The following was released by the California Charter School Association
Sacramento, CA – In response to the long-awaited Charter Task Force Report, California’s charter public schools and members of the task force commended Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond for bringing the diverse group of education leaders together to chart a path forward for California’s students.
“These are polarizing times, and Superintendent Thurmond had the difficult task of pulling together education stakeholders who have passionately disparate views about the vision for California’s public school system,” said Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO, CCSA. “While we recognize that this marks an important step forward in fulfilling the charge entrusted by Governor Newsom to Superintendent Thurmond, there are elements that are deeply concerning and require more work ahead. But ultimately, these efforts will play a pivotal role in charting a path forward for California’s students.”
At the request of Governor Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond convened district administrators, labor leaders, and charter school representatives to recommend revisions for modernizing the Charter Schools Act. Members of the Charter Task Force began meeting regularly in Sacramento beginning in March.
“I’m very pleased that the task force was able to reach unanimous agreement on the preservation of charter school appeal rights as they exist in current law, which includes preservation of the state board of education as the appellate body of last resort,” said Margaret Fortune, Fortune School President and CEO and CCSA Board Chair. “The state plays a critical role in preserving the fundamental protection of our due process rights, helping to ensure our families have access to high-quality schools that they deserve.”
Ultimately, the task force affirmed that an entire ecosystem of public school offerings contributes to ensuring all students have access to a great public education, including charter schools. Success of a strong public education system is only possible when high academic and operational standards are in place and upheld.
“The needs of students came first in this process,” said Cristina de Jesus, Green Dot Public Schools California President and CEO. “We agreed that academic achievement must be a primary driver in local decision making when districts evaluate charter school petitions. This is a win for students. Charter schools are meeting the needs of families across the state and are helping our most vulnerable students, especially Latino and black students, achieve academic success and be prepared for college and life after high school.”
Notably, the task force also met its primary charge to address any fiscal impact of charter school enrollment on school district funding by recommending that districts receive “hold harmless” funding for charter enrollment loss. This change will ensure that school districts receive the same one-year transitional funding support for charter schools as they currently receive, due to other enrollment loss.
Overall, the Charter School Task Force reached unanimous agreement around the following four key policy recommendations that will help improve education for all students, regardless of which public school they attend:
- Appeal Rights: Allow for additional factors when considering authorization of a new charter school that balances local enrollment with academic performance. Importantly, the task force affirmed that the appeals process should be preserved as currently stipulated in California Education Code.
- Charter Petition Review: Extend the timeline to approve or deny a new charter school petition an additional 30 days (60 days to hearing, and a total of 90 days for decision).
- Statewide Authorizing Oversight Authority: Create a statewide entity to develop standards, used by authorizers, for providing oversight to charter schools; and provide training for authorizers.
- School District Fiscal Impact Funding: Provide schools districts with one-year “hold harmless” funding to account for net loss of average daily attendance (ADA) due to students transferring to a charter school.
About California’s Charter Schools
California’s charter schools are public schools built to put the needs of students first. Public, free, and open to all, charter schools are a valuable part of our public education system. They offer a different approach — one that is as unique as the kids they serve, one that puts kids above bureaucracy, and one that gives passionate teachers the flexibility to create dynamic lesson plans tailored to kids’ individual needs. As a result, charter schools send more kids to college and are preparing more kids for the jobs of tomorrow.