During Governor Jerry Brown’s tenure in office, he vetoed all efforts to hold charter schools accountable, to consider their fiscal impact, or to limit their numbers. Those days are over under Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Edsource reports:

“The chairman of the Assembly Education Committee and several Democratic colleagues introduced a package of bills Monday that would impose severe restrictions on the growth of charter schools.

“Three of the bills would eliminate the ability of charter schools to appeal rejected applications to the county and state, place an unspecified cap on charter school growth and enable school districts to consider the financial impact of charter schools when deciding whether to approve them. A fourth bill would abolish the right of a charter school that can’t find a facility in its authorizing district to locate a school in an adjoining district.

“Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, who chairs the Education Committee, said the bills collectively would enable school districts “to make responsible and informed decisions” that are “critical for student success and taxpayer accountability.” Eric Premack, a veteran charter school adviser and advocate, called the legislation a “full-frontal” assault and “scorched earth” approach to charter schools.”

”Scorched earth”=accountability, ethics, transparency.

At the heart of the strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland was the fiscal drain caused by runaway charter schools, which have operated and proliferated in the state without accountability for years.

The power of the charters was guaranteed by their lobby, the California Charter School Association, which spends $20 million a year to defeat accountability measures.

It’s a new day in California!

Elections have consequences. The charter lobby backed Antonio Villaraigosa for governor and Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent.Both lost.

Both houses of the legislature swiftly approved a bill to impose accountability and transparency on charter schools and Governor Gavin Newsom has promised to sign it. 

In the future, charters will be subject to the same open meetings laws and conflicts of interest laws as public schools.

More stringent regulation may be on the way, for example, one bill would no longer allow charter operators who were rejected by their district to appeal to the county, and if rejected by the county, appeal to the state board.

At present, charters may open without consideration of their fiscal impact on the public schools.

Also, a charter may be authorized by a district to operate in another district hundreds of miles away.

John Fensterwald writes in Edsource:

“Capitalizing on the momentum, this week O’Donnell and three other legislators announced four more bills that would restrict charter schools. They would eliminate the right of appeals to the county and the state, cap the number of schools to what’s operating now, let school districts reject charter schools based on their financial impact and prevent charter schools approved in one district from setting up in another.

“This week, the West Contra Costa Unified School District board followed the lead of boards in Los Angeles and Oakland to endorse some form of a moratorium on charter schools. Newsom has not indicated his position on the latest bills or on a moratorium, now that the bill on transparency has passed.”

Are the “days of wine and roses” coming to an end for the richly funded charter lobby?

This NPE report explains why charters in California need regulation and accountability.

Click to access NPE-Report-Charters-and-Consequences.pdf

Imagine a charter school in a shopping mall where students see a teacher once every 21 days. Imagine charter schools with graduation rates of 10% or less.

Imagine rampant fraud that goes unchecked for years.

Could these excesses finally be subject to oversight?