Newsletter: Proposed schedule changes and legislation updates

cropped-us-logo.pngIn this newsletter, we seek to provide updates on how you can become involved in our organizing efforts and on the progress of current charter school legislation. As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions! We can be reached at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com.   

Possible changes for next school year

When teachers from the Unite Summit organizing committee met with Diane and Anson earlier this month, we told them we are seeking a transparent and collaborative communication process, as we now have the right to be notified of potential changes to working conditions before they happen, discuss these changes with Summit administration, and even bargain over these changes.

One of these potential changes is the standardizing of all school schedules. We reached out to Diane and Anson last week to request more information about any changes to working conditions for next school year by April 22.

In response, Diane wrote: “As we shared on April 8th, we remain intent on complying with our legal obligations and have not made any changes to the terms and conditions of employment. If and when Summit decides to make any changes to the terms and conditions of employment we will adhere to our legal obligations.”

We want to make sure that teachers have a seat at the table when important decisions are made. While Diane’s email indicates that there will not be changes, as of now, to the schedule for next year, we are still continuing to collect testimonials from members who want to have their voices heard on this issue. Please use this form, or email unitesummitteachers@gmail.com, if you would like to contribute your perspective.

Bargaining team elections

We are looking for volunteers to join each site’s Contract Action Team. Members of that team will help the bargaining team representative by collecting input as needed throughout the bargaining process, and will work to make sure all teachers at that site are fully informed as bargaining progresses. Please reach out to your site organizers if you’re interested in that role!

The following teachers have been elected by their peers to represent their campus. Elected bargaining team members will attend bargaining meetings with SPS representatives once the contract negotiation process begins.

 

Summit Rainier:

Elected: Isela Mosqueira, Spanish

Expeditions:

Elected: Liz DeOrnellas, Journalism

Denali Middle School:

Elected: Sara Ragey, English

Denali High School:

Elected: Andrew Stevenson, Science

Tam Middle School:

Elected: Matthew Ploch, Expeditions

Tam High School:

Elected: Synclair Young, SPED

K2 Middle School:

Elected: Haley Ralph (Holt), History

K2 High School:

Elected: Brendan Boland, English

Summit Prep:

Dan McClure, Science

Everest:

Evan Anderson, Science

Upcoming elections:

TBD: Shasta, Tahoma

For more information, contact:

Shasta: Sarah Day Dayon

Tahoma: Morris Shieh

Updates on charter school legislation

Charter legislation continues to make its way through Sacramento. There have been some amendments to the bills since our last update, which we’ve listed below. We’ve also linked to the latest versions of the bills (as of the morning of April 22nd).

AB 1505

There was a hearing about AB 1505 on April 10th. You can watch the full hearing here, but we wanted to point out one important piece of testimony.

Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, the Chair of the Education Committee and one of the authors of AB 1505 said the following:

“If you’re a good charter operator, there is nothing to worry about in this bill…The intent [of AB 1505] is to allow school districts to consider the fiscal, academic, and facilities impact during the review of a petition for a new charter school or for a school that is expanding enrollment, but not for existing schools.  I am happy to work with all parties to clarify the intent of this and we will address this in future amendments working with all stakeholders.”

Additionally, Assemblymember Bonta, another co-author of the bill, stated that “this bill is not designed or intended to close any existing charter schools, period.” He also said that the consideration of financial, academic, and facilities impact on districts “will only apply to initial authorization, not to renewals.”  

We know that one of the talking points against this bill is that it will shut down existing schools and that a district could choose not to renew a charter due to its negative financial impact on that district. These quotes from the authors of AB 1505 make clear that this is not the intent of the bill, and we expect clarifying amendments in the coming weeks.

The latest version of AB 1505 contains the following amendments:

  • Adds a requirement that charter petitions include the names and qualifications of people nominated to serve on the board of directors of the charter school.
  • Clarifies that if a charter appeals to a County Board (after being denied by a District) and adds new material as part of its appeal, the County Board must send the charter petition back to the District for reconsideration. Under the current charter law, charter schools can’t add new material to their petition when they appeal. This law allows new materials to be added for reconsideration by the local school district.
  • Prohibits the State Board of Education from waiving parts of the law.

AB 1506

The latest version of AB 1506 contains the following amendments:

  • Authorizers (districts, counties, and the state) can’t increase enrollment in a charter after January 1, 2020, unless increases in enrollment had been previously authorized. A new charter that is authorized after that date can only enroll the number of pupils in its initial petition.
  • Prohibits new non-classroom-based charters (basically fully-online or independent study charters — Summit is classroom-based and would not be impacted) after January 1, 2020.
  • Gives preference to new charters run by organizations that are not already operating a school in that district.

AB 1507 and AB 1508 have not been amended since our last update.

SB 756

This bill would create a moratorium on new charter schools, evaluate the moratorium, and lift the moratorium after the completion of the evaluation.

According to the language of the bill, the intent of SB 756 is “to promote the value that the primary function of charter schools is to establish locally driven pedagogical innovation that supports California’s system of public education and does not replace or undermine it. Establishment of a charter school moratorium provides time to reconsider whether the current regulatory framework for charter schools is promoting this value.”

Like AB 1505, this bill is focused on new charters, not existing schools. The bill would prohibit new charters from opening unless the following legislation is passed before January 1, 2020:

  • Charters can only be authorized by the districts in which they are located
  • If a charter does have to locate outside its authorizing district, it can’t locate in another district unless that district agrees
  • The financial, academic, and facilities impact of a new charter will be taken into consideration for authorizing new charters
  • The creation of statewide and district caps on charters

If the above legislation isn’t passed, the moratorium on new charters will be repealed on January 1, 2025.

The bill also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office (a nonpartisan group of analysts) to evaluate the impact of the charter moratorium and lays out a number of specific research questions the LAO must answer, including:

  • Are charters serving the same number of English learners and students with disabilities as district schools?
  • Has the charter school moratorium led to fewer school closures and program cuts, especially in school districts in which a majority of pupils are pupils of color?
  • How have innovative practices been shared between charter schools and schools of a school district? What was learned and how will the new practice be incorporated into the broader learning community?

There will be a hearing on this bill on April 24.

We are seeking to ensure that all our members are fully informed as we progress through our unionization process. Please reach out to your site organizer or email us at unitesummitteachers@gmail.com if you have questions! You can also subscribe to our website for updates!

 

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