Gov. Newsom asks to review impact of California charter schools on district finances

In one fallout from the recently settled strike of teachers in Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to establish a panel of experts to examine the impact of charter school growth on district finances.

The panel will have four months to look at the issue, and to report back to Newsom by July 1. Thurmond has not yet announced who will be on the panel, but its formation raises the likelihood that California’s charter school laws may undergo revision over the coming year.  This would be the first time there has been an in-depth look at the financial impact of charter schools since passage of California’s first charter law in 1992.

The issue was a concern of Newsom’s even before the L.A. teachers  strike, said Newsom spokesperson Brian Ferguson.

“As Governor Newsom stated in his first budget proposal, rising charter school enrollments in some urban districts are having real impacts on those districts’ ability to provide essential support and services for their students,” he said.

Under a 1998 state law, districts are not allowed to take into account the financial impact of a charter school on a district in deciding whether or not to grant them a charter. Charter advocates fear that removing this prohibition could have a dramatic impact on slowing charter school school expansion in the state.

Newsom’s creation of a panel to look into the issue appears a response to a resolution approved by the Los Angeles Unified school board last month as part of the agreement it reached with the United Teachers of Los Angeles and its striking teachers last month. The resolution called for a “comprehensive study” of various aspects of charter schools in the district, including their “financial implications.” Click here to read more: