Measuring Up

 



California

TOTAL SCORE:
154 out of 240

Rank: 16 out of 44

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted: 1992
Estimated Number of Charter Schools in 2016-17: 1,253
Estimated Number of Charter School Students in 2016-17: 604,700

California’s law has a cap that allows ample growth, provides a robust appellate process, and provides a fair amount of autonomy but lacks some aspects of the model law’s accountability provisions, and has made notable strides in recent years to provide more equitable funding to charter public schools—although some work remains to be done.

Potential areas for improvement in its charter school law include strengthening authorizer accountability, beefing up requirements for performance-based charter contracts, and ensuring transparency regarding educational service providers.

Do California's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

California's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Under California law, the current cap on charter schools is 2,050 statewide, but the cap is raised by 100 schools each year. There are currently 1,184 charter schools open in the state.

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1A. No numeric or geographic limits are placed on the number of charter schools or students.

1B. If caps exist, there is room for growth.

2. A Variety of Charter Public Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law allows new start-ups and public school conversions.

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2A. New startups.

2B. Public school conversions.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law allows local school boards, county boards of education, and the state board of education to authorize charter schools. The law provides that a local school board may approve charter schools that will operate within the geographic boundaries of the school district.

The law allows a county board of education to approve a charter that will serve pupils for whom the county office of education would otherwise be responsible for providing direct education and related services or will operate at one or more sites within the county’s geographic boundaries as a countywide charter and provide instructional services not generally provided by the county office of education. In addition, the law provides that the county board must find that the charter will serve pupils who will benefit from those services and who cannot be served by a charter school that operates in only one school district in the county.

The law allows the state board of education to approve a charter school that will operate in multiple sites throughout the state if the charter will provide instructional services of statewide benefit.

The law allows a charter applicant denied by a local school board to appeal first to the county board of education and then to the state board of education.

There is considerable authorizing activity by local school boards, county school boards, and the state board of education.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law includes a small number of the model law's provisions for authorizer and overall program accountability.

While the law does not require the legislature and governor to regularly review the performance of the state board of education as an authorizer, they can do so at any time. In addition, the ability of the state board of education to continue authorizing can be removed by the California legislature and governor (the entities that gave it that authority).

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4A. Registration process for school boards to affirm their interest in authorizing.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities (except a state charter schools commission).

N/A

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report.

4D. The ability for the state to conduct a review of an authorizer’s performance.

4E. The ability for the state to sanction an authorizer for poor performance, including suspending an authorizer’s authority to approve new schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law allows authorizers to charge each charter school up to 1% in revenues for the actual costs of oversight or up to 3% of revenues if the authorizer is providing a substantially rent-free facility to the school.

The statutory language permitting authorizers to charge “actual costs not to exceed” the specified percentage implies public accountability for authorizer expenditures, but it is not practiced in any consistent, structured way.

California law permits a charter school to separately purchase services from its authorizer, indicating that such fees are to be separate from the oversight fee. However, the law is not explicit on requiring a clear, separate contract for such services.

The law does not explicitly prohibit an authorizer from requiring a school to purchase services. In practice, however, such a requirement could not be a condition for charter approval, as a school’s refusal to purchase services would not be cause for denial.

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5A. A uniform statewide formula that guarantees annual authorizer funding that is not subject to annual legislative appropriations.

5B. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5C. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5D. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

California law sets forth basic required elements for all charter applications, as well as additional requirements specific to conversions.

The law provides that statewide charter petitions must demonstrate the financial and academic success of the applicant’s schools previously approved in California. There is no such requirement for replication applications submitted to local school board and county school board authorizers.

The law requires a public hearing for all charter applications but not in-person interviews.

Authorizers must make charter approval or denial decisions in a public meeting and must state reasons for denial in writing

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to using educational service providers.

6D. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6E. Requirement for thorough evaluation of each application, including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6F. Application approval criteria.

6G. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = | Possible total = 16

California law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for performance-based charter contracts.

California law states that the charter petition becomes the charter. The law does not require a separately negotiated and executed charter contract that defines the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer and includes clear performance terms and provisions based on a performance framework as recommended in the model law. However, the law requires Local Control Account Plans (LCAPs) that include outcomes in eight state priority areas. LCAPs must be reviewed and updated annually and provided to the authorizer. In addition, most of the charter schools and authorizers in the state execute a memorandum of understanding that covers administrative and operational understandings, but the educational goals in the charter remain as stated in the petition.

California law provides that an initial charter may be granted for up to five years.

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7A. With such contracts being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. With such contracts defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. With such contracts defining academic, financial, and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged based on a performance framework.

7D. With such contracts providing an initial term of five operating years.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

The law does not require authorizers to produce and publish annual school performance reports aligned with a performance framework set forth in a charter contract. However, it requires that charter schools participate in the state’s accountability system, including annual state-produced school report cards, which are public. These report cards show academic performance on the state assessments, but do not include all the types of measures (including financial performance, compliance, and school-specific measures) that an authorizer’s performance report would normally include.

California law requires charter schools to adhere to generally accepted accounting principles and to provide multiple types of annual reports (e.g., attendance reports, school accountability report cards, local control accountability plans) to their authorizer, county office of education, and state board of education. In addition, the law requires a charter school to provide a report to its authorizer and the state on its annual audit and to produce certain annual or periodic reports for their authorizer (e.g., a preliminary budget, a first and second interim financial report, and an unaudited annual financial report). These reports are available to the public.

The law entitles an authorizer to inspect or observe any part of a charter school at any time. California law requires charter schools to respond to all reasonable inquiries from its authorizer, the county office of education, or the state department of education. Regulations set forth compliance monitoring procedures specifically for virtual or non-classroom-based schools.

The law requires each authorizer to identify at least one staff member as a contact person for each charter school under its oversight, visit each charter school at least annually, ensure that each charter school complies with all reports required by law, monitor the fiscal condition of each charter school, and provide timely notification to the state department of education concerning charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions, both before and after they occur.

The law requires an authorizer to notify a school of potential revocation and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy identified problems. Such notification and opportunity to cure is a corrective action. The law also permits the state board of education to take corrective action with a locally-chartered school under certain circumstances.

The law requires charter schools to establish local policies and procedures to allow a complaint that a charter school has not complied with the requirements of the state-mandated local control accountability plan to be filed with a charter school pursuant to the Uniform Complaint Procedures.

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8A. Required annual school performance reports.

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., generally accepted accounting principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct oversight activities.

8D. Authorizer notification to its schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8E. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

8F. Authorizer may not request duplicative data submission from its charter schools and may not use performance framework to create cumbersome reporting requirements.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

California law describes generally the evidence basis on which authorizers must make renewal determinations, including “documented and clear and convincing data” and “information submitted by the charter school.” Although not explicit, the requirement of school-submitted information prior to renewal appears equivalent to a renewal application.

The law sets forth grounds for revocation or non-renewal and provides that a charter school must meet at least one of five academic performance criteria established in the law prior to renewal. The law also provides that a charter school that fails to improve outcomes for three or more student subgroups in three out of four consecutive years may receive technical assistance and intervention from its authorizer or a newly established California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. If intervention is unsuccessful, as specified, the charter may be revoked without appeal. The law also states that the authorizer shall consider increases in pupil academic achievement for all pupil subgroups served by the charter school as the most important factor in determining whether to revoke the charter.

The law provides that renewals must be for five-year terms and does not provide authority to authorizers to vary the length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

The law requires an authorizer to notify a charter school of potential revocation and provide reasonable opportunity for the school to remedy identified problems, except in case of severe and imminent threat to student health or safety. It requires a public hearing prior to any revocation decision. In cases of non-renewal or revocation, the law provides for appeals to the county or state board of education for schools chartered by districts or county offices of education. The law also authorizes the state board of education to revoke a locally-granted charter under certain circumstances.

The law requires authorizers to make all charter renewal, non-renewal, or revocation decisions in a public meeting and to state reasons for all such decisions in writing.

California regulations establish a protocol for closing a charter school, and state law requires that a school closure protocol is an element of a charter petition.

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9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Ability to have a differentiated process for renewal of high-performing charter schools.

9E. Authorizers must use clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9F. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract.

9G. Requirement that authorizers close chronically low-performing charter schools unless exceptional circumstances exist.

9H. Authorizers must have the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9I. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or nonrenewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9J. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9K. All charter renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions must be made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for nonrenewals and revocations in writing.

9L. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

9M. Any transfer of charter contracts from one authorizer to another are only allowed if they are approved by the state.

10. Transparency Regarding Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for educational service providers. California law permits education service providers to operate charter schools. However, there are no explicit statutory provisions guiding any charter application requirements specifically for educational service providers, performance contracts between the school and service provider, authorizer approval of contracts, school governing boards operating completely independent of any educational service provider, and conflicts of interest. Charter schools operated by educational service providers are subject to all of the laws in these areas that apply to all other charter schools in the state.

California law requires criminal background checks for employees of any entity contracted to provide services that may involve contact with pupils.

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10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and nonprofit) are allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires (1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, and (2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent charter school board and the ESP, with such contract approved by the school’s authorizer.

10D. School governing boards operate as entities completely independent of any ESP, individuals compensated by an ESP are prohibited from serving as voting members on such boards, and existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

10E. Provides that charter school governing boards must have access to ESP records necessary to oversee the ESP contract.

10F. An ESP must annually provide information to its charter school governing board on how that ESP spends public funding it receives when the ESP is performing a public function under applicable state law.

10G. Requires that similar criminal history record checks and fingerprinting requirements applicable to other public schools shall also be mandatory for on-site employees of ESPs who regularly come into contact with students.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Charter Public School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law states that a charter authorizer is not liable for the debts, obligations, acts, errors or omissions of a charter school, if the authorizer has complied with its oversight responsibilities under the law. California law allows charter schools to elect to operate as nonprofit public benefit corporations.

The law does not explicitly require a governing board for each school. It only requires that a charter petition describe the governance structure of the school, including, but not limited to, the process to be followed by the school to ensure parental involvement. The law also entitles a local school district board that has granted a charter to place a single representative on the charter school’s governing board.

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11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds; incur debt; and pledge, assign, or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. Independent school governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law requires charter schools to be open to all students in the state.

The law states a charter school shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.

California law requires enrollment preferences for conversions and students residing in the school district. It does not require enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of students enrolled at a charter school.

California law specifically permits one optional enrollment preference: A charter school located in the attendance area of a district elementary school in which at least 50% of the enrollment qualifies for free and reduced price lunch may give preference to pupils currently enrolled in that school and to pupils who reside in the elementary school attendance area where the charter school is located.

California law also allows other preferences as permitted by the authorizer on an individual school basis and only if consistent with the law. It is under that authority that charter schools typically will add in their preferences for children of founders, staff, and board members. While not explicit, it is clearly allowed under the law and quite common in practice.

California law requires charter schools to use a public random drawing if demand exceeds capacity.

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12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Anti-discrimination provisions regarding admissions.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and for prior-year students within charter schools.

12D. Lottery requirements.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from most laws governing school districts.

California law requires charter school teachers to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that required for any other public school teacher. However, the law provides charter schools with some flexibility with regard to teacher credentialing for non-core, non-college preparatory courses.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law provides that charter schools are exempt from district collective bargaining agreements.

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14A. Charter schools authorized by nonlocal board authorizers are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law allows a charter school to propose to operate at multiple sites within the school district, as long as each site is identified in the charter petition. Regulations provide for independent academic and compliance accountability for individual schools or campuses that make up a multi-site “statewide benefit” school authorized by the state. However, a multi-site school authorized by a local school or county school board is treated as a single school for all funding and accountability purposes.

California law does not explicitly address whether a single charter governing board may hold multiple charter contracts. However, under the state’s statutorily defined “permissive” Education Code, such a practice is permitted unless expressly prohibited, and such arrangements do occur in California.

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15A. An independent charter school board may oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. An independent charter school board may hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

California law does not explicitly address these matters. However, under the state’s statutorily defined “permissive” Education Code, these practices are permitted unless expressly prohibited. In practice, the California Interscholastic Federation’s policies tend to make it difficult for charter students to participate in activities in a local high school, even if the local district is amenable. As such, unless the charter school creates its own athletic programs, such activities are usually not an option for charter students.

