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Budget Agreement Creates Bad Policy for California Charter Schools

Branché Jones

June 17, 2013


The California Legislature has adopted a budget and passed it, along with the trailer bills, to the Governor for his signature.  The Governor won the fight over changing how schools are funded in California as a form of his Local Control Funding Formula was adopted but the education trailer bill created new accountability for charter schools.  This accountability also comes with removal of a charter schools ability to appeal certain revocations.  While the California State Board of Education will have to work out the process through regulations; California charter school policy has taken a step backwards as the language will allow charter school authorizers new ways to show their hostility to charters under their jurisdiction. Below is a short outline of the accountability measures that were adopted for charter schools, as you can see the consequences can be devastating.
A charter school petition will be required to include a description of the school’s annual goals for academic achievement for all students and each subgroup of students.  These goals will have to be updated each year by July 1st beginning in 2015 and will also have to identify specific actions that will be taken to meet these goals using a template created by the State Board of Education that will include:

  1. A review of the progress toward the goals included in the charter, an assessment of the effectiveness of the specific actions described in the charter toward achieving the goals and a description of changes to the actions that the charter school will make as a result of the review and assessment.
  2. A listing and description of the expenditures for the fiscal year implementing the specific actions included in the charter as a result of the reviews and assessment.

Charter schools will also be required to consult with teachers, principals, other staff, parents, and pupils in the annual update.  The State Board of Education is also authorized to revoke any charter, whether it is the authorizer or not, if it finds the charter school failed to improve pupil outcomes across multiple state and local priorities.
Additionally, there are interventions if a charter school fails to improve pupil outcomes for pupil subgroups in regards to more than one state or local priority in three out of four consecutive school years:

  1. The chartering authority shall provide technical assistance to the charter school, using the rubric created by the State Board of Education.
  2. The Superintendent of Public Instruction may assign, at the request of the chartering authority and approval of the State Board, newly created California Collaborative for Educational Excellence to provide technical assistance to the charter school.

The language also requires a chartering authority to consider the revocation of any charter school to which the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence has provided advice and assistance and has made either of following findings:
1.  The charter school has failed to implement, or is unable to implement their recommendations.
2.  The inadequate performance of the charter school is either so persistent or so acute as to require revocation.
A charter school is not allowed to appeal a revocation under this section of new law.
This creates terrible policy for California charter schools and their supporters.  You should call the Governor’s office and urge him to reject this language which is contained in Assembly Bill 97.  To view the entire bill go to and put in the bill number.  You can call the Governor’s office at (916) 445-2841.

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