P ublic Polic y Jo urnal Fall 2017
Riverside County’s New CEO Has Big Plans pg. 2 - 3 Things Are Looking Up in the Inland Empire pg. 5-10
Downtown Riverside at dusk. Photo courtesy of City of Riverside
Legal Challenges Facing Nonclassroom-Based Charters in California pg. 11-19
e begin this issue of the Inland Empire Outlook with a profile of Riverside County’s new chief executive officer, George Johnson (p.2). Mr. Johnson took over the top spot in June, replacing Jay Orr who resigned to accept a position at Claremont Graduate University. We then present a snapshot of the Inland Empire’s economy (p.5). The unemployment rate in the region is back to pre-recession levels, various industry sectors show considerable growth, and housing sales are up. These factors all point to a good recovery from the Great Recession. Next, we examine an interesting issue facing some charter schools in California (p.11). A school district in northern California (in Shasta County) challenged the legality of a charter school resource center located in its district. The charter school was authorized by a neighboring school district in the same county. The novelty of the case stems from a statutory peculiarity in California’s education code, permitting satellite resource centers to locate outside of the charter school’s parent district so long as the resource center is also outside of the home county. School districts across the state have seized on this case to close similarly-sited resource centers. We at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government hope you find this edition of the Inland Empire Outlook a useful guide. Please visit our website, www.roseinstitute.org, for updates to these stories and other local government news.
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Riverside County’s New CEO has Big Plans by Melissa Muller ’18 Photo courtesy of Riverside County
he Riverside County Board of Supervisors promoted George Johnson to serve as the county’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) during a closed session on May 23, 2017. Johnson boasts a strong public-sector resume, with experience as Deputy CEO as well as in Riverside County’s Land Management Agency and transportation department. Prior to his career in the public sector, Johnson worked as a civil engineer in the private sector. The Board of Supervisors tasks the CEO with managing an organization comprised of 42 departments and over 22,000 employees. The CEO is responsible for a budget of $5.5 billion for the 2017–2018 fiscal year. Given such a large mandate and variety of tasks to accomplish, the Rose Institute asked Johnson to identify some of his priorities as CEO. He highlighted county efforts to diversify and accelerate the economy, improve
opportunities for education, and streamline county government. “Riverside County is diversifying the economy to create a thriving destination where families want to locate, buy a reasonably affordable home, work at good paying jobs, raise a family and secure high quality educations for their children. In order to continue serving a growing population, Riverside County is working to draw employers and work wherever it can with education institutions to improve opportunities for education in our county. Improving the economy and making more jobs available will offer residents and their children the opportunity to earn good wages and find affordable housing close to home,” said Johnson. Riverside County, however, has faced substantial financial difficulties in the past
George Johnson. Photo courtesy of Riverside County Executive Office
few years. From settlements that could add as much as $40 million to the annual budget to $22 million in revenue shortages, the county budget presents some challenges. Johnson identified six steps to help achieve his vision for Riverside County. The first three are administrative and budgetary reforms. First, Johnson will lead a robust reorganization of the Executive Office, with the goal of implementing new structures and initiatives with organization-wide communication and commitment-building plans. Second, Johnson is committed to a structurally balanced budget, focusing on delivering services. The goal is to have a budget with resilience to adverse fiscal circumstances, using data-driven budget decisions to maximize and diversify revenue sources. Third, Johnson seeks to launch organizational and cultural change to train the county’s workforce in digital skills and to focus on a service-friendly approach.
The second half of Johnson’s agenda is aimed at economic development. First is an effort to showcase Riverside County as a thriving place by publicizing the benefits of living there. Second is to make the county more business friendly by providing appealing business incentives, and developing a community profile to assist with business cycle sustainability. The final component is a focus on education and training to raise the caliber of the county’s workforce. This will involve strengthening employee retention and potential successors and creating an overall countywide strategy to transect education with future workforce needs. As Riverside County’s population more than doubled since 1991, with an annual growth rate today of over 50,000 residents, workforce development will prove a key feature of CEO Johnson’s economic development plan. In attracting businesses today and training the workforce for future years, CEO Johnson seeks to address key challenges in the shortterm, while keeping an eye for the long-term. Members of the Board of Supervisors expressed enthusiasm for Johnson’s appointment. Board Chairman John Tavaglione noted to the Anza Valley Outlook, “George knows the organization well and brings stability as we work to transform county operations during difficult financial times. I could not be happier with his selection.” In a Facebook post, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries congratulated Johnson, while noting some of the challenges facing Riverside County. He wrote, “George has [been] serving as the Deputy CEO for a number of years, and while I personally wanted to perform an outside search for new leadership at the county, and was willing to compromise with an interim (one year)
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Riverside County General Fund Discretionary Revenue 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY FY 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16 16/17 Source: Riverside County Executive Office
appointment to see if we could break free of the old established way we have been doing business, the Board felt it was best to stay the course and provide stability. George is a gentleman and very honest. He takes the helm at a very difficult time for our county – which is deficit spending at roughly $1 million per week and undergoing significant cut backs to our public safety budgets. I wish him the best.”
California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and an M.A. in leadership and organizational studies from California Baptist University in Riverside. Johnson has drawn from his experience as an engineer to approach problems analytically. He says he “has learned how to engineer teams, departments, agencies, and now [has] the opportunity to engineer and lead the county organization.”
A public official with a truly local background, Johnson earned a B.S. in civil engineering from
We are excited to see what CEO Johnson has in store for Riverside County.
Things Are Looking Up in the Inland Empire
The Inland Empire Energy Center in 2015 Source: Oohlong Johnson, Wikimedia Commons
by Sophia Helland ’20
ince the end of the Great Recession the Inland Empire—like the rest of the country—has slowly been rebuilding its economy after being hit particularly hard. The region had one the highest unemployment rates in Southern California, with manufacturing and construction industries devastated, and housing prices dropping by almost half. Over the past few years, however, the region has seen a return to pre-recessions levels of unemployment, industry job gains, stabilizing home prices, and increased sales. Inland Empire unemployment rates have improved dramatically since July of 2010 when they reached 14.4%, the highest levels seen in the past decade. Since then,
unemployment has steadily decreased until it reached the pre-recession level of 6.2% in September 2015. Over the past two years, the unemployment rate has continued to go down and has generally hovered between 4% and 6% for the past year . In May of 2017, unemployment was at its lowest since 2005, at 4.5%. While there has been a slight uptick in recent months (the July rate was 6.1%), the steady downward trend is still promising for the Inland Empire. According to the University of California Riverside’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, there was an increase in year-over-year payrolls of 2.8% and only a 0.5% increase in the labor force from April
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2016 to April 2017. The center hypothesized that the small increase in the size of the labor force was not due to a lack of job openings; rather, it was due to a lack of qualified workers who are willing or able to find housing in the increasingly expensive surrounding area. Housing affordability has been a major concern for all of California, and the resulting difficulty of finding employees who can afford to live near their jobs is just one of its ramifications.
strong in the Inland Empire for the past decade and a half. In 2000, approximately 43% of the population was employed or actively looking for work. From 2000-2008, the highest participation rate was 45.8%; September 2009 saw the lowest participation rate at 42.3%. Around 2015, the Inland Empire’s labor force participation rate grew to be even larger than it was in 2001, reaching a 46.4%. Unfortunately, participation in the Inland Empire is still lower than Los Angeles County and Orange County. These two counties’ participation rate has hovered at around 50%, almost a 5-percentage point difference from the Inland Empire. However, these three regions had relatively constant labor force
Labor force participation is a measure of the portion of the population that is participating in the labor market, either by working or by looking for work. It has remained relatively
Unemployment, Jan. 2000 - July 2017 16
Unemployment Rate (%)
Los Angeles County
Source: “Western Information Office: California.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed October 10, 2017. https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/california.htm.
Labor Force Participation, Jan. 2000 - Dec. 2016 70
Participation Rate (%)
Labor Force Participation Inland Empire
Labor Force Participation Los Angeles County
Labor Force Participation California
Source: â€œWestern Information Office: California.â€? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed October 10, 2017. https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/california.htm.
participation since 2000, suggesting that the recession did not result in a large number of discouraged workers. For the past several years, seasonally adjusted data show that several industries saw major gains in job growth. Construction saw the greatest increase, up 15.5% since last year. The Transport and Warehouse sector came in second with a growth of 6.3%. While this is considerable progress in a year, the construction sector has still not fully recovered from the Great Recession. Construction employment reached its peak in June 2006,
with 132,600 employees. While the 109,800 employees of the industry today are a vast improvement from the 55,600 employees in 2011, the industry is nowhere near its high a decade ago. The Center for Economic Forecasting and Development estimates that the industry is 20% below the levels seen prior to the recession. Most construction growth has come from large development projects, not residential building. This may be a contributing factor to high housing costs and affordability issues as will be discussed later, as there is a greater demand for housing than is currently being supplied.
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The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the region has experienced a 7.1% population increase since 2010 (San Bernardino County increased 5.2% while Riverside increased 9.0%). Growth in sectors such as leisure and hospitality, accommodation and food services, and education and health services reflects the increased demand for these services that comes from an expanding population. Education and health services grew steadily throughout the recession; leisure and hospitality lagged slightly, but still showed growth throughout the decade.
Skyrocketing housing costs have been a pervasive problem throughout California, especially in metropolitan areas. While the housing situation in the Inland Empire is better than in many other regions, there is still room for improvement. According to the California Association of Realtors, the median price of a single-family home in California during August 2017 was $508,810. This figure masks a wide range from the most expensive county (San Francisco County at $1,380,00) to the least expensive county (Siskiyou County at $212,000). The Inland Empire is among the most affordable areas in California, with the
Inland Empire Employees by Industry, 2000 - 2007 250
Number of Employees (Thousands)
Leisure and Hospitality
Education and Health Services
Source: â€œWestern Information Office: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Economy at a Glance.â€? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed October 10, 2017. https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/ca_riverside_msa.htm#eag.
Median Prices for Existing Single Family Homes, 2000-2017 $1,000,000 $900,000 $800,000 $700,000 $600,000 $500,000 $400,000 $300,000 $200,000 $100,000 $0 August 2007 Price Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
August 2009 Price Inland Empire
August 2017 Price
San Francisco Bay Area
Source: “Housing Affordability Index - Traditional.” California Association of Realtors. Accessed October 10, 2017. http://www.car.org/marketdata/data/haitraditional/.
median sale price at $344,040 in August, 2017. When broken down by county, San Bernardino had a median home price of $269,950 and Riverside’s median price was $388,500. Since last year, the average time spent on the market has gone down by almost half. The average house spent 45 weeks on the market in August 2016 and 23.5 weeks in August 2017. The Center for Economic Forecasting and Development’s observation that “low levels of construction in recent years, along with limited existing home sales, have continued to keep inventory low” helps account for the much faster sales.
According to the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, home ownership rates in the Inland Empire increased to 61% in early 2017. The Inland Empire has higher rates of homeownership than the rest of the state, which had a homeownership level of 55%, but slightly below the national level of 64%. This is most likely due to comparatively affordable housing prices. There are far fewer first-time homeowners entering the market than there were prior to the recession, but home sales have still increased 8.2% since 2016. While things are looking up in terms of market activity, affordability is still an issue. The median household income in the Inland
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Taxable Sales by County
(Taxable transactions in thousands of dollars)
County San Bernardino Riverside Los Angeles
2004 $ 26,206,167 $ 25,237,148 $ 122,533,104
2007 $ 30,450,731 $ 29,023,609 $ 137,820,418
2012 $ 29,531,921 $ 28,096,009 $ 135,295,582
2015 $ 35,338,556 $ 32,910,909 $ 151,033,781
Source: "Taxable Sales In California." California Board of Equalization. Accessed October 10, 2017. http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/tsalescont.htm
Empire was $55,018 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The California Association of Realtors, however, estimated that to afford a house, Inland Empire families would need an income of $68,560. When the recession struck disposable income dried up and consumption decreased, resulting in fewer taxable sales and thus less revenue for local governments. Since 2012, however, sales have been increasing. Data from the California Board of Equalization show that the Inland Empire’s growth has been keeping pace with Los Angeles County. San Bernardino and Riverside County have almost recovered to the point of pre-recession sales. Taxable sales in Bernardino County increased by $5 billion since 2007, despite a sharp decrease in 2012. Taxable sales in Riverside County have increased by almost $4 billion between 2007 and 2015. The Center for Economic Forecast and Development found that Autos and Transportation showed the greatest gains in taxable receipts in 2015, although it is worth noting that the growth is expected to slow down due to decreasing demand in 2017. Spending at Restaurants and Hotels, along
with Leisure and Hospitality, also increased. It thus makes sense that these sectors were also among those with the highest job growth. It is also worth noting that the Ontario International Airport may be helping to drive economic improvement as well. The airport reported that airline passenger traffic increased 7.3% over the past year, and air cargo increase 24.3% over the same time frame. As noted in earlier issues of the Inland Empire Outlook, the airport has helped grow the Inland Empire’s logistic sector, which has in turn had spillover effects in the warehouse and construction sectors. While there is still room for improvement, the Inland Empire has largely managed to bounce back from the Great Recession. This is no small feat considering how crippling the recession was to the region. Unemployment has receded back to pre-recession levels, various industry sectors have shown considerable growth, housing sales are growing, and the low price of land continues to attract development and population growth.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Legal Challenges Facing Nonclassroom-Based Charters in California by
alifornia passed the California Charter School Act in 1992, becoming only the second state (after Minnesota) to offer families in its 1,025 districts the opportunity to choose whether their needs were better met by a public charter school. The state intended to offer parents an alternative to traditional public schools and encourage local leaders to experiment with new educational techniques. Early proponents believed that charter schools may better suit low-income students facing an opportunity gap, along with students seeking an education tailored to a certain disability, academic interest, or demanding professional schedule. Charter schools receive public funding and must meet three basic state requirements. They must provide nonsectarian education,
Melanie Wolfe â€™20
