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April 2023 ACCS - Item 2 Public Comment 9

Public Comment 9 received for Agenda Item 2 of the April 18, 2023, Advisory Commission on Charter Schools meeting.
Important Notice

The following information was received via email from Patty O'Driscoll ( from Learning Works Charter School. Except when needed for accessibility purposes, no corrections to spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors have been made. The Charter Schools Division understands the following acronyms to mean: CDE = California Department of Education; COLA = cost-of-living adjustment; ADA = average daily attendance.

To receive a copy of the below communication in its original format, contact the Charter Schools Division by email at

Item 02, Attachment 11, Charter #1031

Commenter’s First and Last Name: Patty O’Driscoll

Organization Affiliation: Learning Works Charter School

Agenda Item #2: Consideration of Requests for Determination of Funding with “Reasonable Basis”/Mitigating Circumstances as Required for Nonclassroom-Based Charter Schools Pursuant to California Education Code sections 47612.5 and 47634.2, and Associated California Code of Regulations, Title 5.

This public comment is in regards to CDE’s recommendation regarding the funding level for Learning Works Charter School at 85%. While Learning Works appreciates that CDE found our justification for missing the 40% certificated staffing spending target was sound, we disagree with CDE’s assertion that the planned uses of our reserves is “unsustainable.” Yes, we plan to use some of the reserves for staffing expenses, but these are sustainable because while we increased our overall spending while maintaining existing staff levels to be inline with state COLA and other strategies to support staff retention, the severe shortage of credentialed staff statewide, particularly to meet the needs of the students we serve and in our location, and trends in ADA in our school’s small population of students has exacerbated our efforts to increase the number of instructional and other credentialed staff. We are working hard to retain our current staff as well as recruit additional staff and anticipate that planned expenditures over the next two years will result in a reduction in reserves in line with the targets set for 100% funding for non-classroom based charter schools. Investments in facilities and school infrastructure in the next two years are one time costs that will also bring our targets in line relative to staffing and ADA. Learning Works is a charter school founded in 2008, with a mission to serve traditionally underserved students in grades 6-12 who have withdrawn or are in danger of withdrawing from mainstream education. We engage middle and high school students who have had adverse experiences in traditional schools, are justice-involved, have been expelled or are pregnant teens/teen parents to work toward a high school diploma. We have had 1,133 youth and young adults graduate with a high school diploma since we started. Though in the past two years we have experienced challenges, we know our approach works for students who continue to experience difficult life circumstances. We are committed to continuing the work we began 15 years ago to provide robust programming and build individualized approaches and supportive relationships that meet our students’ needs and propel them to graduation and beyond. Thank you for the opportunity to provide this public comment in relation to our school’s application for 100% funding.

Patty O'Driscoll
Vice President
Public Works

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Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
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