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Statement by CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón regarding Governor Newsom’s 2021-2022 State Budget Proposal

January 9, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CA  California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) President and CEO Myrna Castrejón issued the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s 2021-2022 state budget proposal.

Said Ms. Castrejón:

“We are pleased to see the Governor’s budget announcement shows the state’s fiscal condition is in a much healthier position relative to assumptions made earlier in the current fiscal year. This is good news for our schools and will allow significant increases in both current and budget years to invest in getting our public schools and students back on track.

“We also appreciate the Governor’s dedication and focus on returning students to in-person instruction as soon as safely possible. Our priority this year must be serving elementary school students and those students who have experienced significant learning loss as a result of distance learning through in-person instruction at all of California’s public schools. All our schools are under tremendous financial strain and need immediate support. While we applaud the Governor for his proposal to pay down nearly two-thirds of deferrals, we are concerned that the remaining deferrals leaves nearly $3.7 billion unpaid which will continue to strain our public school system.

“Additional revenue realized in the current year’s budget should be distributed equitably to all public schools to meet the needs of each and every student. We have significant concerns with the bill language that excludes non-classroom based public schools. Schools designated as ‘non-classroom based’ often include a significant site-based component through blended learning programs – in some cases as much, or more, than a traditional public school – but would not be eligible for funding. These schools that provide on-site instruction will have the same challenges of keeping students safe as all other school districts and charter schools. This proposal must be amended to provide funding for every public school student attending on-site instruction, regardless of instructional model. We urge the legislature to take quick action on the current year budget adjustments to get relief to all our public schools quickly in an equitable manner to support all public school students.

“The Governor’s ‘Safe Schools for All’ plan provides a potential framework for achieving that goal. Charter public schools that have successfully restarted in-person instruction during this school year have done so by rethinking their instructional models and deploying their teachers and other personnel to focus on serving students safely through small groups and using social distancing strategies. As we move to increase our ability to re-open safely, such flexibilities will be crucial to making this plan a success.

“This is a crucial year for all public school students and their families. We must ensure that any funding be used to address the immediate needs of all our public schools in an equitable and fair manner.”