California Law Now Ensures Charter Schools Covered by Open Records Laws

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a measure clarifying that California Charter schools and the entities that manage them are required to comply with the California Public Records Act and must take steps to ensure that members of the public can access their board meetings. The measure also stipulates that Charter school board members are bound by the same ethical responsibilities and rules governing conflicts of interest as public school board members. 

 The measure was designed to codify transparency requirements outlined a 2018 California Attorney General’s opinion which held that then-current law contained the same requirements as the recently signed measure.  While Attorney General opinions are given wide deference by courts, they do not carry the same weight as legislation.

 Codifying Charter school transparency has removed Charter school records from a public records “gray area” which allowed some charter operators to effectively deny access to public records at the same time they were able to use public money to pay for their operations.

 More on the Governor’s signing here.