Governor Brown's Budget is a Historic Milestone for All Public School Students
June 15, 2013
Contact: Vicki Grenz, CCSA
SACRAMENTO, California (June 15, 2013) - President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) Jed Wallace, released the following statement regarding the Governor's budget approved today.
"We commend the Governor and California's Legislature for having created a fairer and more rational way of funding all public schools in the state and for having directed greater funding to schools serving high need students while providing greater flexibility to school districts to address the needs of students.
"We are also encouraged to see that the proposal makes significant progress toward addressing the historical disparity in funding levels that students in charter schools have experienced relative to traditional public schools, a problem that was made only more severe during the state's funding crisis of recent years. While there are shortcomings to the Local Control Funding Formula that will need to be revisited in future years, we recognize that, as the new system is phased in over the next eight years, charter schools will achieve growing levels of funding equity, something we know that parents and the general public support and that charter school students clearly deserve.
"We are pleased by positive features of the budget such as a leveling of the per pupil investment and deferral payments.
The base funding for public education will grow substantially and will be the same for charter schools as district schools, greatly reducing the long standing funding inequity between charter public schools and traditional district schools. Deferral reductions will continue. These deferrals have hit charter schools, which lack the low-cost borrowing options available to district schools, particularly hard.
Changes to the administration of the Revolving Loan program and the Charter School Facility Grant program, as well as extending charter schools' access to district surplus property for three years through 2015, will provide charter schools with greater access to facilities and facilities funding.
"Unfortunately, like the existing education funding policy, there are elements of the Local Control Funding Formula that perpetuate school funding inequities, and we will continue our work to achieve funding equity for all public school students.
Charter public schools still face underfunding challenges within the new Local Control Funding Formula, where at risk students stand to lose out on their share of concentration funding if their charter school has a greater percentage of at risk students than the local district. This concentration cap is indefensible, is contrary to the stated aims of aiding the most needy students, and prolongs systemic inequitable funding. Over time, the charter school students affected by the concentration cap will face even larger funding gaps compared to students attending traditional public schools.
Despite the gains in student funding, it is estimated that based on current enrollment, more than 20,000 charter school pupils in high need schools will be denied a concentration grant. This equates to more than $72 million in lost funding to charter schools, a number that could be as large as $200 million if charter schools continue growing as they have over the past decade.
Another source of inequity is the continued exclusion of charters from Targeted Instructional Improvement Grant (TIIG) and transportation monies in the budget proposal.
"Finally, we are encouraged to see how strongly the Governor has remained in his defense of charter school autonomy. Much of the new accountability language within the proposal reinforces the commitment of providing charter schools greater flexibility in exchange for higher levels of accountability for student outcomes. At the same time, we recognize that some new accountability provisions could undermine charter school autonomy if not implemented carefully. We look forward to working with the Governor and the State Board of Education to create implementing regulations that maintain the balance of flexibility and accountability for outcomes that have allowed charter schools to succeed."
About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is the membership and professional organization serving 1,063 charter public schools and more than 470,600 students in the state of California. The Vision of CCSA is to empower parents and educators to unleash a new era of innovation within public education so that highly autonomous and accountable schools of choice provide quality learning opportunities for all California students. The Mission of CCSA is to increase the number of students attending quality charter schools in California as quickly as possible by securing policy wins and providing the supports necessary to open and expand quality charter schools. For more information, please visit www.ccsa.org.
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