Backers of an initiative that would require charter schools to comply with state laws providing for public records upon request and conflict of interest received permission Tuesday from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures.
If approved by voters, the initiative would provide for public access to meetings and require public disclosure before charter school approval of certain contracts over $10,000.
The measure would prohibit for-profit operation of charter schools and restrict charter school investment of public funds to government bonds and federally insured accounts.
The initiative would result in additional costs to charter schools of at least several million dollars annually to undertake additional legal, financial and disclosure-related work, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst's Office and Department of Finance.
The analysis also found there would be minor annual costs to school districts, county offices of education and two state agencies to provide additional oversight and assistance to charter schools.
Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters -- 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election -- must be submitted by July 7 to qualify the measure for the November ballot.—City News Service