March 8, 2016
Dear Community Partner,
As you know from recent media coverage, the Board of Education has settled a lawsuit with the California Charter Schools Association over proceeds from the local parcel tax that supports our students. This parcel tax, approved by voters in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, raises about $9.8 million each year to support our students with smaller class sizes, libraries, counselors, psychologists, special education teachers, athletics, and custodial services.
The settlement comes after two years of negotiation and discussions on an equitable solution to the concerns of the charter schools community. The Board’s decision to settle reaffirms one simple truth: students who attend charter schools are public school students.
The resulting settlement shares the parcel tax on a per pupil basis. In the current school year, the District would provide 25% of the per pupil allocation from the parcel tax for each in-district student attending a charter school. The amount would rise to 50% in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and finally 75% in 2018-19. This will result in $2.8 million of the parcel tax revenue flowing to charter schools over the next four years.
The parcel tax is an important component of how we provide necessary resources to our students. The board is currently studying whether to place a measure on the November 2016 ballot that would continue this important support for our students. If and when a new parcel tax is passed, the charter schools would receive 100% of the per pupil allocation.
The District is home to 11 charter schools with a 12th scheduled to open in the fall. There are currently about 3,900 students attending those schools. All of them are non-profit organizations and none are religiously affiliated.
If you have any questions regarding the settlement or the role of charter schools in our community, please feel free to contact me directly.