AB 318 by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero and AB 1217 by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra; they will both be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee before heading to the Senate Floor for a vote if they pass out of committee.
AB 318 would require all independent study programs in the state to implement a policy that has a teacher interact with each student bi-weekly either in person or by a visual aid. This measure has strong opposition from the California Consortium for Independent Study and charter school groups. It originated from a student tragedy in Monterey County and it is sponsored by the Monterey County Office of Education. Though the bill has stiff opposition it has steadily moved through the legislature. If it passes the Senate Appropriations Committee it will head to the Senate Floor and then back to the Assembly Floor for a concurrence vote on the amendments that were taken in the Senate.
AB 1217 would create a statewide STEM school based in Los Angeles, however the measure would provide charter school funding through the charter school statute and would provide a facility for the school through the SB 740 charter school facility grant program. 1217 is a typical “gut and amend” meaning that it was created and first appeared in print in its current form on July 19th. The legislation did not exist in print until then and there were no hearings on the measure before it was amended. Though the measure does not directly impact charter schools it is alarming that they are utilizing the charter school statutes to create the school though it is not considered a charter school. This should raise questions about how the charter school statutes may be utilized in the future. Similar to AB 318, if this measure passes the Senate Appropriations Committee it will head to the Senate Floor and then back to the Assembly for final action.
To view these measures go to legislature.ca.gov hit the bill information link on the top left of the page and put in the bill number.

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