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AB-276 Local educational agencies: charter schools.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 08/24/2018 09:00 PM
AB276:v91#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 24, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  August 17, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  July 05, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  April 10, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  March 13, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 08, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 01, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 276


Introduced by Assembly Members Medina and Quirk-Silva
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Chau)

February 01, 2017


An act to add Section 47604.1 to the Education Code, relating to local educational agencies.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 276, as amended, Medina. Local educational agencies: charter schools.
(1) The Ralph M. Brown Act requires that all meetings of a legislative body, as defined, of a local agency, including a school district, be open and public and all persons be permitted to attend unless a closed session is authorized. Existing law requires regular meetings of the county board of education and all meetings of a governing board of a school district be conducted in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act. The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act requires, with specified exceptions, that all meetings of a state body be open and public and all persons be permitted to attend.
This bill would expressly state that a local educational agency, including a charter school and an entity managing a charter school, as defined, is subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act, unless the charter school is operated by an entity governed by the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, in which case the charter school would be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act. This provision would become operative on July 1, 2019.
(2) The California Public Records Act requires state and local agencies to make their records available for public inspection and to make copies available upon request and payment of a fee unless the records are exempt from disclosure.
This bill would expressly state that a local educational agency, including a charter school and an entity managing a charter school, as defined, is subject to the California Public Records Act, except as provided for certain charter schools located on federally recognized California Indian reservations or rancherias. For those charter schools, the bill would require each charter school’s chartering authority to be the custodian of records with regard to any request for information submitted to the charter school. These provisions would become operative on July 1, 2019. To the extent these provisions would impose a new duty on a local educational agency, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law prohibits certain public officials, including, but not limited to, state, county, or district officers or employees, from being financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members, except as provided. Existing law specifically requires members of governing boards of school districts to be subject to these provisions.
This bill would expressly state that a local educational agency, including a charter school and an entity managing a charter school, as defined, is subject to these provisions, except that the bill would provide that a governing board or body member or a local agency executive, as defined, shall not be deemed to be interested in a contract if his or her interest is that of a person who provides a loan to a public school due to a fiscal emergency, or leases real property to be occupied by a charter school or who signs a guarantor agreement relative to the lease of real property to be occupied by a charter school, and who also serves as a member of the governing board or body or as a local agency executive of the charter school, as provided. The bill would also provide that an employee of a charter school is not disqualified from serving as a member of the governing body of the charter school because of that employment status. The bill would require such a member of the governing body of a charter school to abstain from voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence another member of that body regarding, any matter uniquely affecting his or her own employment. The bill would require a member of the governing body of a charter school to abstain from voting on, or from influencing or attempting to influence another member of that body regarding, personnel matters that uniquely affect a relative of the member, as provided. The bill would prohibit discussion of any item regarding an activity of the governing body of a charter school that is not related to the operation of the charter school at a meeting of the governing body to discuss items related to the operation of the charter school. These provisions would become operative on January 1, 2020.
(4) The Political Reform Act of 1974 requires every state agency and local governmental agency to adopt a conflict-of-interest code, formulated at the most decentralized level possible, that requires designated employees of the agency to file statements of economic interest disclosing any investments, business positions, interests in real property, or sources of income that may foreseeably be affected materially by any governmental decision made or participated in by the designated employee by virtue of his or her position.
This bill would expressly state that a local educational agency, including a charter school and an entity managing a charter school, as defined, is subject to the Political Reform Act of 1974. This provision would become operative on January 1, 2020.
(5) This bill would provide that, only by mutual agreement of the chartering authority of a charter school and the charter school petitioner, compliance with the provisions described in (1) to (4), inclusive, above may be delayed for up to 12 months, provided that compliance is achieved no later than January 1, 2021.

(5)

(6) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to do both of the following:
(a) Ensure that charter school governance is transparent.
(b) Ensure that monitoring and oversight of charter schools are conducted to protect the public interest.

SEC. 2.

