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CASI April 2022 Charter Chat Resource Page

Information and resources from the April 2022 Charter Chat, presented by the Charter Authorizer Support Initiative (CASI).

Charter Chat Topics

  1. Legislative Updates
  2. Program Hot Topics
  3. Fiscal Hot Topics
  4. Q&A from Previous Charter Chats and CASI Email
  5. Q&A from the April Charter Chat

Legislative Updates (As of April 27, 2022)

  • Assembly Bill (AB) 2774 External link opens in new window or tab. This bill changes the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) unduplicated pupil count. 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 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.
  • Senate Bill (SB) 1343 External link opens in new window or tab. This bill would require charter schools authorized on or after January 1, 2023, to participate in the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) or the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), or both. For the purpose of paying contributions on behalf of a charter school, the bill would require a county superintendent, district superintendent, or other employing agency that reports directly to CalSTRS, upon state apportionment to a charter school, to draw requisitions against the funds of the charter school in amounts equal to the estimated contributions required to be paid by the charter school to CalSTRS and pay them to the system.
  • To follow current legislation at the California Legislative Information External link opens in new window or tab. website:
    • 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.

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Program Hot Topics

  • Material Revisions Per Education Code (EC) Section 47607, material revisions to the charter are governed by EC Section 47605. Material revisions often occur at the time of renewal when a charter school proposes to change locations or grade levels served, but these changes (or any others) may be made only with the approval of the chartering authority. Additional examples of a material revision to the charter include, but are not limited to, changing the governance structure of the school; significantly increasing or decreasing the enrollment; changing the education program (for example moving from classroom-based to hybrid or nonclassroom-based); or changing the retirement system for school employees. The material revision process may also be addressed through the authorizer’s board policy. Most charters seek material revisions only during the renewal process because charter schools requesting renewal are required to update the charter to comply with any new laws since the charter was last reviewed and to follow the same procedures as a new petition.
  • Charter School Annual Information Update Each year, charter schools update their school and contact information via the Charter School Annual Information Update (Information Update).The 2022–23 Information Update is currently live for charter schools to access. The deadline to submit this year’s Information Update is Friday, May 20, 2022.
  • Student Records for Closed Charters The California Department of Education (CDE) does not have access to student records and transcripts. If a public school has school has closed, individuals are advised to contact the local district or the county office of education (COE). As charter schools are public schools, upon closure, most charters will send their files to either: (1) the charter management organization or a sister school in their organization, or (2) the school’s authorizer. If files are missing, it may be necessary to use the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, or CALPADS, to obtain student data. Additional information regarding the Retention and Transfer of Records can be found at the Charter School Closures web page.

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Fiscal Hot Topics

  • Extended Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) The ELO-P provides funding for afterschool and summer school enrichment programs to school districts and charter schools based on prior-year classroom-based average daily attendance for grades kindergarten through sixth grade (TK/K–6) and the prior year unduplicated pupil percentage as of the Second Principal Apportionment. Local educational agencies (LEAs) must operate the ELO-P pursuant to the requirements in EC Section 46120. For fiscal year 2021–22, statute requires LEAs to offer the ELO-P to all TK/K–6 classroom-based unduplicated pupils and provide program access to at least 50 percent of enrolled TK/K–6 classroom-based unduplicated pupils. LEAs are required to develop a program plan. The program plan needs to be approved by the LEA’s governing board in a public meeting and posted on the LEA's website.
  • Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT): Charter School Fiscal Health Risk Analysis for Charter Schools External link opens in new window or tab. (XLSX) In conjunction with the Signs for Fiscal Distress document which was discussed at the March Charter Chat, FCMAT created a charter school Fiscal Health Risk Analysis (FHRA) document. This document reviews 19 areas that are common indicators of risk or potential insolvency for charter schools. The tool provides a score based on the answers provided to the questions in each of the 19 sections to determine the fiscal health of a charter school. The FHRA tool can be shared with the charter schools to do a self-review and/or be completed with the authorizer, which can assist with conversations regarding the fiscal health of the school. In a future CASI meeting, FCMAT will be presenting a more in-depth walk-through of their fiscal tools.

