California and Arizona Take Measures to Increase Charter School Accountability

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California and Arizona Take Measures to Increase Charter School Accountability

California and Arizona Take Measures to Increase Charter School Accountability

In states across the country, charter school accountability is not only being discussed but acted upon. For year, parents and communities have sought out rules and regulations related to holding charter schools more responsible for everything from discipline to complaints from school children to test scores.

Now, this is becoming a reality as some parts of the country are passing legislation to make charter schools more accountable for their financial matters. It’s also boosted the importance for charter schools and their boards to look into Educators Liability Insurance which can financially support an organization when legal matters are brought up, such as issues related to accountability.

Here’s a look at a couple examples of movement in the nation’s charter schools.

What’s Happening in California

After earning bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly, California governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 on March 6th that requires charter school governing boards to comply with the same accountability and transparency laws that traditional school district boards already fall in line with.

The bill, authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva and Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, will make sure that all charter schools are to be held responsible stewards of the public funds they receive. This is a topic of discussion that has been on the minds of parents and communities around charter schools. The measure specifically makes sure that charter school governing boards observe the same open meeting, conflict-of-interest, and disclosure laws as public schools.

The bill will take effect starting in January of 2020, and was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of California among a number of other supporters.

Arizona Charter Actions

One state over from California, in Arizona, the public charter school system has seen a flurry of activity from within the system itself. Schools within the system have been working together to address issues related to governance and fiscal transparency for the state’s 556 charter schools. Lawmakers, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, the Attorney General’s office, community leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey have all been brought in to the conversation to determine the best way to address transparency and accountability.

The goal with these talks has been to make sure all public charter schools mirror the same high standards of integrity the industry embraces. Officials passed Senate Bill 1394 in February of 2019 in an effort to enact charter reform legislation after an earlier version garnered plenty of flack because of an opportunity for large charter chains to be exempted from new financial regulations.

The newly updated version is still getting attention from lawmakers in the state who want even stricter legislation enacted against charter schools. The legislation at hand would require local governing boards to have at least three governing body members and specifies that no more than two immediate family members can serve at the same time in the same charter school. This would end up allowing taxpayers to see and review financial information that meets the same information the IRS requires in order to maintain non-profit organization.

About PGUI

Professional Governmental Underwriters, Inc., is a full-service risk management company dedicated to assisting public, educational and non-profit entities in the management of their professional liability exposures including educators liability insurance. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art professional underwriting management and loss control advisory services on behalf of our designated carriers. For more information, call us toll-free at (800) 586-6502.