charge no tuition, and admit all interested California students up to school capacity. Charter schools are established through a petition process. For a new charter school that is not a conversion of an existing public school, the petition must have the signatures of either 50 percent of the teachers meaningfully interested in teaching at the school, or 50 percent of the parents of pupils expected to enroll at the school. For a charter school that is a conversion of an existing public school, the petition must have signatures of 50 percent of the teachers at the school to be converted. The petition must include a description of the schools educational program, student outcome measurements, student discipline policy, employee policies, governance structure, and fiscal plans.
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There are three entities that can authorize charter petitions: the district where the charter school will be located, its county office of education, or the State Board of Education. A charter school whose petition is rejected by its district may appeal to its county office of education or the State Board of Education. The initial authorization is for a period of up to five years. Since the legislature authorized charter schools in 1992, California now leads the country with the most charter schools and charter school students. According the California Charter Schools Association, enrollment has steadily increased from 104,730 students in 1999-2000 to 603,632 students in 2016-17. There are now 1,254 charter schools in California, enrolling 9.2 percent of the stateâ€™s K-12 students. The California Charter School Association reports that 56 charter
schools opened in the 2016-2017 school year, adding 30,880 new charter school students. Although 28 charter schools closed over the same period, Southern California remains the region with the highest growth of new charter schools, and the greater Los Angeles area is the region with the second highest growth in the country. Nationally, public charter school enrollment had grown at an even faster pace. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools enrollment has grown from 1.2 million students in 2006-07 to an estimated 3.1 million in 2016-17. Charter Schools are also popular in the Inland Empire. Riverside County has 26 charter schools, of which six hold charters from the county office of education. Twenty of the charter schools in Riverside County offer sitebased instruction, three are for independent study students, and three offer a combination
California Charter School Enrollment 1999-2017 700 600
500 400 300 200 100 0
Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
of site-based and independent study. San Bernardino has 38 charter schools. Twenty-three offer site-based instruction, 13 are for independent study students, and two offer a combination of site-based and independent study. Of the 38 charter schools in San Bernardino County, only two are chartered through the county office of education. Charter schools are exempt from most state laws and regulations. Instead, each charter school is accountable to the entity that grants its charter, a legal agreement between the school and the authorizer. The school must comply with the terms of its charter, the Charter Schools Act, and other specified laws. The authorizing entity (school district, county office of education, or the State Board of Education) is responsible for ongoing oversight of the charter school and typically charges a fee of up to one percent of the charter schoolâ€™s rev-
enue to cover the cost of oversight activities. As charter schools have grown, their charge has expanded in turnâ€”many education commentators and charter school advocates credit charters with fostering innovation and filling a need for a creative and flexible public education. In turn, charter schools add support to the broader school choice movement, which also encompasses programs such as magnet schools, education vouchers, scholarship tax credits, and education savings accounts. California charter schools offer two types of instruction. About 80 percent of charter schools offer traditional, classroom-based instruction and about 20 percent offer some form of independent study, such as distance learning or home study. Independent study schools are also known as nonclassroombased schools. They usually consist of a combination of homeschooling, optional
National Charter School Enrollment 2006-2017 3,500,000 3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 2006-2007
Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
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group classes, online courses, student driven electives, concurrent enrollment at a campus site of the authorizing school district, and college level courses. A recent judicial ruling in a northern California case may slow down the rapid growth of the state’s nonclassroom-based charter schools. Anderson Union High School District v. Shasta Secondary Home School (hereafter Anderson v. Shasta), involved a challenge to a nonclassroom-based charter school. The issue presented is whether state law governing charter schools permits a charter school – that is authorized by a school district and provides support for nonclassroom-based independent study – to locate a resource center outside
the geographic boundaries of the authorizing school district but within the same county. Resource centers often serve as satellites for nonclassroom-based independent study charter schools. In this case, the defendant, Shasta Secondary Home School (SSHS) was a nonclassroom-based school established in 1999. The Shasta Union High School District authorized the charter and is responsible for oversight of SHSS. SHSS had two resource centers located within the boundaries of the authorizing district to provide students with tutoring, special education services, computer and science labs, and student work spaces. SSHS opened a third resource center in July 2013. The new resource cen-
Source: California Department of Education, Charter Schools in California, https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/si/cs/ap1/imagemap.aspx, accessed 10/11/2017. Graphic: Melissa Muller ’18
ter was housed in one room of an elementary school in the neighboring district, Anderson Unified School District, located within Shasta County (the home county of the charter and the authorizing district) but outside the boundaries of the authorizing district, Shasta Union High School District. In August 2013, the Anderson Unified School District filed a complaint against the SSHS arguing that the new resource center violated the geographic site restrictions found in the California Charter School Act. That law requires charters to operate school sites in the geographic boundaries of the school district but allows nonclassroom-based schools to establish resource centers, meeting space, or other satellite facilities located in a county adjacent to that in which the charter school is authorized.
The trial court sided with Shasta based on its understanding that omitting a provision authorizing in-county resource centers did not amount to a prohibition on these resource centers. That decision was reversed by the Third District Court of Appeals in a decision issued on October 17, 2016. The appellate court emphasized “the plain language of the statute” and was unconvinced by the trial court decision rooted in legislative intent. The California State Supreme Court declined to hear SSHS’s subsequent appeal so the Third District’s decision stands. Nonclassroom-based charters tend to rely on resource centers so that their students—who spend most of their time engaging in some form of independent study—have access
Source: California Department of Education, Charter Schools in California, https://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/si/cs/ap1/imagemap.aspx, accessed 10/11/2017. Graphic: Melissa Muller ’18
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to a nearby satellite of the main charter site that can provide them with educational support. The Charter Schools Act section of California’s Education Code specifically establishes this narrow functional definition of resource centers. The statute also draws a distinction between support sites that students use regularly for academic support and sites that schools use solely to facilitate standardized testing or occasional meetings for students of NCBs. The latter do not count as resource centers, and thus are not affected by the Anderson v. Shasta ruling. The statutory peculiarity that led to this decision—and the reason it has been so contentious—is that the Education Code explicitly permits resource centers to exist outside of the charter’s parent district so long as the satellite resource center is also outside of the home county. The code is silent on the issue of resource centers outside of the district in the same county as the parent charter. Charter
Photo Credit: Creative Commons
school proponents argue that an out-of-county allowance encompasses the more moderate out-of-district allowance and further claim that there is no logical reason to limit resource centers geographically. Doing so, they say, only harms the students who need access to them. In response, charter school opponents argue for a strict statutory construction, saying that if state lawmakers had wanted to allow for out-of-district resource centers within the parent charter’s county, they would have written that into the law. There is a policy argument behind limiting the expansion of NCBs via networks of resource centers. By their very nature, resource centers are auxiliary to an educational program, and policymakers may be reluctant to treat them as a replacement for one. A student attending a charter school who does not have access to a main charter campus, but only an auxiliary resource center, may not have a tangible connection to her charter school. Furthermore,
California Student Demographics Student Demographic African American Latino Asian White Other English Learner Free or Reduced Students with Disabilities*
Charter Public School % Enrollment 5% 51% 5% 28% 8% 17% 59% 10%
Traditional District School % Enrollment 5% 55% 9% 23% 7% 22% 62% 11%
*Percentage of 2016 CAASPP test-takers; may not be a direct reflection of actual enrollment. Source: 2016-2017 California Charter Public Schools Fact Sheet, August 2017.
