Parents, leaders demand Gov. Jerry Brown end fraud, sign transparency bill
SACRAMENTO -- An alliance of community groups and state leaders has banded together to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign legislation aimed at charter school accountability and transparency by ensuring public access to the same financial records, governance meetings and conflict of interest protections as required at traditional public schools.
"Our board, after months of going to meetings, wouldn't answer a simple question about where the money is going and address our questions as stakeholders," she said. "Many students have left, and that board has torn apart our community. There was a complete lack of communication and they weren't being transparent about whether they were paying teachers appropriately and how they were using public funding."
State Treasurer John Chiang said the bill was an important first step in guaranteeing a level of transparency in the state's charter schools. Also legislation will be introduced next year that would hold charter school operators, and not just schools themselves, accountable.
"We all agree much more work needs to be done," he said.
In addition, a recent ACLU report, "Unequal Access," found that more than 20 percent of California's charter schools deny access to students with disabilities, English learners, or students who have lower grades and test scores, said Victor Leung, a staff attorney for the ACLU. As a result of the findings, the NAACP has called for a ban on privately managed charters.
A recent poll by In the Public Interest, a research and policy group, found that Californians overwhelmingly favor proposals to reform charter schools' transparency, said Bob Lawson, the group's director of special projects. It found 80 percent of respondents want to ensure that neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected by the opening of charter schools, he said.
For more information about AB 709, go to http://bit.ly/2ccO21g. For more on the ACLU report, go to https://www.aclusocal.org/unequal-access/. Or for the In the Public Interest study, go to http://bit.ly/2c8daaU.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-945-4764. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.Charter school charge: Parents, leaders demand Gov. Jerry Brown end fraud, sign transparency bill - EastBayTimes.com: