May 2016 CEO Message

May 13, 2016

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California's charter public schools continue to demonstrate their collective strength and diversity to school boards and elected leaders, while being recognized for their accomplishments in communities across the state.

For the last several months, CCSA staff worked with Chico charter leaders on an aligned and aggressive strategy in pursuit of equitable access to facilities for charter students. Their advocacy efforts paid off. On April 21, the Chico Unified School District (CUSD) administration agreed to set aside a pro rata share of bond funds for charter schools proportional to in-district charter school enrollment, approximately 16%. This agreement means $25 million in new funds will be made available to nine charter schools to plan, design, acquire, retrofit, and/or upgrade their school facilities. The proposed bond will include a charter-majority committee to set charter project priorities, and language giving the district maximum flexibility under law to use the funds. CCSA is supporting the Administration's recommendation to the board of trustees on Wednesday May 18, with action on the bond proposal expected on June 22.

In our ongoing commitment to students and families across the state, more than 450 members of the charter school community flooded the State Capitol to discuss key issues and legislation impacting charter schools during our annual Advocacy Day event. On May 3, charter school leaders and parents met with 119 legislative offices, just one office shy of the full 120 members in the legislature. In one-on-one meetings with legislators, the charter community shared their experiences and urged legislators to support policies that will help charters thrive. Several prominent legislators from both political parties, including President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon (D-24), Majority Leader Chad Mayes (R-42) and Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-45), spoke at the event. Advocacy Day is a critical opportunity to set the record straight and illustrate how legislation and the state budget have an impact. Thanks to everyone who participated in the event!

In more news from the Capitol, Governor Jerry Brown released the May Revision to his budget proposal for the 2016-17 fiscal year on May 13. While Governor Brown cautioned that April tax revenues were $1.9 billion lower than projected and the state may be heading into an economic slowdown, the Education Budget was largely untouched. The $20 million in start-up funds for charter schools remains in the budget, Proposition 98 funding increased by $288 million in 2016-17 from the January proposal, and there is an additional investment in the Local Control Funding Formula of $154 million also from the January proposal that brings the formula to almost 96% of full implementation. Read more about the Governor's May Revision on our website.

I am also happy to share California's charters received a wide range of awards in recognition of the high quality education they offer students. The Charter School of San Diego, the flagship school in the Altus Network, was the first charter school in the nation to receive the highly prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Granada Hills Charter High School captured its fifth United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) title in six years. And the 2016 Gazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award went to Camino Nuevo Charter Academy's Kayne Siart school. Read more about all of the charter schools doing great things on behalf of students.

Stories like these underscore the incredible opportunities made possible by California's charter schools.


Jed Wallace
President and CEO