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16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all extracurricular and interscholastic activities available to noncharter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extracurricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at noncharter public schools.

17. Clear Provisions Regarding Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law provides that a charter school must either receive special education services from an LEA or become its own LEA, joining a Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and providing special education according to that SELPA's plan. Unless a charter school specifically assumes the obligation to become an LEA and join a SELPA, the charter school is deemed to be part of its authorizer’s LEA for special education purposes.

California law provides that a charter school that is deemed part of its authorizer’s LEA for special education must receive state and federal special education funding in the same manner as any other public school of that LEA. It requires the LEA to ensure that each charter school receives an equitable share of special education funding and services, including those for low-incidence, high-cost needs. It also requires any SELPA plan that includes charter schools to address funding for low-incidence, high-cost services.

California law allows for the formation of all-charter SELPAs. In addition, the law allows charter schools to join SELPAs out of their geographic region and allows SELPAs to design service structures specifically for charters. Despite such policies, it is reported that actual practice for these policies is mixed in that many SELPAs do not provide extra funding for low-incidence, high-cost services and simply allocate funding on a per-student basis.

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17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding the flow of federal, state, and local special education funds to the designated LEA.

17C. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

17D. Clarity that charter schools have access to all regional and state services and supports available to traditional districts.

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

California law funds all public schools, including charter schools, via the Local Control Funding Formula, which is a weighted student funding formula that funds schools based on pupil needs.

California law requires all special education funds to flow through an intermediate unit (SELPA) that receives special education funds for all LEAs in that SELPA.

A national study of charter school funding (University of Arkansas, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, 2014) found that California charter schools were receiving on average $7,821 per pupil in public funds, while districts would have received an estimated $10,446 per pupil to educate those same students – a gap of $2,625 per pupil, or 25.1%. This comparison includes all sources of funding. However, this gap is expected to decrease as new data is gathered that reflects the state's new funding system for all public schools.

The assessment of funding equity for California’s charter schools is largely based on data from the 2010-11 school year – one of the worst for school funding in California. Since the enactment of the Local Control Funding Formula and new school revenues as a result of Proposition 30, California charter schools have made significant gains in their level of funding and in funding equity compared to school districts serving similar student populations. While we acknowledge this change in this report, the recent impact of these changes is not fully reflected in the score or ranking.

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18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

18D. Annual report offering district and charter public school funding comparisons and including annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

California law created the Charter School Facility Grant Program (via SB 740) that provides up to $750 per pupil in lease reimbursement for charter schools where 55% of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch either at the charter school or its local elementary school attendance area; payments may not exceed 75% of total annual facilities rent costs. In 2015, the legislature increased the funding to the program by $20 million, bringing the total to $112 million.

Under California law, the Charter School Facilities Program authorizes the State Allocation Board to provide per-pupil facilities grant funding for 50% of the total project cost for new construction or renovation of charter facilities. This program is subject to available statewide school bonds passed to support charter school facilities. Proposition 47, Proposition 55, and Proposition 1D have placed more than $800 million in a fund for charter school facility development. In addition, in November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 51, a statewide school bond that provided $500 million specifically for charter schools under the same program used for Proposition 1D.

Under California law, the Charter School Revolving Loan Program provides below-market loans of up to $250,000 for new-start charter schools, allowing up to five years for repayment. A school may use these loans for any start-up costs, including facilities.

California law provides that charter schools are eligible to access tax-exempt bond financing through the state and eligible to access public borrowing through county boards of education and county treasuries. California law also provides that the state treasurer's office offer a limited credit enhancement program.

The law requires districts to provide charter schools with facilities that are sufficient to accommodate charter school needs for their in-district students and reasonably equivalent to other district facilities, through an annual application process. It allows a district to charge a charter schoolonly a proportionate share of its facilities costs that are paid from the general fund.

California law provides that privately owned charter facilities are exempt from the state building code and that only facilities built with state bond funds must comply with the code.

