Charter Schools Movement State Timeline
Charter schools have transformed the public school system in California, and changed the lives of millions of students that have attended charters over the past two decades. Charter schools have also brought innovation, flexibility and positive outcomes. We have achieved an important milestone, and witnessed tremendous innovation and growth that is lacking in the traditional public school system. Charters are no longer an experiment, but a tried and true method that is not cookie-cutter, and is experiencing increasing demand by more and more families.
California was the second state in the nation to pass a charter school law—behind Minnesota
California has 1,063+ charter schools, the largest concentration of charters in the nation and more than 484,000 students. [Source]
September 22, 1992
SB 1148 (Hart) established charter schools in California, with a cap of 100 in the state and no more than 10 per school district.
January 1, 1993
The California Network of Educational Charters (CANEC) was the first charter membership organization founded in the United States, and the organizer of the first charter schools conference in the country. CANEC's first executive director was Susan Steelman Bragato, after whom the Association's student scholarships are named.
January 1, 1994
Congress provides funding to allow communities to start charters.
In 1994, Congress authorized the creation of the Public Charter Schools Program through Title X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The program helps charter schools with the costs associated with starting a charter school.
August 29, 1994
San Carlos Charter Learning Center, the first charter school in California, was numbered by the State Board of Education on February 11, 1993. Opening in San Mateo County on August 29, 1994, the school focuses on multi-age communities and project-based learning.
September 23, 1996
AB 3384 (Knox) implemented some of the Little Hoover Commission's recommendations, through provisions for charter school start-up funds under the Charter School Revolving Loan Fund, dispute resolution, compliance with open meeting laws and meeting statewide performance standards and conducting pupil assessments.
January 1, 1997
President Bill Clinton called for the creation of 3,000 charter schools in his State of the Union address in 1997. Read the full text of the speech.
January 1, 1998
In 1998, the authorizing legislation of the federal Public Charter Schools Program was amended by H.R. 2616 and signed into law by the president in October as the "Charter School Expansion Act of 1998."
May 8, 1998
AB 544 (Lempert) allowed the state to have 250 charter schools by the end of the 1998-99 school year, and increase that number by 100 each year, thereby creating California's "smart cap," allowed nonprofit organizations to operate charter schools, authorized the State Board of Education to grant and revoke charters, and established an appeals process for petition denials.
June 12, 1999
AB 1115 (Strom-Martin) established the Charter School Block Grant funding model, among other changes.
July 7, 1999
SB 267 chaptered into law.
SB 267 (Lewis) allowed start-up charter schools to apply directly to CDE for a loan of up to $250,000.
SB 434 covers Independent Study requirements for charters
SB 434 (Johnston) required charter schools offering independent study to comply with independent study laws and regulations, among other items affecting all charter schools such as written records of pupil attendance
October 26, 1999
Wilson v. State Board of Education
Wilson v. State Board of Education - Appellate court upholds the constitutionality of the California Charter Schools Act.
October 14, 2001
SB 740 (O'Connell) established the Charter School Facility Grant Program and the funding determination process for "non-classroom-based" charter schools.
January 1, 2002
President George W. Bush reauthorized charter school start-up funding in 2002.
Copyright © 2005 David Monniaux
May 15, 2003
In 2003, respected charter school leaders, visionary philanthropists, and vital charter school partners came together to rescue the emerging charter schools movement from an attack of re-regulation that threatened to hinder the growth of charters before they could really thrive. The California Charter Schools Association was created with the specific purpose of advancing the quality of charter schools while holding state and local authorities to their legal mandates.
September 25, 2003
Sequoia Union High School District v. Aurora Charter High School - Appellate Court validates the mandates of Proposition 39.
October 12, 2003
January 1, 2004
CCSA facilitated the community-led charter conversions of three failing schools in San Diego, including Gompers, which, as a result, stopped the "pipeline to prison," as one parent once called the Gompers campus, and opened a "highway to college."
September 1, 2004
179,810 students served by 510 California charter schools.
