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April 2023 ACCS - Item 4 Public Comment 1

Public Comment 1 received for Agenda Item 4 of the April 18, 2023, Advisory Commission on Charter Schools meeting.
Important Notice

The following information was provided on California Charter Schools Association letterhead. Except when needed for accessibility purposes, no corrections to spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors have been made.

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

April 14, 2023

RE: Agenda Item 04, April 2023 ACCS Meeting

Dear Commissioners:

On behalf of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), a membership organization serving the more than 1300 charter schools in the state, we are writing to express our opposition to the issuance of a Notice of Revocation to T.I.M.E. Community School (“T.I.M.E.”). For the reasons outlined below, we believe that the issuance of a Notice of Revocation is not called for at this time.

After the Montebello Unified School District (“Montebello Unified”) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (“LACOE”) denied T.I.M.E.’s charter petition it was unanimously approved for a five-year authorization by the State Board of Education (“SBE”) in July of 2020. In the years following the school’s authorization, they have been forced to overcome several unnecessary challenges that no charter school should be forced to face. For example, T.I.M.E. was forced to retain legal counsel and incur significant legal bills in an effort to obtain legally compliant school facilities pursuant to Proposition 39 (CA Education Code § 47614). In addition to legal expenses incurred, the uncertainty created by the protracted process to secure facilities space had a detrimental impact on T.I.M.E.’s ability to recruit students without knowing for sure where the school would be located upon opening.

These enrollment challenges created in large part by lack of access to a legally compliant school facility led directly to additional fiscal challenges. T.I.M.E. was prohibited from accessing startup funds to which they should have been entitled through the Public Charter School Grant Program (“PCSGP”). This federal grant program administered by the California Department of Education (“CDE”) provides critical start-up funds for new charter schools, but also includes minimum enrollment requirements for eligibility which T.I.M.E. was not able to meet. Moreover, LACOE was unwilling to confirm that T.I.M.E. was considered to be in “Good Standing” and that refusal not only hampered T.I.M.E.’s ability to obtain PCSGP funding, but would have additional dramatic impacts on T.I.M.E.’s finances.

This “Good Standing” issue has continued to stand in the way of T.I.M.E.’s success, due to no fault of the school. The Good Standing criteria for funding eligibility utilized by several state agencies is not required or defined by the California Education Code. It is a regulatory device implemented by agencies such as the California School Finance Authority (CSFA) to ensure that funding is not provided to charter schools that are in the process of having a charter petition revoked. However, as currently implemented it requires a charter school to receive an affirmative Good Standing certification from the school’s authorizer, in order to establish eligibility to receive funding through several state programs. Charter school authorizers frequently refuse to provide a Good Standing certification due to minor grievances that do not come close to grounds for revocation. T.I.M.E was refused Good Standing before any violations had been issued.

In addition to the loss of start-up grant funding from the PCSGP, the Good Standing requirement prevented the school from receiving funding from the CSFA’s Charter School Revolving Loan Program, which also utilizes this eligibility requirement, despite the fact that the program is currently undersubscribed with excess funding available, and despite the fact that when the letter of Good Standing was requested there was no formal revocation process initiated for T.I.M.E. Finally, when T.I.M.E. was eventually able to obtain a privately owned school facility, the school paid rental costs in the expectation they would receive funding from CSFA’s Charter School Facility Grant Program—a program that reimburses charter schools like T.I.M.E. that serve low-income students, for facility lease costs after they have been paid by the school. These were expenses that the school incurred that were eligible for reimbursement under the program but that were withheld from the school. If T.I.M.E. had received funding from these three programs—PCSGP, the Revolving Loan Program, and the Charter School Facility Grant Program—the vast majority of the deficit spending that is cited by the proposed notice would never have been necessary.

In the years following SBE’s authorization of T.I.M.E. the school has made great progress. T.I.M.E.’s enrollment is increasing and the school has obtained a facility that will allow for additional growth. T.I.M.E. is serving a low-income community and providing badly needed high quality educational programming to students in need. Furthermore, T.I.M.E.’s leadership has planned and opened the school and made significant progress during one of the most difficult periods of public school operations in decades resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. When the SBE unanimously approved T.I.M.E.’s charter petition for a five-year term, it did so fully aware that the school would need to overcome enrollment and fiscal challenges—as do many new charter schools. In fact, the SBE’s approval specifically listed several of these anticipated challenges. These budgetary challenges are not the result of mismanagement.

The school has tackled these challenges and made progress, despite having been wrongfully denied a legally compliant school facility, wrongfully denied access to federal funding via the PCSGP, and wrongfully denied access to state funding provided by the Charter School Revolving Loan Program and Charter School Facility Grant Program. The state should not further undercut this quality public school by issuing a Notice of Revocation before the school has even completed the second year of a five-year authorization. T.I.M.E. has provided the state with a reasonable plan for enrollment growth that will allow the school to improve its budget shortfall within the next few years. T.I.M.E. should be given the opportunity to continue to grow and serve a community in need.

Thank you for your review and consideration of our position on this proposed notice. Should you have any questions regarding anything included above please contact me at

Best Regards,

Nicolas Watson
Managing Director, Regulatory Affairs
California Charter Schools Association

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Last Reviewed: Monday, April 17, 2023
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