To ensure that local funds pay for local education, California lawmakers have put new funding strings on charter schools that teach students via the internet.
The new state law is part of a budget package signed by Gov. Gray Davis, which includes a $25 million appropriation to develop a formula for funding future charter schools.
The law is aimed particularly at charter schools that get state funding for students who are home-schooled or given lessons over the internet. It would require these schools to give students the same amount of hourly instruction as regular public schools, keep student attendance records, and give students the statewide achievement test to maintain funding.
It also would require the schools to serve students no farther away than an adjacent county.
Democrats who approved the restrictions at Davis’ request say they are needed to curb abuses, such as school districts approving charter schools that are hundreds of miles away.
Republicans who opposed the law, however, say it will stifle the creativity that charter schools were designed to bring to education and put about three dozen schools currently serving 21,000 students out of business.