We need your help! The legislature and the Governor have reached a tentative budget deal this week. While there are many positive aspects of the proposed budget, there is one aspect that is devastating to schools like ours. The agreement proposes that current funding would be held in place for the 20-21 school year but hidden away in the 300+ page document is the following statement:
“For the purposes of calculating apportionments for the 2020/2021 fiscal year and for any other calculations that would be based on average daily attendance in the 2020/2021 school year, for a non-classroom based charter school described in Section 76612.5 as of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the department shall use the non-classroom based charter school’s average daily attendance on the 2019-2020 fiscal year pursuant to subdivision (b) of section 43502.”
So, what does this mean? The budget bill (AB 77) is stating that schools like South Sutter, Ocean Grove, and Sky Mountain who have enrolled new students for fall, will not receive any funding for serving those students. During this difficult time of COVID-19 many families have made the choice to attend schools like ours for a variety of reasons. Some have chosen to join our school due to autoimmune disorders, others because they have found joy in homeschooling their children for the past few months, and yet others because of personal preference or the desire for more freedoms around schooling.
Unfortunately, this bill will force non-classroom based schools to stop enrolling students and hiring new teachers. In essence, punishing our community by forcing non-classroom based schools to cap enrollment and taking away this option for families in our community who are trying to find the best fit for their students during this very difficult and trying time.
As an IEM school, we have always believed parents should have choice as to how and where their child is educated. This limitation not only ensures that choice is limited for parents but ensures students will not be equitably funded if they choose to move to a non-seat-based school next year. If this passes with the current language, it will take the choice away from families wanting to attend a school like ours or to move to another school.
I hope you are wondering how you can help, or what you can do so that students in our community can continue to have access to schools like ours. If you are so inclined to do more and take action please consider the following:
Call the Governor’s office today or Friday with a simple, but powerful, request: “Please fund charter public schools at the same rate as traditional public schools when they enroll new students for the 2020/2021 school year. The current budget draft makes that impossible.” The telephone number is 916-445-2841 ext 1 (for English) or ext 2 (Spanish) then ext 6. You will likely be placed on hold but eventually should reach a staff member from the governor’s office.
If you don’t want to call, please consider visiting the Governor’s website and sending him the same message as shared above. His website can be reached at https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/. You can also contact the members of the budget committee or your local legislators.
Thank you so much for your support and involvement in the education of your children. I hope you are enjoying your summer.
Jodi Jones, IEM CEO