Written by Nicholas Vetrisek
SB 98, a bill that severely restricts charter school funding, has officially passed both the State Senate and Assembly. The voting was almost entirely along party lines in both legislative chambers, and Gov. Newsom signed it into law soon after passage.
The bill essentially restricts charter school funding for next year to attendance numbers corresponding with this past year. This is a problem because the number of charter school students is expected to double as a result of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns. If a charter school had 50 students this year and is expecting 100 students next year, they will now only receive funds correspondent to having 50 students.
SB 98 is clearly a way to put pressure on charter schools and try to eliminate them as competition to traditional public schools. In the private sector, these actions would be illegal and the monopoly would be broken up. But because this is government sanctioned, it is permitted.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley was one of the only vocal critics of the bill. He stated that charter school teachers live in fear of the state government due to worrying what they will pass next to try and put them out of business. “That’s a dynamic that should never exist in the modern liberal democracy, yet this bill intensifies it like never before,” Kiley said.
This bill is only going to make it more difficult for charter schools and, more importantly, students. Given that charter schools have been routing public schools with what meager funding they already had, there is still a chance for charter schools to continue outperforming the competition. This bill is just going to make it that much more difficult.