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California Legislature Returns to Decide Fate of Online Charter Schools

Branché Jones

July 27, 2016


California State LegislatureOn Monday, August 1st, the California Legislature will return from its summer recess. When they return they will have until August 31st to complete all legislative business for the year. Since this is the second year of a two-year session, all bills that are not passed to the Governor Jerry Brown’s desk will be officially dead. With the budget a done deal and most of the ‘easier’ bills acted upon, the legislature will be dealing with a number of contentious issues. For virtual charter schools there is one bill moving through the process that could severely limit their ability to operate in the future. AB 1084, by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, would prohibit a virtual or online charter school from being owned, or operated by, or operated as, a for-profit entity. The bill would also prohibit a nonprofit online charter school, nonprofit charter virtual academy and a nonprofit entity that operates an online or virtual charter school from contracting with a for-profit entity for the provision of instructional services. Though the charter school is defined as one that provides 80% of online teaching and pupil interaction, instructional services is not defined. This means that instructional materials, supplemental materials, special education services, and a number of other products and services could fall under the definition. AB 1084 would become effective for the 2017-18 school year. A number of charter school entities lined up to oppose the bill when it was heard in the Senate Education Committee, but it passed out on a 6-2 vote with the Chair, Carol Liu, abstaining. The measure is now on the Senate Floor and, if it passes it, will be headed to the Assembly Floor for final passage.
To register your concerns about this bill, please call your State Senator and ask that they oppose it on the Senate Floor. To view the language in the bill and the analysis of it, go to and put in the bill number.

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