CASI March 2022 Charter Chat Resource PageInformation and resources from the March 2022 Charter Chat, presented by the Charter Authorizer Support Initiative (CASI).
Charter Chat Topics
- Assembly Bill 2774 This bill proposes reconfiguring the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) unduplicated pupil count scenario. Currently, students who qualify for free and reduced priced meals, English learners, homeless and foster youth are included in the unduplicated pupil counts for supplemental and concentration funds. If Assembly Bill (AB) 2774 is approved, students in the lowest academic performance category (Red on the California School Dashboard) for both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math would also be identified for additional funding.
- Assembly Bill 2484 This bill currently states that if a charter school closes and has used state facility money for its building, then depending on how much State money was used for the facility, either the facility is given in “fee simple” to the district, or the charter school pays back the facility funds.
- To follow current legislation at the California Legislative Information
- Under "Quick Bill Search," select either "Bill Number" or "Keyword(s)"
- Enter the bill number or keyword, respectively
- Once the desired bill is located, click "Add to My Favorites." This will prompt the user to create a profile and receive email updates on the status of the desired bill.
- Form 700 - Statement of Economic Interest The Form 700 - Statement of Economic Interest must be updated by April 1 each year.
- Comprehensive School Safety Plans Per California Education Code (EC) Section 47605, Comprehensive School Safety Plans must be updated annually by March 1. Just like district plans, charter school plans must contain components covered in EC sections 32280-32289.5. The California Department of Education (CDE) Safe Schools Planning page has detailed information and a compliance tool for school safety plans. One challenge with school safety plans is that the charter school will have all the required pieces, but they will be located in different places or documents. Also, schools may not have the plan reviewed by parents or law enforcement, as required.
- Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) The LCAP template has changed for this year. All local educational agencies (LEAs) were to complete the mid-year supplemental review by February 28 and share this information with their governing boards. Governing boards were not required to approve the report, but the report will be included in the final LCAP which will be approved in June. While authorizers do not approve a charter school’s LCAP, they are responsible for reviewing the plan which includes:
- The school used the correct template
- The school included all the required component parts in one document in the correct order, and
- The approved document was posted on the school’s website
- Differentiated Assistance (DA) Authorizers and county offices of education (COEs) are required to provide DA to struggling charter schools. Authorizers should be aware of their role with DA as it pertains to oversight and monitoring and renewal or revocation of a school. On one hand, the authorizer is providing guidance and support to help the school improve. However, if the school does not improve and the decision is to revoke or not-renew, additional ramifications may occur as the charter school was relying on the guidance and support provided.
- Annual Site Visits and Reports Per EC Section 47604.32
, the authorizer must visit each charter school at least once annually. During this visit, authorizers review the operations of the school, the academic performance, the fiscal viability, meet with educational partners (parents, teachers, students, staff, etc.), review the governance of the school, review compliance documentation, and then best practice is to provide a report to the governing board of the charter school. California Charter Authorizing Professionals (CCAP) has created an annual visit toolkit and the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) also has annual visit resources which may be of use to other authorizers.
- CCAP Annual Report Toolkit
- The documents listed below can be found at SCCOE Annual Visit Resources
- Second Interim Financial Report Per EC Section 47604.33 , by March 15 of each year, charter schools are required to submit a second interim financial report to their authorizers and their county superintendent of schools, or only the county superintendent of schools if they are the chartering authority. The second interim reports shall reflect changes through January 31 and while charter schools are not required to utilize Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS), authorizers can request this information using an internal template. One of the most widely used second interim report templates looks similar to the Charter School Alternative Form that is used to report Unaudited Actuals. The second interim does not need to be approved by the charter school board unless it is required by the charter school’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Best practice as an authorizer is to review the submitted second interim reports and follow up with questions and/or provide feedback to the charter schools as needed.
- LCAP Process While the LCAP has been known as a program compliance item, it is the document which should be closely connected to the budget. The LCAP goals should drive the budget, not the other way around. Make sure your program and fiscal teams are communicating with each other when they are reviewing both documents. While reviewing, keep in mind that the Budget Overview for Parents should match the adopted budget numbers.
- Form 990 – Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (PDF) Due May 15. Charter schools should be in the process of completing their tax year 2021 returns at this time.
- Annual Budget Process Just like districts, charter schools must complete and approve their annual budget. Per EC Section 47604.33 , charter schools are required to submit their board approved annual budget by July 1 each year.
