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Deal reached in charter school reform legislation


Update (9/10/19) AB 1505 was passed by the Senate and Assembly and sent to the Governor. He has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law. 

8/29/19

Governor Newsom joined legislators and education advocates, including CSEA and labor coalition partners, to work out a deal that will increase accountability for California’s 1,300-plus charter schools. The key reform measure, AB 1505 (O’Donnell), is now on track to be heard by the full Senate and sent to the Governor’s desk by Sept. 13.

“After months of honest and difficult conversations, we have made significant progress on behalf of our students,” CSEA’s labor coalition said in a statement. “We believe the measure California lawmakers will vote on will lead to a more equitable learning environment for students in California’s neighborhood public schools.”

With only minor compromises made, AB 1505 presents a major step forward in reforming decades-old charter school laws. Over the past several years, public schools and students have suffered from loose guidelines that have allowed charter schools to seek approval from state-level bureaucrats rather than local school boards. Charter schools have also employed uncredentialed teachers and run afoul of the law creating online schools with false information. AB 1505 addresses these issues and more in the first major update of the state’s charter school law in decades.

AB 1505 Highlights


  • Controls charter school growth by imposing a two-year moratorium on all new virtual charter schools and home-school charters. It also allows more flexibility for local school boards to deny a charter that would create fiscal strain or undermine services offered by the district.

  • Creates more local control by eliminating the State Board of Education as a charter authority, giving more discretion to local school boards.

  • Increases accountability by requiring charter schools to have the same safety and credentialing requirements as other teachers.

  • Levels the playing field by requiring all charter schools to be evaluated on the same outcomes and data as traditional schools beginning in 2026.

Gov. Newsom announced the AB 1505 agreement on Wednesday along with Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senator Connie Leyva, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“This agreement focuses on the needs of our students,” Newsom said in a statement with other state leaders. “It increases accountability for all charter schools, allows high-quality charter schools to thrive, and ensures that the fiscal and community impacts of charter schools on school districts are carefully considered.”

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