California Educator

September 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 63

Charter schools As the Educator went to press, the Legislature was about a week from its adjournment for the year, and a number of important CTA bills were still pending action. Among them is a package of co-sponsored bills that aim to increase accessibility, transparency and accountability at the state's public charter schools. Taken together, SB 322 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), AB 787 by Assembly Member Roger Hernández (D-West Covina), SB 329 by Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), and AB 709 by Assembly Member Mike Gipson (D-Carson) will: • Ensure unbiased access to charter schools for all stu- dents regardless of ethnic or economic background or disabilities. • Require charter schools to comply with open meeting and good govern- ment statutes. • Ensure that charter school employees can continue to unionize under the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), also called the Rodda Act. • Prohibit charter schools from being run as for-profit entities. AB 787 is expected to be sent to the governor to sign. The other three bills remain in the Legislature and will be rolled over to next session. When bills are sent to the governor in the last days of the legislative year, the law gives the governor 30 days instead of the usual 10 to review and sign or veto them. This year, the governor will have until Oct. 11 to finalize his decisions on the hundreds of bills that are being sent to him in the final days of the session. Reserve caps CTA and a coalition of education organizations are fighting a last-ditch effort by school district administrator groups to roll back a provision of law that under certain circumstances caps the amount of money districts can hold in their local reserve accounts. CTA opposes large district reserves because the stockpiling of funds comes at the expense of students and classroom instruction. During the recent Great Recession, local district reserves — which averaged about 30 percent of district budgets — were protected while districts decimated student instructional programs and slashed teaching positions. The larger issue involves transparency and local com- munity accountability. Changes outlined in SB 799 would repeal the caps, which means districts would not have to publicly account for or explain their reserves; they could use reserve funds however they see fit, not necessarily on students' education. The caps were set on local reserves as part of last year's budget agreement, which also established a Prop. 98 state- wide Rainy Day reserve fund to back up local districts and help them weather economic storms. Having uncapped reserve funds at both the local and state levels is redun- dant and unnecessary. Groups supporting SB 799 include the California School Boards Association and the Association of Cal- ifornia School Administrators. Exit exam requirement suspended Speedy action by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), the Legislature, and Gov. Jerry Brown has protected more than 5,000 high school seniors from losing their places in Legislative Update By Len Feldman 36 Advocacy C H A R T E R S C H O O L B I L L S . . . E X I T E X A M S . . . W O M E N ' S

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - September 2015