Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools of choice. In 1992, California’s lawmakers passed the Charter Schools Act of 1992, making it the second state in the nation (after Minnesota) to enact charter school legislation. Its purpose was to allow educators, parents and community members to create an alternative type of public school. In California today there are about 1,230 charter schools, which serve nearly 600,000 students.
As a charter school, Springs is allowed greater operational freedom and flexibility, but we are subject to higher levels of accountability than traditional schools. The four schools under the Springs umbrella—River Springs, Harbor Springs, Empire Springs and Citrus Springs—are each granted a charter of five years at a time, after which the school is accountable to the district authorizing it and the families it serves to demonstrate it is producing positive academic results and adhering to the charter contract.
While Springs has enjoyed remarkable success and growth over the past 16 years, along with the state’s other charter schools we periodically face legislative challenges that would significantly hamper our efforts. We, for example, recently sent you an alert about California Assembly Bill AB-318 that could drastically restrict our school’s freedoms, and all independent study charter schools. If the bill were to pass, it would require teachers and students to meet in person or by live visual means on a weekly basis.
As parents of charter school children and residents of California, I encourage you to be an advocate for charter schools with your state representatives. Please watch for and act on alerts that we send you, such as our June 27th email alert relating to AB-318, or get involved with the work of the California Charter Schools Association, which does outstanding work advocating for charter schools on a statewide level. I encourage all of our parents and other friends of Springs to visit their website and see how they might become involved with this important organization. Your advocacy efforts can play a key role to ensure both the success and survival of our charter schools. I also invite you to view episode six of Kickin’ It with Kathleen, in which I discuss statewide challenges to charter schools, review misconceptions and untruths about charter schools and talk about ways you can help.
And, as I discussed in our July 2017 eNewsletter, please make time to attend our FREE, all-day Ignite! conference for parents at Pechanga Resort in Temecula. This 14th annual event will be held Wednesday, August 16, and provides parents with a unique opportunity to network and attend a series of workshops led by talented and accomplished speakers, both professional speakers and members of our staff. It is our hope that the conference will provide you with both ideas and enthusiasm to help you have another outstanding year educating your children. To register, click on the link above.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer vacation, and we look forward to seeing you on August 28th for the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer