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Charter Schools Task Force holds first meeting on July 14 

Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter Schools Act, which was signed into law in 1992. During that time the scope of the charter school movement in California has undergone dramatic changes and has presented a series of legislative and legal challenges for school governance teams.

In recognition of this rapidly-changing landscape, more than a dozen school and county board members gathered in West Sacramento on July 14 for a lively and robust first meeting of CSBA’s newly-formed Charter Schools Task Force.

Chaired by CSBA President Chris Ungar, the Charter Schools Task Force is charged with examining the current status and scope of charter schools in California and to develop a series of recommendations that will guide CSBA’s policy and advocacy work related to charters, including (but not limited to) the petition and appeals process, oversight and renewal, facilities and funding inadequacies that may exist in the current law.

The Task Force is comprised of members of CSBA’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Delegate Assembly, all of whom have varying experiences and diverse insights related to charter schools in their districts and counties – some represent districts with only one or two charter schools, while others report around 20 percent of the students in their district enrolled in charters.

During the meeting, members of the Task Force extensively reviewed several key recent court cases, as well as numerous legislative items – including SB 1434 , a 2016 bill that would have made sweeping changes to local governance on charter authorization and oversight. While the bill did not advance in 2016, it is likely that the issue will reemerge during the next legislative session; part of the Task Force’s legislative discussion revolved around potential strategies to address this issue should it reemerge.

The Task Force also reviewed several recent charter school demographic trends and data focused on student outcomes, and spent a large portion of the meeting discussing the group’s goals and next steps. The Task Force is scheduled to meet again in the fall, with the goal of submitting a series of recommendations to CSBA in mid-2017.

Part of the goal of the Charter Schools Task Force is to collect and catalog best practices from California school districts related to charter schools. Please click here to submit your feedback to CSBA staff.

You may also contact Carlos Machado, CSBA Legislative Advocate, to submit feedback or questions.

Additional charter schools resources are available

Quick facts on Charter Schools in California

• 1,230 charters in California: 1,205 start-up, 205 conversion
• More than 580,000 students currently attend charters in California, up from 340,000 in 2009
• Since 2009, more than 400 new charters have been added
• More than 90 percent of California charters are located in 25 counties
• California’s charter application approval rate of 48.9 percent significantly outpaces the national rate of 36.8 percent