Report 2016-141 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2016-141: Charter Schools: Some School Districts Improperly Authorized and Inadequately Monitored Out‑of‑District Charter Schools (Release Date: October 2017)

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that districts obtain community support for charter schools that they authorize, the Legislature should amend state law to further clarify the conditions prospective charter schools must meet to qualify for the geographic exception. For example, the Legislature could clarify whether prospective charter schools qualify for the exception when their petitions indicate that they will serve primarily students residing outside the authorizing district's jurisdiction.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that districts obtain community support for charter schools that they authorize, the Legislature should amend state law to require any district that is considering authorizing an out of district charter school to notify the school's host district 30 days in advance of the board meeting at which the potential authorizing district is scheduled to make its authorization decision. The Legislature should also require the potential authorizing district to hold the public hearing within the host district's boundaries, notwithstanding restrictions in the State's Ralph M. Brown Act that would otherwise require the hearing to occur in the authorizing district.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To reduce the need for litigation between authorizing districts and host districts, the Legislature should establish an appeals process through which districts can resolve disputes related to establishing out of district charter schools.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure charter school accountability, the Legislature should amend state law to require districts to strengthen their authorization processes by using the State Education Board's criteria for evaluating charter school petitions.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure charter school accountability, the Legislature should amend state law to require charter schools to report annually all of their school locations—including school sites, resource centers, and administrative offices—to their authorizers and Education.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To remove the financial incentive for districts to authorize out of district charter schools, the Legislature should amend state law to prohibit districts from charging fees for additional services above the actual cost of services provided.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that authorizers have adequate tools and guidance for providing effective financial oversight, the Legislature should require the State Education Board and Education to work with representatives from county offices of education, representatives from districts, and subject matter experts such as FCMAT, to either establish a committee or work with an existing committee to report to the Legislature recommendations on establishing a minimum reserve requirement for charter schools, defining criteria that would allow authorizers to revoke or deny renewal of schools' charters for financial mismanagement despite increases in academic achievement, and developing a template that authorizers can use to provide their charter schools with annual feedback on their financial condition.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that districts are aware of significant issues that may impact the out of district charter schools they authorize, the Legislature should amend state law to require each district to place a district representative as a nonvoting member on each out of district charter school's governing board and allow such a representative to attend all meetings of the charter school's governing board.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that charter schools improve the educational outcomes of their students, the Legislature should amend state law to require authorizers to annually assess whether their charter schools are meeting the academic goals established in their charters.

Recommendation #10 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To make certain that it authorizes only qualified petitions, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should revise its charter school authorization policy to require the documentation of its evaluation of charter school petitions. The district should present this documentation to its governing board for its consideration.

Recommendation #11 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure that it has a method to hold charter schools accountable for their educational programs, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should, as a best practice, strengthen its authorization process by using the State Education Board's criteria for evaluating petitions.

Recommendation #12 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should immediately establish a procedure to periodically review and update its charter school policy to include all of the requirements in state law.

Recommendation #13 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should immediately review petitions to ensure they include all of the requirements in state law at the time of their approval.

Recommendation #14 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should immediately require its charter schools to submit material revisions when they add new locations.

Recommendation #15 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should immediately track its actual costs for providing oversight and verify that its oversight fees do not exceed legal limits.

Recommendation #16 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To better ensure effective oversight of their charter schools' finances, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should develop written procedures for reviewing charter schools' financial information and conducting annual oversight visits. These procedures should include relevant requirements from memorandums of understanding with the charter schools and best practices.

Recommendation #17 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should develop written procedures for addressing financial concerns, such as a charter school's failure to meet the minimum reserve requirement established in the district's memorandum of understanding with the charter school.

Recommendation #18 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should place a district representative as a nonvoting member on each charter school's governing board.

Recommendation #19 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should adopt a policy requiring it to provide its charter schools with timely feedback and recommendations regarding academic performance.

Recommendation #20 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should adopt an academic oversight policy that includes steps for working with charter schools with poor performance results.

Recommendation #21 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should provide its charter schools with annual oversight reports on their academic performance.

Recommendation #22 To: Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District

Acton-Agua Dulce Unified should maintain active memorandums of understanding with its charter schools that describe the district's oversight responsibilities and ensure the schools meet the measurable student outcomes to which they have agreed.

