Advocacy



Independent. Consistent.
Member-Sustained.

The nation's first charter school support and advocacy organization, CSDC's advocacy work literally brought the charter schools concept to California in 1991, and has continued to be a consistent and trusted voice for the California charter school movement ever since.


Advocacy Overview

We have positively influenced more
pro-charter legislation than all
other California charter advocacy
organizations combined.

CSDC played a pivotal role in the California charter school movement, starting with the movement's inception in 1992.

We helped write California's first charter school law.

CSDC staff, including Executive Director and Founder, Eric Premack, were among the primary proponents advocating for the passage of California's first charter school law in 1992 and have played a critical role in the rapid spread of charter school legislation in over 25 states.

We assisted with a major overhaul to the Charter
Schools Act in 1998.

CSDC assisted with major upgrades to Charter Schools Act in 1998, including lifting the cap on the number of charter schools that could be authorized, as well as strengthening the appeals process for charter denials.

And we have been busy ever since.

Whether fighting for equitable funding, playing an important role in the state budget process, defending charter schools from legislative attack, or supporting charter schools before regulators and state agencies, CSDC has spent the last 20+ years furthering the California charter school movement.

We are fiscal experts who fight
for equitable charter funding.

We were the architects of the "block grant" system.

CSDC served as the architects of the "block grant" funding system, which later became the framework for the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) system, to which California is currently transitioning. While helping to build these systems, CSDC has constantly advocated for substantial equalization of charter school funding vis-à-vis school district funding.

We help secure funding for new and growing charters.

CSDC was the sole sponsor of the federal law requiring states to ensure that new and growing charter schools receive full funding from key federal formula grant programs (e.g., Title I).

CSDC also played a key role in drafting the law creating the federal charter school grant program, which is the primary source of start-up funding for the overwhelming majority of California’s charter schools

We play an important role in the
state budget process.

CSDC has a successful record of advocacy in the state budget process, including:

  • successfully defending increases in charter funding rates, netting hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for California’s charter schools;
  • successfully advocating for the expansion of charter exemptions from cash flow deferrals;
  • successfully supporting efforts to substantially expand state facilities aid funding and defending this program from proposed cuts; and
  • successfully advocating for charter schools that need to gain access to numerous funding sources, including, most recently, Common Core Standards and Mandated Cost Block Grant funding.

We defend charter schools from legislative attack.

CSDC vigorously defends charter schools from legislative attack. We have successfully opposed dozens of anti-charter bills by

  • thwarting the imposition of absurdly high charter renewal requirements;
  • preventing restrictions on charter school admissions, student discipline, and other student-related matters;
  • blocking the imposition of the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, the Political Reform Act, and other onerous Government Codes; and
  • stopping the imposition of more burdensome charter petition requirements.

We vigorously support charters
before regulators and state agencies.

CSDC is especially known for its vigorous and successful track record for supporting charter schools in front of the State Board (SBE)/Department of Education (CDE), Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS), and Education Audit Appeals Panel (EAAP).

CSDC is unique among charter advocacy organizations in its extremely deep and broad expertise and foresight in a huge range of key regulatory and bureaucratic issues that are vital to the success of charter schools, ranging from special education matters to key funding and facilities matters.

We represent charter interests in regulatory law.

CSDC successfully advocated for regulations strengthening charter schools’ rights during the charter renewal and revocation processes.

CSDC was the primary advocate in beefing-up “Proposition 39” facilities regulations, resulting in a fairer charter share of school district-owned facilities.

CSDC has also been a primary and consistent advocate for nonclassroom-based charter schools, advocating for numerous amendments to the nonclassroom-based regulatory process, as well as blunting proposed audit regulations that would have multiplied the auditing and oversight burden.

We spot unseen—but critical—burreaucratic matters.

CSDC interacts extensively with CDE and SBE staff on a huge range of vitally-important but often unseen bureaucratic matters, including funding and apportionment issues, categorical programs management and oversight, state charter appeals, numerous legal issues, and other matters.

We have helped to win over $600 million in grant
funding for California charter schools.

CSDC worked closely with the SBE, the CDE, and the State Treasurer’s staff to successfully apply for over $500 million in federal start-up/implementation grants and nearly $100 million in federal facilities grants for charter schools.

We support innovative school
models of all types.

We are a strong advocate for blended, virtual
and independent study charter schools.

CSDC successfully advocated for numerous amendments to “nonclassroom-based” regulatory process in order to reduce burdensome oversight.

CSDC also blunted proposed audit regulations that would have multiplied the auditing and oversight burden for nonclassroom-based schools.

Recent Successes

We're not resting on our laurels.

We continue to be California’s hardest-hitting charter school advocacy organization and the “go-to” source for charter school support, technical expertise, and leadership development. Some of our key recent accomplishments over the past year are summarized below.

We successfully advocated against numerous pieces of anti-charter legislation.

CSDC successfully advocated the Legislature to defeat (or the Governor to veto) anti-charter legislation on multiple topics, including:

  • restrictive student discipline, student admissions/enrollment, and other related laws;
  • burdensome government “transparency” laws, including multiple bills that would have imposed the state’s open meetings, public records, and draconian conflict-of-interest laws; and
  • laws allowing a school district to deny a charter petition if the district were to believe that authorizing a charter school would cause a loss of district funding.

We successfully advocated for major upgrades to the vital Charter Facilities Grant Program (“SB 740”).

CSDC successfully advocated for major upgrades to the vital Charter Facilities Grant Program (“SB 740”), including:

  • moving the Charter Facility Grant Program from CDE to the California School Finance Authority (CSFA), thereby significantly improving program management and accelerating payment timelines/cash flow;
  • advocating for the reimbursement of property assessment, common area maintenance, and other costs that had been proposed for exclusion; and
  • blunting restrictive conflict-of-interest restrictions, which could have deleted funding for schools that have close relationships with “sidecar” corporations that hold title to the schools' facilities.

Advocating for a shift away from the exclusive reliance on standardized test scores, and towards a broader-based, "multiple measures" approach.

CSDC has strongly supported the state’s efforts to reconstitute its school accountability system, arguing against an exclusive reliance on standardized test scores, and advocating instead for a broader-based, “multiple measures” approach. CSDC has

  • supported efforts to reformulate the Academic Performance Index (API) to include a broader range of data, including mission-specific college and/or career readiness indicators;
  • defeated a proposed narrow methodology for computing high school graduation rates that would have punished dropout recover high schools; and
  • successfully supported legislation to protect charter schools undergoing renewal during the suspension of the API.

We successfully advocated for extensive amendments to the Local Control Accountability Planning (LCAP) regulations and template.

We successfully advocated for extensive amendments to the Local Control Accountability Planning (LCAP) regulations and template to ensure a high-degree of charter-specific flexibility, including:

  • allowing charter schools to modify and/or delete the otherwise-mandated eight state priorities in order to align the schools' grade spans and missions;
  • allowing charter schools to modify or delete otherwise-mandated state priorities that relate to laws from which charter schools are otherwise exempt (e.g., facilities inspection requirements, state textbook adoption, credential assignment monitoring, etc.);
  • exempting charter schools from the extensive process and stakeholder involvement requirements that govern school district LCAP development; and
  • allowing charter schools to adopt a simplified, one-year LCAP in lieu of the more complex three-year LCAP required of school districts.
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