 Section 47604.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

47604.1.
 (a) A local educational agency, including a charter school and an entity managing a charter school, is subject to all of the following:
(1) The Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code), except that a charter school operated by an entity governed by the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) is subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act regardless of the authorizing entity.
(2) (A) The California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(B) (i) The chartering authority of a charter school that meets the criteria specified in clauses (ii) and (iii) shall be the custodian of records with regard to any request for information submitted to the charter school. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to This paragraph does not allow a chartering authority to delay or obstruct access to records otherwise required under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code).
(ii) The charter school is located on a federally recognized California Indian reservation or rancheria.
(iii) The charter school is operated by a nonprofit public benefit corporation that was formed on or before May 31, 2002, and is currently operated by a federally recognized California Indian tribe.
(3) (A) Article 4 (commencing with Section 1090) of Chapter 1 of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code.
(B) Notwithstanding Article 4 (commencing with Section 1090) of Chapter 1 of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code, a governing board or body member or local agency executive, as defined in Section 3511.1 of the Government Code, shall not be deemed to be interested in a contract if his or her interest is any of the following:
(i) That of a person who provides a loan to a public school due to a fiscal emergency, and who also serves as a member of the governing board or body of the charter school. A member of a governing board or body who provides a loan as described in this clause shall abstain from voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence another member of the governing board or body regarding, all matters affecting the loan agreement. The loan agreement shall not disqualify the member from serving on the governing board or body or from employment by the charter school if the governing board or body, before entering into the loan agreement, declares the existence of and describes the fiscal emergency by adopting a resolution at a public meeting. The governing board or body shall disclose and approve the loan agreement, including the terms of the loan, during a public meeting. This clause shall also apply to a member of the governing board or body or a local agency executive of the charter school who signs a guarantor agreement relative to a line of credit, provided that the funds from the line of credit shall not be accessed until a fiscal emergency is declared and described as required pursuant to this paragraph. The interest rate for the loan or line of credit described in this clause shall be 0 percent. The lender may be reimbursed for the tax implication, if any, that arises because the Internal Revenue Service applies the applicable federal rate. The reimbursement shall not occur unless the lender presents proof of the amount charged by the Internal Revenue Service and the governing board or body approves the reimbursement at an open meeting of the governing board or body. A charter school shall notify its chartering authority of its intent to enter into the loan at least 48 hours before the initial public meeting scheduled for approving the loan. The lender shall not charge any other form of compensation.
(ii) That of a person who leases real property to be occupied by a charter school or who signs a guarantor agreement relative to the lease of real property to be occupied by a charter school, and who also serves as a member of the governing board or body or as a local agency executive of the charter school, provided that the charter school is not charged more than one dollar ($1.00) per year. The lessor or guarantor may be reimbursed for the tax implication, if any, that arises because the Internal Revenue Service applies the applicable federal rate to the value of the lease. A member of a governing board or body or local agency executive who is a lessor or guarantor as described in this clause shall abstain from voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence another member of the governing board or body regarding, all matters affecting the real property lease agreement. The reimbursement shall not occur unless the lessor or guarantor presents proof of the amount charged by the Internal Revenue Service and the governing board or body approves the reimbursement at an open meeting of the governing board or body. The governing board or body shall disclose and approve the real property lease agreement or guarantee, including the terms of the lease or guarantee, during a public meeting. A charter school shall notify its chartering authority of its intent to enter into the real property lease agreement or guarantee at least 48 hours before the initial public meeting scheduled for approving the lease. The lessor or guarantor shall not charge any other form of compensation.
(4) (A) The Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code).
(B) A local educational agency, including a charter school and the entity managing a charter school, shall be considered an agency and is the most decentralized level for purposes of adopting a conflict-of-interest code.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding Article 4 (commencing with Section 1090) of Chapter 1 of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code, an employee of a charter school is not disqualified because of that employment status from also serving as a member of the governing body of the charter school. Such a member of the governing body of a charter school shall abstain from voting on, or influencing or attempting to influence another member of the governing body regarding, all matters uniquely affecting his or her own employment.
(2) (A) A member of the governing body of a charter school shall abstain from voting on, and from influencing or attempting to influence another member of the governing body regarding, a personnel matter that uniquely affects a relative of the member, but may vote on a collective bargaining agreement or personnel matter that affects a class of employees to which a relative of the member belongs.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, a “relative” is an adult who is related to a person by blood or affinity within the third degree, as determined by the common law, or an individual in an adoptive relationship within the third degree.
(c) (1) For purposes of this section, an “entity managing a charter school” means an entity that provides management services to one or more charter schools, defined as the authority to do two or more of the following: and has the authority over two or more of the following areas of a charter school:
(A) Instructional design.
(B) Finances.
(C) Board membership.
(D) Operations.
(E) Policies.
(2) Where the charter school enters into a contract with an individual entity to provide a single service that does not give policymaking authority to the individual entity over the areas set forth in paragraph (1), the individual entity does not qualify as an “entity managing a charter school” for purposes of paragraph (1). These contracts shall be individual contracts with separate entities that are not related.
(3) A charter school shall not enter into a subcontract to avoid the requirements of this subdivision.

(A)Elect or appoint members of the governing body of a charter school.

(B)Remove members of the governing body of a charter school.

(C)Appoint or remove the officers or chief executive of a charter school.

(D)Vote on or otherwise make changes to the articles or bylaws of a charter school or to the charter petition.

(E)Overrule a decision of the governing body of a charter school.

(F)(i)Control the instructional design, finances, operations, or policies of a charter school.

(ii)For purposes of clause (i), control of the areas specified in clause (i) means delegated authority to act in those areas and to prohibit the governing body of the charter school from amending, changing, or overruling the actions of the entity in those areas, unless the action involves a contract between the charter school and another entity for specified services and the governing body of the charter school has clear authority to enter into, amend, or cancel the contract.

(2)An entity that subcontracts with another entity to perform a function listed in any of subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, of paragraph (1) shall still be considered an entity managing a charter school on the basis of its authority to perform that function.

(d) (1) To the extent that a governing body of a charter school, or an entity managing a charter school, engages in activities that are not related to a charter school authorized to operate in California, Section 1090 of the Government Code, the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code), the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code), and the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code) shall not apply with regard to those unrelated activities.
(2) A meeting of the governing body of a charter school to discuss items related to the operation of the charter school shall not include discussion of any item regarding an activity of the governing body that is not related to the operation of the charter school.
(e) (1) Paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) shall become operative on July 1, 2019. Paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a) shall become operative on January 1, 2020.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, only by mutual agreement of the chartering authority of a charter school and the charter school petitioner, compliance with subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, may be delayed for up to 12 months, provided that compliance is achieved no later than January 1, 2021.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.