Charter School Law Game Changer

Orange County Board of Education Approves Forward Thinking Policy

COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA (February 8, 2023) – The Orange County Board of Education, represented by San Francisco attorney Gregory J. Rolen with Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP, effectively changed charter school law for years to come. The Board approved the Forward Thinking Policy, authored by Gregory J. Rolen, which provides a roadmap for authorizers and levels the playing field for charter petitioners.

“The Forward Thinking Policy specifies that the Board expects authorizers to comply with the letter and spirit of AB 1505,” said Ricardo Soto, Chief Advocacy Officer and General Counsel, California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). “The policy is evenhanded and is the right thing to do. Because of the policy, thousands more students and families will have access to additional high quality public school options in their communities.”

Orange County Board Policy 400-12 was amended to specifically define terms which had otherwise been left undefined by the California State Board of Education. 400-12 defines “community,” “fiscal impact,” “substantially undermine,” and “duplicate” to reflect current realities and reflect the spirit of AB 1505.

“When determining fiscal impact, the positive impacts a charter school may bring to the community should be considered, as well as the potential financial savings it may bring to local school districts,” said Dr. Lisa Sparks, President, Orange County Board of Education. “The Orange County policy rejects a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to charter appeals and renewals.”

“The policy memorializes Board expectations for authorizers and petitioners alike,” said Tim Shaw, Board Trustee, Orange County Board of Education. “Our Board recognizes that charter schools are measured by educational outcomes, community impact, and the choices they can provide to families. We are proud to be in the vanguard of the school choice movement.”

February 8, 2023