Effective Jan. 1, 2020 "New" Transparency Laws for Charter Schools

On March 5, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 (“SB 126”). SB 126 will take effect as of January 1, 2020, and adds Section 47604.1 to the Education Code, expressly requiring charters schools and entities managing charter schools to comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act, the California Public Records Act, Government Code 1090, and the Political Reform Act of 1974.

SB 126 codifies an Attorney General Opinion released in December 2018, which opined charter schools must comply with a variety of laws applicable to school districts and county offices of education.

As many commentators have noted, many if not most charter schools already comply with the laws referenced in SB 126. However, SB 126 now requires charter schools to follow all aspects of these laws, which are often technical and complex. Accordingly, even those charter schools that already generally comply may be required to revise their practices.

Although the law does not take effect until January 2020, charter schools can prepare now. To ensure compliance with SB 126, Charter Schools should:

· Develop, review, and/or revise any policies, practices, and governance documents to determine whether revisions may be necessary to comply with these laws.

· Identify professional development workshops, in-service trainings, written guidance, etc. for administrators and members of the charter school's board of directors, or others on how these laws affect charter school governance and operations.

· Ensure any initial or renewal charter petitions appropriately address compliance with these laws.

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