June 29, 2005
Ridgecrest Charter School v. Sierra Sands Unified School District - Appellate court rules that a school district's offer of space to a charter school at five different locations separated by 65 miles was not reasonably equivalent under Proposition 39.
September 1, 2005
199,833 students served by 574 California charter schools.
September 28, 2005
January 1, 2006
National charter schools enrollment surpassed one million students in 2006.
August 22, 2006
SB 604 (Aanestad) provided that a growing charter school can receive advanced apportionment funding for each pupil when it adds a new grade - CCSA was the bill's sponsor.
Copyright © 2005 David Monniaux
September 1, 2006
220,409 students served by 618 California charter schools.
September 18, 2006
AB 2717 (Walters) allowed the California School Finance Authority to issue bonds on behalf of charter schools for financing working capital and capital improvements - CCSA was the bill's sponsor.
August 1, 2007
Families That Can was founded when the State Legislature threatened to cut over $18 million from charter schools. Seven hundred concerned families rallied together to keep this funding, and they won!
September 1, 2007
254,345 students served by 687 California charter schools.
September 21, 2007
SB 20 (Torlakson) provided $18 million for the Charter School Facility Grant Program.
September 1, 2008
284,977 students served by 750 California charter schools.
September 24, 2008
SB 658 (Romero) phased out the Year-Round School Grant Program and shifted the funds over to the Charter School Facility Grant Program, nearly $100 million over five years - CCSA was the co-sponsor of this bill.
August 25, 2009
Thanks to a massive mobilization of parents and community members, in 2009, the Los Angeles Unified School District board passed Public School Choice (PSC), an unprecedented initiative to reform the operation of new schools and turn around the lowest performing schools in the district. PSC allowed non-district school operators - like charter schools, teacher teams, and community groups - the opportunity to run these schools.
September 1, 2009
341,000 students served by 809 California charter schools.
October 11, 2009
SB 592 (Romero) allowed local government entities or charter schools to hold title to their facilities under certain circumstances - CCSA was the sponsor of this bill.
August 19, 2010
New West Charter Middle School v. Los Angeles Unified School District - Appellate Court rules that a charter school is entitled to seek damages from a district when denied space under Proposition 39.
February 23, 2011
The first annual Portrait of the Movement report introduced a performance framework that renders a more nuanced analysis of charter school performance on a variety of academic performance indicators. Findings detailed in the report show that charter schools are contributing significantly to accelerating the closure of the performance gap between low-income and affluent communities.
March 9, 2011
Families That Can hosts the 2nd Annual Parent Summit at the California Charter Schools Conference.
September 1, 2011
National charter schools enrollment surpassed two million students in 2011, with the largest increase in enrollment (over 200,000 additional students) in a single school year.
October 6, 2011
Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform, provides a statewide analysis of African American academic performance trends in California public schools. Learn more
Bullis Charter School v. Los Altos School District - Appellate Court finds the District's assessment of comparison group schools did not meet the reasonable equivalence standard under Proposition 39.
December 30, 2011
California School Boards Association v. State Board of Education - Appellate Court upholds the regulations implementing Proposition 39.
January 12, 2012
Liberty Family Academy v. North Monterey County Unified School District - Appellate Court rules that a charter school corporation has standing after revocation to pursue a lawsuit against its authorizing district.
February 4, 2012
5,000 charter supporters gather in Los Angeles for the "Schools We Can Believe In" rally, the largest parent rally in the city's history.
February 23, 2012"
In this second annual Portrait of the Movement report, we presented findings from our analysis of the academic performance of California charter schools and discuss how our framework can be used to push for greater accountability for underperforming schools, as well as the support and expansion of schools demonstrating high impact.
February 29, 2012
Families That Can hosts the 3rd Annual Parent Summit at the California Charter Schools Conference.
February 29, 2012
1,000 charter supporters rally on the steps of the Capitol for funding equity.
March 28, 2012
Squillacote v Ridgecrest Charter School - Appellate Court rules that a charter school has authority to exempt itself from the teacher tenure rules governing school districts.