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Acknowledges some charter schools have "gone against the spirit of the law" and says he had "assembled a team to examine the situation and come back with solutions."
| Monday, Sep 22, 2014

brown010813Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1263 last week, ending, at least for now, Santa Clarita Valley school officials’ legislative attempts to stop charter schools from locating outside of the district that charters them.

In his veto message, Brown said: “Unfortunately, it appears that some districts and charter schools have gone against the spirit of the law and the exemption has instead become the rule. This has led to litigation and strained relationships among districts and charter schools.”

The bill would have limited a charter school’s ability to operate outside of an approving district.

Under the bill, a charter school would be able to locate outside of the boundaries for up to a year with cooperation from the chartering district if there is a need.

Brown acknowledged there was a “real problem,” but he was “not comfortable” with “retroactive language that could force existing charter schools to change locations.”

He said he has “assembled a team to examine this situation and come back with solutions that minimize disruption to students and parents.”

Language in the bill would have made several charter schools approved by Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District officials illegal because they were approved outside of the district’s boundaries.

County officials ended up putting several of the school district’s charter approvals on hold regardless to due concerns over the district’s financial stability.

The bill was authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, who represents a portion of the west side of the Santa Clarita Valley, at the behest of local educators.

Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said he opposed the bill, as did Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

Wilk issued a statement shortly after the vote, calling the bill a “coercive” attempt to punish Albert Einstein Academy, particularly in light of a grandfather clause in the bill.

“Once again the majority party has used the coercive power of government to punish those they do not like or agree with,” Wilk said. “Recent actions by the Action-Agua Dulce School District regarding certifying new charter schools may or may not have been proper, and that issue is currently being litigated by the courts. What is crystal clear is this bill’s grandfather clause is designed to harm just one school – the Albert Einstein Academy located in Valencia.”

Education officials have insisted the bill was aimed at a broader problem, and that the grandfather clause wasn’t targeting AEA specifically.

“School districts in the Santa Clarita Valley and across the state, the state PTA, the school boards association and both houses of the State Legislature were convinced this law was needed,” said Brian Walters, president of the Newhall School District.

“It was disappointing to learn today that Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1263, which would have added much-needed clarity to the law governing the establishment of charter schools in California,” he said in a statement. “The bill shed light on a problematic loophole, stimulated vibrant public discussion and garnered strong support as it moved through the legislative process. It must remain clear that this bill had nothing to do with the role of charter schools in the community. Rather, it had everything to do with ensuring that those seeking to establish charter schools follow a clearly defined, legal process that does not negatively impact existing public school districts.”

AEA officials said they were grateful for Brown’s decision. The grandfather clause mentioned in the bill would have made AADUSD’s approval of Einstein’s charter for a location inside Newhall School District boundaries illegal.

“This is clearly a victory for parent choice and student access,” according to a statement from Mike McCey, a charter school advocate, “not only in the Santa Clarita Valley, but throughout the state.”

Los Angeles Unified, Pasadena and Newhall are among the school districts suing Acton Agua Dulce over charter school approvals.

Comment On This Story
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  1. Competition and choices !

  2. Competition and choices !

  3. Brian Fisher Brian Fisher says:

    Isnt that fantastic..

  4. Brian Fisher Brian Fisher says:

    Isnt that fantastic..

  5. Time for a new governor.

  6. Time for a new governor.

  7. Karen Blum Karen Blum says:

    Finally a Governor who cares about kids,

  8. Karen Blum Karen Blum says:

    Finally a Governor who cares about kids,

  9. Thank you, Gov. Brown!!

  10. MacroView says:

    Pavley’s bill was so obviously designed to harm Einstein Academy… a bunch of baloney that it was for the betterment of all students. Like so many agendas on the Left, they masquerade as being for “the children” when what they want is 100% control of everything in our lives. This bill was ridiculous, addressing a problem that doesn’t exist. Grateful the Governor vetoed it, and grateful he heard the voices of so many reasonable citizens/parents who saw it for what it was.

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