With Santa Clarita Valley support split in the state Senate, Senate Bill 1263, a bill addressing state’s Education Code regarding charter schools passed Wednesday, officials said.
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The bill, authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, who represents a portion of the Santa Clarita Valley, makes it illegal for school districts to authorize a charter school outside of their boundaries.
“This bill closes a loophole that has been used by a school district to authorize numerous charter schools outside its boundaries in contradiction to the intent of the law,” Pavley said. “Abuse of this loophole hurts legitimate charter schools, and it hurts school districts that are trying to authorize charters within their boundaries and obey the law.”
The bill is now headed to the Assembly, where it could be amended.
State Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, voted against the bill because he didn’t see a problem with the current legislation, other than there was no mechanism to enforce the law as it stands.
Santa Clarita Valley school districts spearheaded the effort to have this legislation introduced in response to the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District and its approval of 15 charter schools over the last three years. The bill passed with a vote of 21-12.
Related article: Five Santa Clarita School District Superintendents Support SB 1263
“We believe this gives validity to what we’ve been saying all along,” said Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger. “It immediately resonated with the Senate Education Committee when we presented our case.”
One of the concerns about the current law is it requires a charter school seeking approval to notify the district in which it intends to locate, if it’s not within the chartering district’s boundaries.
Santa Clarita Valley superintendents claimed Einstein Academy did not do this when it applied for a charter school location in the Castaic Union School District from AADUSD.
Winger was one of five superintendents leading the effort on the legislation, which addressed a “pay for play” problem allowed by the current law, he said.
A bill amending the current law would be preferable, Knight said, acknowledging there’s no mechanism to prompt enforcement if a charter school fails to notify a district.
“There’s some discussion of an amendment, and that’s fine, but I dont think (the bill) is going away,” Winger said. “As long as there’s something that deals with the (pay for play) problem.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News