The law also notes that charter school facility construction that uses public construction funds must meet all requirements regarding public school construction, plan approvals, toxic substance review, site selection, and site approval, as would any noncharter school project, but it also directs relevant regulatory agencies, to the extent feasible, to establish a streamlined method for obtaining regulatory approvals.

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Facilities Funding

19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance that annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to noncharter public schools.


Access to Public Space

19D. A requirement for districts to provide school district space or funding to charter schools if the majority of that school’s students reside in that district.

19E. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.


Access to Financing Tools

19F. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19G. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allowing charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19H. Pledging the moral obligation of the state to help charter schools obtain more favorable bond financing terms.

19I. The creation and funding of a state charter school debt reserve fund.

19J. The inclusion of charter schools in school district bonding and mill levy requests.

19K. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for charter school facilities.


Other

19L. Charter schools allowed to contract at or below fair market value with a school district, a college or university, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of facility for a school building.

19M. Certain entities allowed to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.

19N. Charter school facilities exempt from ad valorem taxes and other assessment fees not applicable to other public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

California law allows all charter school employees to choose to participate in the State Teachers Retirement System and the Public Employees Retirement System.

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20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).

21. Full-Time Virtual Charter School Provisions (if such schools allowed by state)

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

California law allows virtual instruction to occur for charter and district school via provisions for nonclassroom-based instruction, including independent study provisions.

Funding amounts are determined via a funding request from the school, as approved by the state board of education, based on the nonclassroom-based daily average attendance, as well as expenditure data on instruction and related services, school site operations and facilities, administration, and all other activities. In addition, the school must provide data to affirm compliance with the maximum student-to-teacher ratios (unless certain academic standards are met), and other law and policy affirmations including that all transactions, contracts, and agreements are in the best interest of the school and reflect a reasonable market rate. The amount approved shall be 70% of total, unless a greater or lesser percentage is determined appropriate by the state board (based upon the recommendation of the California Advisory Commission on Charter Schools, which also has the power to request additional information as needed when reviewing the funding request).

Beyond accountability measures for all schools, the law requires additional items for those schools engaged in independent study (which is a form of nonclassroom-based instruction), whereby each student must have a written agreement (signed by the student, parent – if student under 18 - and school personnel), including, but not limited to: (1) the manner, time, frequency, and place for submitting a pupil’s assignments and for reporting his or her progress; (2) the objectives and methods of study for the pupil’s work, and the methods utilized to evaluate that work; (3) the specific resources, including materials and personnel that will be made available to the pupil; and (4) a statement of the policies adopted regarding the maximum length of time allowed between the assignment and the completion of a pupil’s assigned work, and the number of missed assignments allowed before an evaluation of whether or not the pupil should be allowed to continue in independent study. Law requires that certificated employees and each pupil shall communicate in person, by telephone, or by any other live visual or audio connection no less than twice per calendar month to assess whether each pupil is making satisfactory educational progress. If satisfactory educational progress is not being made, certificated employees providing instruction shall notify the pupil and, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the pupil’s parent or legal guardian, and conduct an evaluation to determine whether it is in the best interest of the pupil to remain in the course or whether he or she should be referred to an alternative program, which may include, but is not limited to, a regular school program.

The law requires an evaluation of independent study courses by September 1, 2019, comparing, at a minimum, the academic performance of pupils in independent study with demographically similar pupils enrolled in equivalent classroom-based courses.

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21A. An authorizing structure whereby full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from more than one district may be approved only by an authorizer with statewide chartering jurisdiction and authority, full-time virtual charter schools that serve students from one school district may be authorized by that school district, and a cap is placed on the total amount of funding that an authorizer may withhold from a full-time virtual charter school.

21B. Legally permissible criteria and processes for enrollment based on the existence of supports needed for student success.

21C. Enrollment level provisions that establish maximum enrollment levels for each year of a charter contract, with any increases in enrollment from one year to the next based on whether the school meets its performance requirements.

21D. Accountability provisions that include virtual-specific goals regarding student enrollment, attendance, engagement, achievement, truancy, and attrition.

21E. Funding levels per student based on costs proposed and justified by the operators.

21F. Performance-based funding whereby full-time virtual charter schools are funded via a performance-based funding system based on meeting the accountability performance provisions.