Once again, several representatives of the Mt. Diablo school district plan to trek up to Sacramento tomorrow, hoping to persuade the state Board of Education to approve their request to waive the financial impact of Clayton Valley Charter High on the district.
“I am going to the SBE meeting tomorrow and plan on addressing the SBE,” Superintendent Steven Lawrence wrote in an email. “It is important to the district because of the drastic cuts the state has made to our budget and the limited amount of funding provide(d) to educate the children of California. Any further loss of funds will negatively impact the educational opportunities for students in the district.”
District board President Sherry Whitmarsh said she doesn’t intend to go to the meeting because she believes the state board would be more likely to listen to parents than to district officials. Several district parents will attend, she said.
If the board denies the waiver, the district will have to shell out about $1.7 million more to the charter than it will receive from the state for the charter’s students. This is because the high school rate of funding is about $978 more per student than the unified school district rate.
The state Department of Education recommends denying the waiver because it would increase state costs and could set a precedent that would lead other districts to seek waivers. In addition, the board may not have the authority to grant the waiver, since school funding is granted by the Legislature.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, has proposed AB 1811 to try to help remedy the financial impact of charter conversion high schools on unified school districts.
But in looking more closely at her amended bill, which is in the Senate, it appears it would not apply to Clayton Valley Charter High.
Subdivision B of her proposed bill states:
“This subdivision shall not apply to a charter school that is
established through the conversion of an existing public high school
within a unified school district on or after January 1, 2010, but on
or before December 31, 2012, which instead shall receive
general-purpose funding pursuant to Section 47633. This paragraph
does not preclude a charter school or unified school district from
agreeing to an alternative funding formula, including the formula
specified in Section 47633.”
Section 47633 is the existing law, which would require the district to pay the charter high school rate. So, it appears that the bill is intended to remedy any future disparities that could arise if more high schools convert to charters in unified districts.
Here is the link to the state Department of Education agenda: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr12/agenda201207.asp
The district’s waiver request is Item W-25.
You can watch the action unfold online at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/
Do you think the state Board of Education should approve the district’s waiver request?