On September 30, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 709, which would have expressly required California charter schools to comply with the same transparency and conflict of interest requirements as traditional public school districts.
With recent reports of mismanagement by charter school governing boards across the state, there is constant discussion as to which conflict of interest and transparency laws apply to charter schools. AB 709 specifically aimed to encourage transparency and fair dealing in the governance of charter schools, and was substantially similar to legislation that Governor Brown vetoed in 2014, AB 913. AB 709 would have explicitly subjected charter schools to the requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act (Gov. Code, §§ 54950-54963), the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.
), Government Code section 1090, and the Political Reform Act (Gov. Code, §§ 87100, 87103).
In his veto message, Governor Brown repeated the message he wrote when he vetoed AB 913, noting that that while he supports transparency, the bill "goes further than simply addressing issues of potential conflicts of interest and goes too far in prescribing how these boards must operate."
For more information on the state's public record, open meeting and anti-corruption laws and their implications for charter schools and charter authorizers, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our 10 offices
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