On February 22, 2019, four new bills addressing the need for charter school accountability, transparency, and local control were uploaded to the California Legislative Information website.
AB 1505: End State or County Charter Appeals. Going forward, no county and state appeals for new charter petitions. Any charter currently authorized under those conditions will now have to apply for reauthorization to the local school district in which it resides when its renewal date comes due.
AB 1506: Statewide Charter Cap. Only a maximum of 100 charter schools are allowed to be authorized per year. However, it may be that charters that are part of a franchise may be permitted to be counted as one school, depending on how this language is interpreted: “For purposes of this section, sites that share educational programs and serve similar pupil populations
AB 1507: No Remote Charter Authorizations Outside Authorizing District Boundaries. Charter schools may only apply for authorization from one local school district and must locate inside that district if approved.
and AB 1508: Financial, Academic, and Facilities Impacts on Nearby Public Schools. Charter schools would have to gather and assess this information as part of the petition for charter authorization process. Spot bill.
They join SB 126, a quickie bill that will enact the obvious: charter schools will be subject to open records and open meetings laws as any entity that receives public funding should. In December of 2018, California’s Attorney General Xavier Bacerra released a memo detailing the legal grounds (fairly obvious even if you aren’t a lawyer) for requiring all charter schools to acquiesce to public records requests and hold open meetings. This particular bill will probably be attached to a budget bill or other piece of legislation expected to gain Governor Newsom’s signature without much comment.
These bills will undergo many changes in the 2019-2020 California legislative session. Sign up here to keep track of discussion and the progress of all four bills!