SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after the Washington-based Center for Education Reform released a report, giving California an “A” rating for the state’s charter school laws: “This report confirms the incredible successes that charter school organizations have found in California and further emphasizes the importance of passing Race to the Top reforms that will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to our schools at a time when resources are needed most. These reform efforts also seek to lift the cap on charter schools to promote innovation and creativity in teaching so more students throughout the state can receive a grade ‘A’ education.”
Under Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, the number of charter schools in California has increased steadily from 382 in 2003-04 to 809 today. The Governor is also fighting to lift the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state entirely with his legislative package to make California highly competitive for federal Race to the Top funds – a $4.35 billion federal competitive grant program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designed to support education reform and innovation.
Other actions the Governor has taken to support charter schools include:
· In 2004, the Governor secured $75 million in federal funds for charter schools.
· In 2005, the Governor signed legislation to remove fiscal obstacles that school districts faced in approving charter schools.
· In 2006, the Governor supported the passage of the largest state bond funding for charter schools in California history in 2006 – $500 million in Proposition 1D funds.
· In 2006, the Governor signed legislation to ensure charter schools have access to tax exempt and low cost facility financing for use in the construction, repair or lease of school facilities.
· In 2009, the Governor signed legislation to remove a roadblock for charter schools wanting to access over $900 million in propositions 44, 55 and 1D funds for construction projects and to simplify the funding formula for charter schools.