Governor signs charter school transparency bill

March 19, 2019 Staff Writer

Alongside representatives from ACSA, the California Charter School Association, California Teachers Association, California School Employees Association, California Federation of Teachers and SEIU California, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 126, historic legislation requiring all schools that receive taxpayer funding to follow the same standards for accountability and transparency.

Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to sign SB 126, the charter school transparency bill. He was joined at the signing by representatives of various education groups, including ACSA Executive Director Wes Smith, at left.“It’s common sense. Taxpayers, parents and ultimately kids deserve to know how schools are using their tax dollars,” Newsom said. “This isn’t the end of a conversation but a beginning. Let’s use this momentum to move forward together, constructively and in partnership, to improve education for children across California. I thank the leaders on both sides of this issue for coming together to help get this bill across the finish line.”

SB 126 requires charter schools and charter management organizations to adhere to public records and open meeting laws such as the Brown or Bagley-Keene Acts, Public Records Act, conflict of interest provisions and the Political Reform Act, just as public school districts do. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

“For far too long, charter schools in California have been held to lower accountability and transparency standards than traditional public schools,” said Sen. Connie Leyva, one of the bill’s authors. “By codifying the Attorney General’s recent advisory opinion related to charter schools, SB 126 will ensure that all publicly funded schools – including charter schools – guarantee fair and open access to information. This measure also empowers parents to keep school leaders responsive and accountable. I thank Gov. Newsom for his signature of SB 126 today, as well as his continued leadership in supporting public education in California. SB 126 is a historic win for students, parents, schools and communities.”

“SB 126 is a good government bill that will ensure that schools are learning centers, not profit centers,” said Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, co-author of the bill. “With the enactment of this bill, there will be no doubt that transparency requirements and common ethical practices apply to all public dollars that go to public schools. I thank the governor for taking leadership on this bill and look forward to working with him on additional charter reform leading to student success and taxpayer accountability.”

“For nearly a decade, CCSA has worked to secure a balanced and comprehensive resolution to this longstanding debate,” said California Charter Schools Association President and CEO Myrna Castrejón. “Gov. Newsom’s leadership made all the difference here. We are grateful for Gov. Newsom’s leadership and we know that he will continue to bring the same skills and commitment to bear to unite all stakeholders behind a bold vision that embraces accountability and transparency for all public schools.”

“On behalf of California‘s students, we thank Gov. Newsom and the Legislature for ensuring there is transparency and accountability in all California charter schools. Fixing these laws will put us on the right path to making sure all schools are held to the same standards for the sake of our students,” said California Teachers Association President Eric Heins. “This is and has always been about kids, not profits, and we’re glad this bill gets us closer to ending the waste, fraud and abuse that has taken millions in much-needed funding and resources from our students.”

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