SACRAMENTO, Sept. 30, 2016 – CTA President Eric Heins issued the following statement disappointed in Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of AB 709 – a bill that would have required all charter schools to be transparent and accountable to parents and to disclose how they spend taxpayer money, including budgets and contracts. It sought to prohibit charter school board members and their families from profiting from their schools, and would have ensured charter schools comply with California’s open meetings, open records and conflict of interest laws.
“It is unfortunate that given all the reports showing fraud, waste, mismanagement and unequal access to students, Governor Brown would veto such important legislation that simply required the same standards of accountability and transparency that apply to all neighborhood public schools. With so much evidence documenting the waste, fraud and abuse by privately-managed charter schools, which have cost taxpayers millions at the expense of our students, we hoped the Governor would have signed such an important bill. The impact is far too widespread. Educators, parents and civil rights groups will continue to support and push legislation to ensure accountability of all charter schools, transparency of taxpayer dollars and equal access for all students.”
An ACLU report, “Unequal Access,” found that more than 20 percent of California’s charter schools deny access to students with disabilities, English learners, or students who have lower grades and test scores. The NAACP recently called for a ban on privately managed charters. State regulators have found more than $81 million in fraudulent and wasteful spending at charter schools in California, while another report shows that an expansion of privately-run charter schools would cost the Los Angeles Unified School District more than $500 million this year alone.
Despite all these concerns, the Legislature earlier rejected SB 322 that would have eliminated discriminatory admissions policies at charter schools and the governor also vetoed SB 739 that would have prohibited a school district with a negative budget certification from authorizing a charter school to operate outside its attendance boundaries.
For more information on how charter schools operate, recent reports and the multimillion dollar industry behind them, go to www.KidsNotProfits.com. It’s time that privately-managed charter schools are held to the standards of accountability as other public schools.