AB 2990: Homeschool Charters & Taxpayer Education Funding

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Bill would ensure appropriate oversight and transparency of public funds

(Sacramento) – Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) would require state oversight and rules for homeschool charters and the appropriate use of public school funds with affiliated charter vendors.

Specifically, Assemblymember Garcia’s bill would prohibit school districts, county offices of education, or charter schools from offering financial incentives to parents of current or prospective students for participation in an educational enrichment activity.  It would also require the California Department of Education to compile a list of approved vendors that would offer valid educational enrichment activities. Finally, the bill would define what constitutes “educational enrichment activity.”  These educational enrichment activities would relate to the arts, entertainment, recreation, technology, or other subjects that are not traditional curriculum, but intended to support the intellectual and social development of the student.

“While it’s important to make sure we are allowing charter schools to have the freedom that they were given without it being abused and without it becoming a system where we’re privatizing education.  We must ensure these homeschool charters do not continue to take advantage of loopholes and misuse public funding,” stated Garcia.

“It’s important to me that we protect a parent’s right to home school their children, but not at the detriment of other students. We are asking for modest changes to the process to ensure public funds are expended on proper educational activities that students at public schools also have access to and not extravagant things like trips to Disneyland or as a way to pay for private or religious education.” continued Garcia.

During a time when schools are struggling to pay for essential instructional material and valid educational enrichment, Assemblymember Garcia is appalled by the blatant misuse of funds – some examples of activities offered to homeschool charter students through vendors include trips to Disneyland, Legoland tickets, horseback riding lessons, Medieval Times tickets, and SeaWorld tickets.  Assemblymember Garcia believes this is a question of equity and every student, no matter what zip code they are born into, should have equal educational opportunities.

“There is more evidence through recent investigative journalism that there is not adequate oversight as to how some non-classroom based charter schools are using taxpayer dollars – reports and increased scrutiny of bad actors proves there are blurred lines that require increased transparency and accountability,” said Garcia. 

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The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos, and Artesia.
 

Contact: Ashley Labar, 916-319-2058