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California Charter Schools Take One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

Branché Jones

May 9, 2013


Last week the Assembly Education Committee passed AB 948, as amended, out of committee on a unanimous vote.  AB 948 is authored by Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen and sponsored by the California Charter Schools Association.  The amendments adopted in committee would expand the SB 740 facility grant program by lowering the threshold of the program below 70% free and reduced lunch by one percentage point at a time once the schools in areas with greater than 70% are fully funded.  The measure also allows the program to be used to purchase facilities and on debt service for facilities.  That is the one step forward; the two steps backwards are the concessions that the Association agreed to in order to use the program for purchase and debt service.  If the program is going to be used for purchase or debt service then the charter schools will have to adhere to the field act.  Additionally, the measure subjects all charter schools utilizing the SB 740 facility grant program to the audit guide.  The field act and the audit guide are two areas that charter schools have worked hard to stay away from over the last two decades.  So though AB 948 expands the facility grant program it includes charter schools in two areas that are detrimental to the movement.  These are two vital concessions that never should have been made.

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