- Auditor Selection Form Per EC Section 41020 , the governing board of each charter school shall provide for an audit of the books and accounts of the school. In the event the governing board of a LEA has not provided for an audit of the books and accounts of the LEA by April 1, pursuant to EC Section 41020(b)(3), the County Superintendent of Schools shall provide for the audit and the cost of the audit shall be chargeable to the LEA. The State Controller’s Office maintains a list of Certified Public Accountants located in California.
- A–G Improvement Grant LEAs with 2020–21 Unduplicated Pupil Counts in Grades Nine through Twelve are eligible for this non-competitive grant to improve their A–G Completion Rate. An LEA that is otherwise eligible and is receiving Concentration funding as of 2020–21 fiscal year P-2, shall receive a total allocation of not less than $75,000. EC Section 41590 specifies that LEAs must develop their plans by April 1, 2022. An important clarification is that the law does not require governing boards of LEAs to discuss and then subsequently adopt their plans by April 1, 2022, but instead it requires only that plans be developed by each LEA on or before that date. Furthermore, EC Section 41590 does not require LEAs to submit their plans to any local or state agency.
- Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT): Indicators of Risk or Potential Insolvency (PDF) This document looks at the 15 areas and signs of fiscal distress which are indicators that authorizers should watch out for regarding the health of the charter school. Most charter schools which fail do so for fiscal reasons. Some of these areas include: unreliable budget development; insufficient budget monitoring; inadequate cash management; mismanaged salary and benefit decisions; increasing or unplanned contributions; continued deficit spending; and mismanaged employee benefits. For a deeper look at this document, come to the Quarterly Regional Training in July.
Some of the local charters do not feel that the 15 percent requirement (around teacher credentialing) is accurate. Do you have details on when/how the list of 15 percent misassignments was determined?
The formula to calculate the teacher credentialing rate is as follows:
- Number of teachers that have a teaching assignment and possess a valid and clear or preliminary teaching credential at the school on Census Day (i.e., October 2020)
- Divided by
- Number of teachers that have a teaching assignment at the school on Census Day (i.e., October 2020)
- Multiplied by 100
- Any school with 15 percent or more of the school’s teachers that do not possess a valid and clear or preliminary teaching credential are eligible for inclusion on the 2021–22 list of Williams schools. More information can be found at Williams Case - Monitoring FAQ.
Must the charter still need to fill out the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Mid-Year report if not receiving Supplemental or Concentration funding?
Yes. The Supplement to the Annual Update to the 2021–24 LCAP is a one-time, mid-year report to the local governing board or body governing the school and educational partners related to engagement on California’s 2021–22 Budget Act, the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and other state and federal relief acts that provided local educational agencies (LEAs) with a significant increase in funding to support students, teachers, staff, and their communities in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and to address the impacts of distance learning on students. The update is required to include all available mid-year outcome data related to metrics identified in the 2021–22 LCAP; and mid-year expenditure and implementation data on all actions identified in the 2021–22 LCAP.
Is Differentiated Assistance (DA) done by the district or the county office of education (COE), or is this negotiated?
Previously, DA was conducted by the authorizer. This has shifted now to the COE as of July 1, 2022. Per the Dashboard Technical Guide, under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) statutes, charter local educational agencies are eligible for DA based on student group performance on three out of four consecutive years on the Dashboard.
Regarding the Annual Site Visit, if we presented the feedback to the charter school leaders of the site, is that compliant?
While annual site visit reports are not required by statute, they are best practice. Education Code Section 47604.32 only requires authorizers to visit the school at least annually. While providing verbal feedback to the school site leaders gives them information, it is actually the board of the charter school which controls and is responsible for the charter. Written feedback in the form of an annual report to school leadership, the charter’s board, and the authorizing board is an indicator and look forward to the renewal process. The annual reports serve as guideposts for both the authorizer and the charter school. More information on annual reports will be provided during the Quarterly Regional Meeting in April.
We had several charters miss the second interim with the reason that their auditors were overwhelmed under Omicron. What should we do?
Per Education Code Section 47604.33 charter schools are required to submit their Second Interim Reports by March 15 of each year. Auditors do not have a part in the creation of the Second Interim Report; however, back office providers may. Auditors are responsible for reviewing the fiscal reports of the organization and providing the audit report for the preceding fiscal year no later than December 15 each year.
Is there one calendar of all required documents for oversight?
Currently, there is no single calendar with required charter school document submission deadlines provided by the California Department of Education.
The following document has been provided as a sample:
- Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) provides its authorized charter schools the following timeline for submissions (PDF).
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