Charter School Legislation Passes Senate Education Committee –
Legislation will Increase Oversight and Provide More Stability for Charter Schools
(SACRAMENTO) — Senator George Runner’s (R- Antelope Valley) two charter school measures which will increase accountability and provide more stability for charter schools passed the Senate Education Committee this week.
“Charter schools are given considerable freedom from bureaucratic hurdles in order to provide an atmosphere where students can achieve academic excellence. Accountability must go hand in hand with that freedom in order to ensure accountability of our tax dollars,” said Senator Runner.
Senate Bill 430 is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary for Education. It allows charter schools to contract with the Financial Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) to provide management assistance and as a result help charter schools avoid fiscal crises, allows the county superintendent to audit or review a charter school if there is a reason to believe there is a misappropriation of funds, and requires a conflict of interest policy to be adopted and adhered to by all charter school board members and officers.
Senate Bill 535 is sponsored by the California Charter School Association. It requires charter schools to adhere to open meeting laws, requires that charter schools are given a priority to purchase surplus property from an authorizing school district or a district that serves students who reside in the district, and provides that a charter may be renewed for a period of no less than five years and no more than fifteen years in order for charter schools to secure property loans.
“This legislation addresses recent problems that surfaced in charter schools by providing better parameters to protect taxpayers and ensuring more stability for the 170,000 students currently being served in California charter schools,” said Runner.
Public charter schools were established in 1992 and now there are 470 California schools. Many of the charter schools serve students that are on probation or have dropped out of high school.
SB 430 will be voted on by the full State Senate in the next few weeks and SB 535 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.