We were surprised to read a recent letter to our CAVA colleagues from CAVA/K12 Inc. administration about AB 787, proposed legislation that would clarify current law prohibiting for-profit corporations from operating charter schools in California. In the letter, administration implies that the legislation is meant to close down CAVA. They state: “this bill is seeking to close all charter schools that are supported by for-profit corporations… California Virtual Academies (CAVA) is one of them” (admin letter to CAVA employees, 9/14/2015, emphasis added). This is simply not true.
AB 787 is very specific in what it would accomplish. It would “prohibit a charter school from operating as, or being operated by, a for-profit corporation.” CAVA is run as a non-profit corporation. There are many charter schools and district schools throughout California that contract with for-profit companies for all kinds of services including textbooks, janitorial services, speech therapists, etc. CAVA is one of a great number in this category. Meanwhile there are a much smaller number of schools that appear to be operated by a for-profit, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). CAVA is not one of those. In fact, CAVA leaders have insisted time and again in hearings and tax filings that they are a not-for-profit. Given this, why would she try to confuse us?
We believe CAVA’s goal is to try to scare our colleagues into signing letters in opposition to AB 787. K 12 Inc and CAVA administration realize that AB 787 shines a light on schools where public dollars are not being used on students. The truth is, we have long asserted that too much money leaves our classrooms and goes to K12 Inc. in the form of payment for contracted services. In fact, a recent blog post on our website speaks to our concern about the redirection of educational resources away from our students. AB 787 would not shut down CAVA but it would draw attention to K12 Inc.’s role in prioritizing shareholders over students. We think that is a good thing. But that makes them nervous. Nervous enough to bend the truth about what AB 787 is about.
Let us know if you have any more questions, and contact us if you want to know how to help support AB 787!