Recommendation #23 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure that it has a method to hold charter schools accountable for their educational programs, Antelope Valley Union should, as a best practice, strengthen its authorization process by using the State Education Board's criteria for evaluating petitions.

Recommendation #24 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Antelope Valley Union should immediately establish a procedure to periodically review and update its charter school policy to include all of the requirements in state law.

Recommendation #25 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Antelope Valley Union should immediately review petitions to ensure they include all of the requirements in state law at the time of their approval.

Recommendation #26 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Antelope Valley Union should immediately require its charter schools to submit material revisions when they add new locations.

Recommendation #27 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure compliance with state law, Antelope Valley Union should immediately track its actual costs for providing oversight and verify that its oversight fees do not exceed legal limits.

Recommendation #28 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Antelope Valley Union should develop written procedures for reviewing charter schools' financial information and conducting annual oversight visits. These procedures should include relevant requirements from memorandums of understanding with the charter schools and best practices.

Recommendation #29 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Antelope Valley Union should develop written procedures for addressing financial concerns, such as a charter school's failure to meet the minimum reserve requirement established in the district's memorandum of understanding with the charter school.

Recommendation #30 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Antelope Valley Union should place a district representative as a nonvoting member on each charter school's governing board.

Recommendation #31 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, Antelope Valley Union should provide charter schools with written feedback and recommendations for improving their financial operations after completing its financial reviews and annual oversight visits.

Recommendation #32 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Antelope Valley Union should adopt a policy requiring it to provide its charter schools with timely feedback and recommendations regarding academic performance.

Recommendation #33 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Antelope Valley Union should adopt an academic oversight policy that includes steps for working with charter schools with poor performance results.

Recommendation #34 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, Antelope Valley Union should provide its charter schools with annual oversight reports on their academic performance.

Recommendation #35 To: Antelope Valley Union High School District

Antelope Valley Union should maintain active memorandums of understanding with its charter schools that describe the district's oversight responsibilities and ensure the schools meet the measurable student outcomes to which they have agreed.

Recommendation #36 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To make certain that it authorizes only qualified petitions, New Jerusalem should revise its charter school authorization policy to require the documentation of its evaluation of charter school petitions. The district should present this documentation to its governing board for its consideration.

Recommendation #37 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure that it has a method to hold charter schools accountable for their educational programs, New Jerusalem should, as a best practice, strengthen its authorization process by using the State Education Board's criteria for evaluating petitions.

Recommendation #38 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure compliance with state law, New Jerusalem should immediately establish a procedure to periodically review and update its charter school policy to include all of the requirements in state law.

Recommendation #39 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure compliance with state law, New Jerusalem should immediately review petitions to ensure they include all of the requirements in state law at the time of their approval.

Recommendation #40 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure compliance with state law, New Jerusalem should immediately require its charter schools to submit material revisions when they add new locations.

Recommendation #41 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure compliance with state law, New Jerusalem should immediately track its actual costs for providing oversight and verify that its oversight fees do not exceed legal limits.

Recommendation #42 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, New Jerusalem should develop written procedures for reviewing charter schools' financial information and conducting annual oversight visits. These procedures should include relevant requirements from memorandums of understanding with the charter schools and best practices.

Recommendation #43 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, New Jerusalem should develop written procedures for addressing financial concerns, such as a charter school's failure to meet the minimum reserve requirement established in the district's memorandum of understanding with the charter school.

Recommendation #44 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, New Jerusalem should place a district representative as a nonvoting member on each charter school's governing board.

Recommendation #45 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To better ensure effective oversight of its charter schools' finances, New Jerusalem should provide charter schools with written feedback and recommendations for improving their financial operations after completing its financial reviews and annual oversight visits.

Recommendation #46 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, New Jerusalem should adopt a policy requiring it to provide its charter schools with timely feedback and recommendations regarding academic performance.

Recommendation #47 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, New Jerusalem should adopt an academic oversight policy that includes steps for working with charter schools with poor performance results.

Recommendation #48 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

To ensure that charter schools work toward the academic goals established in their charters, New Jerusalem should provide its charter schools with annual oversight reports on their academic performance.

Recommendation #49 To: New Jerusalem Elementary School District

New Jerusalem should maintain active memorandums of understanding with its charter schools that describe the district's oversight responsibilities and ensure the schools meet the measurable student outcomes to which they have agreed.

All Recommendations in 2016-141

Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.

*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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