Advocacy

Charter School Bills Would Help Fix Broken System

Contact your State Senator today to support AB 1505, 1507

California educators, parents and public education supporters are standing together for common sense laws that will fix the broken system governing charter schools and help end the waste, fraud and abuse plaguing privately managed charters and impacting neighborhood public schools. Join the fight to protect precious education funds and all public school students, and urge your state senator to support AB 1505 and 1507.

It seems there is a new fraud or embezzlement scandal every day involving a privately managed charter school—in the last couple months alone, corporate charters have been charged with stealing and misusing upwards of $100 million in taxpayer funds intended for educating kids. Emboldened by massive loopholes in current charter law that allow them to operate in secrecy and with no oversight, these private charter operators misused and outright stole public funds intended for our schools and kids, using the money to buy lavish homes and pad their bank accounts.

The Washington Post even wrote about a report detailing “up to $1 billion in federal funds wasted on charter schools that never opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons.” The increasing frequency of lawlessness and blatant theft of public funds has caused the need for more accountability and transparency for privately managed charter schools.

“We must regulate, increase oversight and demand transparency of charter schools,” Los Angeles charter school educator and parent Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman said. “Silence is no longer an option.”

This dire need is why the education community is standing together in support of two proposed laws—AB 1505 and 1507—that would provide much-needed accountability for privately-managed charter schools so that school funding is spent where it should be: Educating all students. These bills have both been approved by the state Assembly and are expected to be voted on by the State Senate in the coming weeks.

AB 1505, by Assemblymembers Patrick O’Donnell and Rob Bonta, ensures local communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools, repealing provisions that allowing the State Board of Education to approve, renew or hear appeals of charter school petitions. It also allows local school boards to consider the economic, facilities and academic impacts of a charter school on current students in neighborhood public schools.

AB 1507, by Assemblymember Christy Smith, closes a loophole in current law which allows a charter school to operate outside of its authorizing district. This practice was recently exposed in an $80-million online charter school fraud scandal that saw a San Diego corporation open 19 charters embezzle public funds siphoned from school districts across the state.

Additionally, there are two bills on a two-year cycle: SB 756 and AB 1506. These bills will establish a cap on the growth of charter schools and establish a moratorium on new charters, respectively.

Call 855-977-1770 or write today to urge your state senators to support students and vote YES on these vital bills. Recent findings from the Charter School Task Force reinforce the need for reforms that these bills would bring to education in California. As the cases of fraud and abuse pile up, it’s obvious we need to raise our voices together now to ensure these vital bills get enacted into law. Let’s make sure that our education funds go to #KidsNotProfits.

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