Action – Ventura County residents! – Join our Indivisible CA coalition in calling for these great controls on charter schools!
“On top of complex real estate deals, charter school operators often “save” money by cutting teacher pay, hiring inexperienced school staff and avoiding children with disabilities. These “savings” are added to executive salaries rather than invested in serving all children and providing solid middle class jobs for teachers and staff. We need great schools for all children—not just for some. Schools owned by us, not private companies. Let’s make sure every dollar we spend on education is spent on education, not skimmed off by real estate investors or to pay high-priced management fees.” (Capital and Main)
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m urging Assemblymember [___] to support AB 1505, AB 1506, AB 1507, and SB 756. This package of bills is essential to holding charter schools accountable to local communities and ensuring that charter proliferation won’t destabilize another school district.
Background from indivisibleeeg.org
AB 1505 – Charter schools petitions. This bill allows districts to deny a charter petition if the new charter school would have a negative fiscal, academic, or facilities impact on the district. It also eliminates charter operators’ ability to appeal to the county and then the State Board of Education if a district says no. These two reforms recognize the adverse impact charters have in heavily targeted cities and also return local control to our school districts.
In addition. it tightens up standards & oversight: Evaluation rubrics & performance criteria will be applied equally to all schools. The charter school petition needs to describe the means by which will achieve a balance of special education students & English learner students that is reflective of the general population of the school district. Requires that their teachers hold the Commission on Teaching Credentialing certificate. For the charter to be renewed the school has to meet certain academic criteria, such as attaining its Academic Performance Index.
The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and is now in the Appropriations Committee, a decision is expected on May 16. If it passes out of Appropriations, 1505 will go to the Assembly for a floor vote. It will be highly contested.
AB 1506 – Charter schools: statewide total: authorization restrictions. This bill would impose a cap at the number of charters operating statewide—1,323 right now—and a new charter could only open if one closes. The bill also establishes a cap in each individual district.
A school district that has enough seats for all of its students is ineligible for new construction funding. Charter schools are not subject to this constraint. According to a 2017 study by In the Public Interest – a total of 447 California charter schools have opened in places where there already were seats available for every student. At least 30% of charter schools were opened in places that had no need for additional seats (and failed to provide a superior education) at a net cost to taxpayers of nearly $400 million. Charter schools make it difficult for a school district to consolidate schools in the face of falling enrollment. If a school closes, a charter school is free to open a school in the same location. Over 400 charter schools have closed since 1992. .In 2017-18 44 California charter schools closed. When charter schools close the school districts must accommodate their students. The volatility of charter schools forces school districts to maintain a modest cushion of surplus capacity. Establishing a cap will give school districts financial stability.
The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and is now in the Appropriations Committee, where again, a decision is expected on May 16. If it passes out of Appropriations, 1506 will go to the Assembly for a floor vote. It will be highly contested.
AB 1507 – Charter schools: location: resource center. This bill would end the ability of a district to authorize a charter school and then place it in another district.
There have been a number of high-profile cases in which school districts have authorized charter schools outside of the district in order to generate revenue through “oversight” fees. Over 10% of the State’s charter schools have at least one school outside of the authorizing district’s boundaries.
The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee.
SB 756 – Charter schools: moratorium. This bill would establish a 5-year moratorium on all new charters statewide unless the reforms in the three bills above are enacted before 2020. The bill has passed out of the Senate Education Committee.