Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell recently introduced new language in a bill, AB 1316. If this bill passes as written, the charter schools that serve our students will be forever damaged. AB 1316 is already making its way through the legislative process, passing the Assembly Education Committee back on April 28, 2021 with its next stop being the Assembly Appropriations Committee. After that the bill needs to be heard and voted on by all of our California Assemblymembers in the Assembly Floor Session.
If it passes the Assembly side it then moves over to the Senate where it has to be heard in the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee before making its way to the Senate Floor to be voted on by all California State Senators. If the Senate side makes any amendments to AB 1316, then it will need to be voted on again on the Assembly Floor. If approved at all of those stops AB 1316 then hits the Governor's desk for approval. (Dates for these hearings on AB 1316 are still TBA)
Highlights of AB 1316 (Remember we need to pace ourselves and bring up issues with the bill slowly, so we have a reason to call our reps weekly, flooding the phone lines.)
• Enrollment options for our students were already limited this past year due to the funding freeze in SB 98 now AB 1316 further limits our choices of charter schools for our students.
• It restricts school enrollment areas. Currently, non-classroom-based charter schools can enroll students who live in the county in which their school is authorized and any adjacent county, that county borders. AB 1326 limits enrollment by only allowing students from the county where the charter school is authorized. For example, if your school is authorized by a school district in Los Angeles, it can currently serve students in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Kern, and Ventura. If this bill passes as written your school could only serve students in Los Angeles.
• It limits enrollment in a non-classroom-based charter school to a percent of the enrollment of the district that authorized the schools. Non-classroom-based charter schools have traditionally been authorized by small school districts. Most large districts do not support school choice and do not want to compete with a charter school.
The 88-page bill contains a huge number of problematic provisions that would negatively impact all charter schools. While some of the worst are targeted at non-classroom-based schools, all charter schools would be seriously negatively impacted. Some of the most offensive ones include, but are not limited to the following:
For All Charter Schools
• Triples the current cap on authorizer oversight fees
• Imposes prescriptive minimum daily instructional minutes laws and related auditing and high-stakes financial penalties,
• Dramatically expands annual finance and compliance audit, procedures, requirements, report contents, schedules, and disclosures,
• Expands audit requirements for related entities and mandates consolidation of auditing for related entity organizations with material financial relationships to a charter school (presumably targeting CMO “central offices,” facilities support, “friends of” fundraising organizations, etc.),
• Eliminates authority to operate year-round, multitrack instructional calendars,
• Requires charter schools to report “full SACS-compliant” financial data in the same format as school districts, thereby mandating implementation of complex and costly accounting software, systems, and practices,
• Mandates all teaching staff be employed by the school, thereby presumably prohibiting procuring teaching and special education services from other agencies, school districts, and/or county offices, and
• Imposes complex public sector competitive bidding and contracting requirements on all charter schools.
For Non-Classroom-Based Charter Schools
(Like virtual schools, opportunity schools and personalized learning schools, what we often call “homeschool charters”.)
• Cuts funding for most non-classroom-based schools by 30 percent using an inflexible sliding scale, replacing most of the current “funding determination” laws
• Requires all non-classroom-based schools to offer a full, classroom-based program,
• Prohibits funding for students who reside out of a charter school’s home county,
• Requires supervising teachers to have in-person or live visual/audio contact with students at least once every third day and imposes many additional paperwork requirements on supervising teachers,
• Requires proctoring (presumably in-person) of all annual summative tests,
• Disallows average daily attendance during days dedicated to undefined “enrichment activities,”
• Caps the size of charter schools a given district may authorize based on a sliding scale, thereby capping growth permanently in many districts
• Expands scope of mandated, board-adopted independent study policies and related written independent study agreements to include a long list of new items and restrictions.
Additional details on the bill and sample letters can be found here:
We need all hands on deck to help defeat AB 1316. Please share this info with everyone who loves your children and ask them to do the same. You may want to provide them with your letter so they have a template on what to say.
Thank you for your support of our children and charter schools.
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