Charter Moratorium on Tap: Update on Legislative Effort in California

First, a charter moratorium bill was filed this morning in California SB 756. I knew the spot bill would be a moratorium, but of course I couldn’t say that publicly before it happened. Here is how it reads now.

The Charter Schools Act of 1992 authorizes the establishment and operation of charter schools. Existing law generally requires a petition to establish a charter school to be submitted to the governing board of a school district, and, under specified circumstances, authorizes a petition to be submitted to and approved by a county board of education or the State Board of Education. Existing law prohibits the governing board of a school district from denying a petition to establish a charter school unless it makes written factual findings in support of one or more specific findings.
This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation containing specified policies relating to charter schools on or before January 1, 2020, and would prohibit, notwithstanding any other law, the approval of a petition for the establishment of a new charter school until June 30, 2024, unless those specified policies are enacted. The bill would require, during the 2023–24 school year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office to publicly issue a report that answers specified questions relating to charter schools and the effects of the moratorium, or, if applicable, the specified policies enacted by the Legislature.
This is HUGE. The NAACP’s call for a charter moratorium could become law in California!
Legislative staff also provided the following update on other charter legislation.

Assemblymembers O’Donnell and Bonta are pleased to announce that they have decided to combine their separate charter school reform bills into one joint bill.  In light of the many recent questions trying to distinguish the difference between the bills as they relate to fiscal impact, it seems the most strategic thing is to combine the bills so there can be one bill on the fiscal impact of charter schools on school districts.

AB 1505 will be amended tomorrow to include the elements from AB 1508. Assemblymember Bonta will also be added to AB 1505 as a joint author.  AB 1508 will be amended to be a different topic in education and heard at a later date.

The amendments to AB 1505 will go across the desk tomorrow.

  • Allows school districts to consider fiscal, academic and facilities impact of charter school petitions on the neighborhood schools and the district.
  • Authorizes countywide charter schools to be approved by counties if school district approval is obtained first.
  • Require charter petitions to provide a clear explanation of why proposed model cannot be accomplished within the school district structure of neighborhood public schools.
  • Requires charter school teachers to hold the CTC credential required for their assignment.
  • Changes the petition approval timeline from 30 to 60 days and 60 to 90 days.
  • Require charter petitions to include a description of how the school will achieve a balance of special education students and English learners.

The bills will be heard on April 10th during a special order of business at 1:30pm.

Will California pass legislation this year that will be a model for the rest of the nation? I think so.

If you’d like to file support letters for AB 1505, AB 1506 and AB 1507 they are due Tuesday by 5pm, in order to be reflected in the analysis.

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