The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a public hearing Thursday regarding waivers it intends to submit to the California Department of Education seeking to avoid an anticipated negative financial impact when Clayton Valley High converts to a charter next year.
Under current law, the district anticipates it would have to pay about $980 per student more than it receives from the state to the charter, costing about $1.7 million. The proposed waivers would shift this additional cost to the County Office of Education or the state, if approved.
Although the district has posted an agenda for this public hearing, it has not yet posted the actual waivers for the public to review.
However, I have learned that portions of the waiver application have been distributed to the Budget Advisory Committee. I’m posting the information sent to the committee below.
Memo from CFO Bryan Richards:
“Budget Advisory Committee Members
Attached are preliminary attachments A and B for the District’s application for a waiver regarding the financial effects to the revenue limit regarding the Clayton Valley conversion to an independent charter. Part of the CDE’s waiver process is that such requests be shared with one of the advisory committees to the Board. Since this most directly affects the District’s budget, we are sharing it with you. Please review the information and let us know if you agree or disagree with the District’s application for the waiver. Also, if you have questions about the information, please feel free to ask them and we will get you answers. According to our legal counsel, we do not need a formal meeting of the committee to meet the requirements of the statute, just to get your input. I will put this on the agenda for our next meeting in March to update you on the status and to have an opportunity for any additional questions that may come up to be asked. Please note that this item goes before the Board of Education at a special meeting on February 22nd so please respond before then if possible.
Thank you for your assistance.
Chief Financial Officer”
Proposed waiver language (language to be stricken is bracketed):
“#6: EDUCATION CODES SECTIONS TO BE WAIVED
ATTACHMENT A TO MDUSD WAIVER REQUEST RE: CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING IMPACT
(1) Waive the stricken through provisions of Ed Code Section 47632(j)
(2) which provides that:
“If a charter granted by a county office of education after having been previously denied by a school district, the sponsoring local educational agency means [the school district that initially denied the charter petition.]”and substitute the following language: “the approving County Office of Education that granted the charter.”
(2) Waive the stricken through provisions of Ed Code Section 47660 which provides that:
“(a) For purposes of computing eligibility for, and entitlements to, general purpose funding and operational funding for categorical programs, the enrollment and average daily attendance of a sponsoring local educational agency shall exclude the enrollment and attendance of pupils in its charter schools funded pursuant to this chapter.
(b)(1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), and commencing with the 2005-06 fiscal year, for purposes of computing eligibility for, and entitlements to, revenue limit funding, the average daily attendance of a unified school district, other than a unified school district that has converted all of its schools to charter status pursuant to 47606, shall include all attendance of pupils who reside in the unified school district and who would otherwise have been eligible to attend a noncharter school of the school district, if the school district was a basic aid school district in the prior fiscal year, [or if the pupils reside in the unified district and attended a charter school of that school district that converted to charter status o or after July 1, 2005]. Only the attendance of pupils described by this paragraph shall be included in the calculation made pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (h) of Section 42238.”
Practical Effect of Waiver
Either of the above-reference waived provisions would have a neutral fiscal impact on our district.
• Under the first scenario, the Contra Costa County Office of Education, would be deemed the sponsoring local educational agency of the conversion.
• Under the second scenario, the Clayton Valley Charter High School, a conversion charter, would be treated the same as a start-up charter and the funding difference between the District’s unified rate and the high school rate, would not be borne by the remaining students and families of the district.”
Rationale for the waiver:
“#7: DESIRED OUTCOME/RATIONALE
ATTACHMENT B TO MDUSD WAIVER REQUEST RE: CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
On January 11, 2012, Contra Costa County Office of Education approved the conversion of Clayton Valley High School to an independent charter school. CVHS is the District’s second largest high school and houses approximately 5.47% of the District’s pupils. Mt. Diablo USD is a low wealth unified district funded below the statewide average. The inclusion of the school’s students in the District’s revenue limit and then having the District pay out to the charter general purpose block grant based on the statewide average high school district rate causes the District to lose $979.84 per unit of ADA at the school. This creates a loss of approximately $1.74M annually at a time when school funding has already been cut, and is proposed to be further reduced in the 2012-13 budget. This creates a significant hardship upon the remaining students in the District.
Funding a comprehensive high school conversion charter in a unified district at the high school district rate ignores the reason the high school district rate is higher than the elementary rate. It is higher to help cover the costs of students who are more expensive to serve: continuation; community day; and other students at risk of dropping out of school. Comprehensive high school students are not that much more expensive to serve than elementary or middle school students due to the fact that State law mandates a single salary schedule for unified districts. However, under current scenario, the District will retain all of the expensive to serve students and will lose the funding with which to serve them.
If the effect is spread across the entire District, it results in a loss of $56.68 per unit of ADA (a 1.09% decrease) for all other schools in the District. However, many parents in the other communities in the District feel strongly that other feeder patterns should remain unaffected and the impact of this cut should be borne solely by the Clayton Valley feeder pattern. There are currently 3,504.68 units of ADA in the other schools that are part of the Clayton Valley feeder pattern. A small portion of two of the schools feeds into another high school attendance area, but their ADA is included in this calculation. Spreading the loss of revenue among these four elementary schools and two middle schools would create a loss of funding of $496.81 per unit of ADA (a 9.53% decrease) on these campuses, and would put their funding at $4,711.35/ADA, well below the statewide average for elementary school districts.
Maintaining this disparity also works against the State’s intended objective of district unification and consolidation as it creates a penalty should any high school in the consolidation ever decide to convert to charter status.
Until now, conversion charter high schools have been predominantly limited to the Los Angeles Unified School District. If a school in LAUSD of 1,777 converts out of a district of 571,225, it comprises only 0.31% of that district’s students. The conversion of the school in LAUSD creates a loss to the other LAUSD schools of $3.05 per ADA. In our District the loss is nearly 20 times that amount.
Through this waiver, the District seeks to neutralize the financial impact to the other students of the District. This can be accomplished by having the County Office of Education deemed the Local Educational Agency responsible for the charter school for the purposes of Education Code Section 47632, and by not requiring the District to include the charter students into the District’s revenue limit calculation for the purposes of Education Code Section 47660.”
Do you think the district should call a special meeting of the BAC, so members could publicly discuss the waivers and hear each others’ comments and questions?
3 P.M. UPDATE: Here is a link to the letter originally provided to the district by the charter’s attorney, suggesting a waiver: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=110816395
FEB. 23 UPDATE: Here is a link to the waiver application and attachments: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/91f7d359-6b05-48b9-a324-90b2b5e35b6d.pdf
FEB. 27 UPDATE: Tonight, the school board expects to accept resignations from 64 CVHS teachers and to approve retirements for eight more: http://bit.ly/AdQEvs. This means 72 teachers have chosen not to continue working in MDUSD next year.