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Q&A from Previous Charter Chats and CASI Email

When should authorizers start focusing on renewals?

Now. Assembly Bill (AB) 130 provides a two year extension to all charter terms which terminate between January 1, 2022, and June 30, 2025, as there was insufficient academic performance data to be used for the review process. The recommendation is to visit schools now to ensure they are meeting the needs of their students and fulfilling the requirements of their charter. Use the annual visit and report process to provide feedback to the charter school with an eye toward renewal.

What credentials are required for charter school staff?

California Education Code Section 47605(l) holds that charter school teachers are required to have the same teaching credential requirements as those who teach in district schools. Charter school administrators are not required by law to have credentials, but many charter petitions and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) may include credential requirements in the job descriptions.

The California Department of Education (CDE) Charter Schools Division Legislation Impacting Charters web page includes updates from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

What should authorizers look for in an annual report?

Per Education Code Section 47604.32, charter schools must be visited by the authorizer annually. While annual reports are not required by statute, they are best practice.  Written annual reports should include feedback on the following areas: governance, academics, compliance, safety, credentialing, facilities, finances, and parent involvement. The annual report will describe whether the charter school is living up to the requirements of its charter. For a deeper look at annual reports, please see the California Charter Authorizing Professionals (CCAP) Annual Report Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab. .

How should the authorizer handle parent complaints regarding the charter school?

Charter petitions include a section on dispute resolution. However, the memorandum of understanding between the authorizer and the charter school should formalize how complaints are handled. 

The California Department of Education has provided a Charter School Complaint Form template (PDF), which a charter school may edit to include contact information for submission to the authorizer. This includes a Charter School Complaint Notice which must be posted to the school’s website and details potential complaints under Education Code (EC) Section 47605, such as discouraging a pupil from enrolling or seeking to enroll in a charter school for any reason. It is important for a charter authorizer to determine whether or not the complaint is related to a potential material violation of the charter petition or violation of any law, as these are both grounds for the revocation of a charter under EC Section 47607.

Under EC Section 47604.4, a county superintendent of schools may, based upon written complaints by parents or other information that justifies the investigation, monitor the operations of a charter school located within that county and conduct an investigation into the operations of that charter school. If a county superintendent of schools monitors or investigates a charter school pursuant to this section, the county office of education (COE) shall not incur any liability beyond the cost of the investigation.

For reference, the Santa Clara County Office of Education has provided the procedure they follow as the charter school authorizer when a parent complaint is received:

When a parent complaint occurs, we listen to the complaint, and explain that as the authorizer, we are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the school. We also provide information regarding the school’s complaint process and the Uniform Complaint Process. We notify the school of the communication or concern and ask for the school to follow up. We then keep a copy of the concern in the school’s file and, depending on the severity of the issue or failure to follow up, may include reference to the complaint in the written annual report, as part of a notice of concern, or as part of the renewal process.

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Q&A from the April Charter Chat

What should be done with Comprehensive School Safety Plans (CSSP)? Can the county office of education (COE) support the connections between schools and first responders?

CSSPs should be reviewed to ensure they meet all the requirements of Education Code sections 32280–32289.5. It is up to the individual COE as to whether they can facilitate the connection between the school and the first responders. For more information, visit California Department of Education Safe Schools Planning for a Comprehensive Tool for School Safety Plans.

Will the upcoming CASI training be like a bootcamp?

CASI: Authorizing and Oversight 101 at the California Charter Authorizing Professional conference on June 22, 2022, will be a day-long, introductory session on everything a person new to authorizing needs to know. For more information and registration details, visit the California Charter Authorizing Professionals (CCAP) Calendar of Events External link opens in new window or tab..

Is there a set of written procedures as to how to deal with parent complaints?

No. As each charter and authorizer is unique, each entity must establish their own process for reviewing complaints and protecting the autonomy of each organization.

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Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
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