January 2013 Message to Members from Jed Wallace

January 23, 2013

  • Print
JedWallaceSmall.jpg The New Year is off to a tremendous start and I wanted to share an update on significant legislative matters that we are working on with members. With the release of Governor Brown's 2013 budget, we believe we can begin to address systemic funding and facilities challenges faced by charter schools.

The budget proposes to:

  • Provide $48.5 million for new pupil growth for charter schools
  • Provide $92 million for the SB 740 Charter School Facility Grant Program (CSFGP)
  • Transfer the administration of the Charter School Revolving Loan Program and the SB 740 CSFGP to the California School Finance Authority to improve efficiency of program administration
  • Expand eligibility for the SB 740 CSFGP to include "non-classroom based" charter schools
  • Modify and streamline the funding determination process for non-classroom based charter schools by requiring it only in the first and third year in most cases
  • Extend charter schools' access to surplus district property for an additional five years (currently this access is only available for the 2012-13 fiscal year)

Immediately following the release of the Governor's budget, on January 15, several CCSA Board members traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators and other policymakers, to discuss the budget proposal as well as to advocate for issues that will have lasting effects for charter schools such as the Parcel Tax, Local Control Funding Formula proposal (formerly named Weighted Student Formula) and closing the funding gap for charter schools.

That day, CCSA also hosted our annual "Back to Session" welcome reception for legislators to kick off the legislative year. The reception was attended by nearly 20 legislators as well as many education leaders, including Joan Buchanan, Chair of Assembly Education Committee, freshman Assemblymember and charter champion Cheryl Brown, Assemblymember and member of the Education Committee Rocky Chavez and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, just to name a few.

Of particular importance on the legislative agenda this year, is Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 (SCA 3) introduced by Senator Mark Leno, which would lower the vote threshold for local school district parcel tax measures from 2/3 to 55 percent. Local parcel taxes are one way that communities may supplement state funding for education, and lowering the vote threshold will make passage of these measures more likely. However, as currently drafted, SCA 3 does not explicitly ensure that all public school pupils, including pupils in charter public schools, would benefit from the proceeds of local parcel taxes.

CCSA is working with Senator Leno and the California Legislature to secure passage of a measure that includes an amendment to ensure access for all public school pupils. If the Legislature passes SCA 3, it still must be submitted for approval by the voters on a statewide ballot before it becomes law. But to make this happen, we need your help to raise this issue with the members of the Legislature. CCSA has developed a template letter that you may use to contact your legislator on this important issue. Please be sure to customize it, and mail it to their offices at the State Capitol as indicated in the template letter. Please also send a copy of your letter to governmentaffairs@ccsa.org.

This year CCSA will continue to move full throttle to advocate for systems that achieves equity, transparency and accountability for all public school children in California. We are thrilled to announce that these efforts will be led by Myrna Castrejón our new senior vice president of government affairs. Stay tuned for action alerts that will ask you to support our ongoing policy efforts in Sacramento.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at our 20th Anniversary Conference and Celebration in San Diego, March 11-14, as we celebrate our movement with engaging speakers, thought-provoking seminars and our first-ever dinner where the Hart and Legacy award winners will be announced. If you have not already registered to attend, it's not too late to join us for what is sure to be an inspiring four days.

The year ahead is going to be busier than ever and we are looking forward to engaging our members and supporters in transforming the policy environment for charter schools as we look to March where the Los Angeles School Board will hold important elections in three districts and on May 8 in Sacramento when we will hold our annual Advocacy Day and release an expanded 2013 Portrait of the Movement publication.

I am looking forward to the New Year, new challenges and new victories for our movement!

Jed Wallace
President and CEO

Add a comment