California School Accountability Report: New data on the cost of charter schools | AB1505 passes | and more

Here’s our pick of recent news about the ongoing effort to privatize public education in California. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.

New data on the cost of charter schools. Last week, In the Public Interest released a new report measuring the cost that charter schools create for West Contra Costa Unified in the Bay Area. Because some students that would’ve otherwise attended traditional public schools instead attend charter schools in the area, the district has $27.9 million less in funding to work with each year. That comes out to $978 less for each traditional public school student the district serves. Missed the press conference? Watch it here.

Students are paying the price. In the Public Interest’s Jeremy Mohler puts the new data out of West Contra Costa Unified into perspective:Charter schools aren’t the only financial pressure that districts are facing. Regressive taxation, declining birth rates, and other forces are impacting districts from Los Angeles to Sacramento. But, so far, the cost of charter schools has gone unmeasured and ignored in California educational planning. That can’t go on — students are paying the price.”

Charter reform bill passes assembly. Last Wednesday, AB1505 narrowly passed the state Assembly and will now move to the Senate. The bill would allow districts to consider the potential negative financial impact of a charter school on its budget when evaluating petitions to open new schools or expand existing schools. 

School board perspective.Emma Turner, California School Boards Association president and vice president of La Mesa-Spring Valley School District in San Diego County, makes the case for local control over decisions about new charter schools: “Schools have insufficient resources to begin with. So it’s critical that school board members have the authority to consider the district as a whole. They must be given the power to focus on school quality, access, equity, opportunity and good governance.”