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      FIRM OVERVIEW           In the largest overhaul of California’s Charter Schools Act (“Act”) since it was enacted in 1992, Gov-
                              ernor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1505 and AB 1507 on October 3, 2019.  The Act authorizes the
      Practice Areas
                              establishment and operation of charter schools in California.  The closely watched and hotly debat-
      Administrative Hearings  ed reforms impact most aspects of charter school authorization, including oversight, appeals, and
      Charter School          renewals.  Enactment of AB 1505 and AB 1507 follows months of negotiations and compromises
      Community College
      Facilities & Business   from both sides in the ongoing charter school debate.
      Labor & Employment      BACKGROUND
      Litigation              Charter schools operate independently from school districts, but they require oversight from the
      Municipal               school district or county board that authorizes them.  In the last decade, California has seen un-
      Public Finance
      Public Safety           precedented growth in the number of charter schools.  According to the California Department of
      Special Education       Education (“CDE”), there were approximately 1,306 charter schools and seven all-charter districts in
      Student                 California at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.  With this growth has come criticism that
      Technology & Innovation
      Title IX                the law was not keeping pace with necessary checks and balances on charter school operation and
                              the impacts charter schools have on public school districts.  These bills were introduced to correct
      Statewide               deficiencies and close loopholes brought to light by litigation, including Anderson Union High School
      Sacramento              District v. Shasta Secondary Home School (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 262 handled by Lozano Smith (see
      Walnut Creek            Client News Brief Number 5, January 2017), as well as a subsequent Legislative Audit examining
      Fresno                  charter school operation and oversight, and the work of the Governor’s California Charter School
      Bakersfield             Policy Task Force.
      Los Angeles
      Mission Viejo
      San Diego               AB 1505
                              Most provisions of AB 1505 are set to go into effect on July 1, 2020.  Major highlights of AB 1505
                              include the following changes:

                                 >  Petition Approval Criteria.  When considering whether or not to grant or deny a petition for a
                                  new charter school, a district may consider whether the charter school will serve the interests
                                  of the entire community in which the charter school is proposing to locate.  Further, if a district
                                  meets certain criteria, the district may also consider whether or not it is positioned to absorb the
                                  fiscal impact of the proposed charter school.

                                 >  Petition Review Timelines.  The timeline for a school district to review an initial charter petition
                                  and a renewal petition has been extended.  The district must hold a public hearing to consid-
      Authors                     er the level of support for the petition 60 days after the petition is submitted, and the district
                                  must now hold a second public hearing to take action on a petition 90 days after the petition is
      Edward J. Sklar             submitted.  Additionally, the governing board of a school district or county board of education is
                                  now required to publish all staff recommendations and findings regarding a charter petition at
      Megan Macy                  least 15 days before the public hearing at which the board will either approve or deny the initial       or renewal petition.  Petitioners must also be afforded equivalent time to present evidence and
                                  testimony to the governing board at the public hearing in which the petition will be approved or
      Erin M. Hamor               denied.

      Courtney de Groof

      California’s Premier Public Agency Law Firm                                     
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