From The San Francisco Chronicle: A California appeals court has strengthened the authority of local school boards over charter schools. The decision will make it harder for state education officials to approve statewide charters with campuses in multiple counties. The state Board of Education has had the authority to let companies establish charter schools without local approval or monitoring. Groups of school boards, administrators and teachers argued in court that the board was overstepping its authority. The appeals court ruled that under a 2002 state law the state board can approve a statewide charter only if it offers benefits to students that would be unavailable from locally approved charter schools. Otherwise each new charter must be approved by the school district or county education office.