under California law, authorizing school districts are responsible for oversight of charter schools. Charter school opponents argue that districts cannot do this if the charter is located outside of the district. Proponents respond that the law allows resource centers in other counties so oversight within the same county should not be an impediment. Charter schools are quite sensitive to enrollment shifts, while traditional public schools rarely close due to poor performance or shrinking enrollment. If charter schools continue to expand at the expense of public school enrollment, policymakers and district school boards may have to reconsider their reluctance to close traditional public schools. On the oversight question, the San Diego Union Tribune reports that “tens of thousands of California students attend satellite charter schools that operate in shopping malls, office parks and other unlikely campus venues within boundaries of school districts that did not authorize them.” Tribune reporter Maureen Magee notes that “the appellate court decision puts at stake the education of students and millions
of dollars in revenue generated by the charters for privately run organizations.” The Anderson v. Shasta ruling has left resource centers with three apparent options: close their doors, relocate to outside of the county in which their parent charter has been authorized, or apply for a wholly separate charter through the same process that their parent charter was authorized. Resource centers that take on the risk and financial burden of pursuing the latter option face the real possibility that the authorizer can reject their charter application. At this point, the resource center (or any other nontraditional school whose charter application is rejected) has the opportunity to appeal to the county board of education or the State Board of Education. Ultimately a trend of charter rejections at the lowest level of authorization will result in fewer charters overall, even if appeals to the State Board of Education may be successful. Given the reality of resource center closures, it is worth considering who exactly will be forced to seek out a new NCB or traditional school option. The San Diego Tribune re-
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Photo Credit: Creative Commons
ports that nonclassroom-based charters were educating 72,459 students in 2008; this number rose to 141,752 in 2016. California’s nonclassroom-based schools commonly serve “children home-schooled for religious reasons, students who struggled in a regular school environment, and child actors and athletes needing a flexible schedule” according to EdSource, estimating that up to 38,000 students could face readjustments to their charter school arrangements as a result of Anderson v. Shasta. According to the California Charter Schools Association, the demographics of charter schools in the state mirror those of traditional public schools. Latino students make up 51% of charter school enrollment and 55% at traditional public schools. African American
students make up 8% at charters and 5% at traditional public schools. Roughly twothirds of the students in both populations are eligible for free or reduced lunch, 59% at charters and 62% at traditional schools. This consistency of socio-economic integration between traditional and charter schools is also reflected nationally, according to education researchers at RAND in their report, Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration, and Competition. They also found that the kinds of students transferring to charter schools were generally low-achieving, but are more successful at charter schools than traditional public schools. The Rand researchers found that states with data on education attainment outcomes reflect “statistically significant and substantial increases in the probability of graduating and
of enrolling in college” for students attending charter schools. The battle between California’s traditional and charter schools has been brewing since the turn of the millennium. School districts have resorted to expanding online programs and making use of technology that makes it easier to supplement classroom instruction with teacher-guided independent-study programs in an attempt to compete with independent-study charters. Even in terms of access to facilities—an area where traditional schools would seem to have a leg up—state law requires school districts to share unused space with charter schools. That requirement was enacted by Proposition 39, a voter initiative in 2000. This can result in a charter school and and a traditional public school operating in the same building. This tension came to a head (quite publicly) leading up to the most recent Los Angeles Board of Education elections in May 2017. The Los Angeles Times reported that $15 million poured into the contest. The California Teachers Association and the California School
Boards Association organized and spent on the side of traditional schools and the California Charter Schools Association represented the interests of the state’s charter schools. This was one of the few school board elections in which the unions were outspent by their opponents. The pro-charter entities spent $9.7 million, defeating the incumbent board chair and resulting in a board with a majority of charter-friendly members. The unions spent $5.2 million opposing the chart-friendly candidates. Two of the highest overall contributions to the race were $5,144,716 from the Parent Teacher Alliance on behalf of charter groups and $4,128,206 from the United Teachers Los Angeles conglomerate on the behalf of teachers’ union groups. Given the current countervailing forces at the local level (school boards), courts, and the opening that remains for legislative action, the issue of resource centers and charter schools is far from settled. With a tenth of California’s total K-12 public-school student population currently enrolled in charter schools, charter schools will continue to be in the news.
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Photo Credit: Jena Mace ’19
EDI TOR I A L BOAR D Andrew E. Busch,
About the Rose Institute
Marionette Moore Administrative Assistant
ST U DE N T STAFF Sophia Helland ’20 Melissa Muller ’18 Wesley Whitaker ’18 Melanie Wolfe ’20
The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1973. An unmatched resource for information on California state and local government, the Institute maintains extensive demographic, economic, and political databases on the Southern California region. Under the direction of nationally-recognized faculty and staff, students from Claremont McKenna College play a significant role in researching, interpreting, and presenting data. The Institute specializes in four areas: survey research, criminal justice analysis, demographic studies, and legal and regulatory analysis. The mission of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government is to enhance the education of students at CMC, to produce high quality research, and to promote public understanding on issues of state and local government, politics, and policy, with an emphasis on California. To receive issues of the this publication electronically and for other news from the Rose Institute, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.