California Charter Association Sues LAUSD For Limiting Sharing of Campuses

California Charter Association Sues LAUSD For Limiting Sharing of Campuses

A pedestrian walks past the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles on October 3, 2022. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

4/3/2024

Updated: 4/3/2024

The California Charter Schools Association filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District over its new policy limiting charter schools’ ability to share campuses with district schools at nearly 350 school sites across the district.
The lawsuit, filed on April 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that the policy discriminates against charter students by not providing them with facilities “reasonably equivalent” to public school campuses.
In a statement on April 2, the association’s president, Myrna Castrejón, called the policy a “shameful and discriminatory attack” on public school students.
“Families choose to send their children to [LA Unified] charter public schools because they have found programs uniquely tailored to their needs,” Ms. Castrejón stated. “This policy limits options for those parents among the most vulnerable across L.A. Unified.”
She added that the district “shares a responsibility to house” charter schools under Proposition 39, a law passed in 2000 that requires school districts to provide space to charter schools that is “reasonably equivalent” to what districts provide public schools.
In the statement, Ms. Castrejón said she is offering to work with the board on a new policy that would improve the process of sharing campuses but claimed “[LA Unified] disregarded the voices and needs of charter school families and adopted a new policy to harm their schools.”
Citing concerns that sharing a campus with a charter school takes away resources from the district’s schools, L.A. Unified’s school board first approved a resolution on Sept. 26 that bans charter schools from co-locating on campuses with large numbers of high-needs students—including those that are part of the district’s Black Student Achievement Plan.
The board gave final approval to that policy on Feb. 13; however, the charter association in the following weeks claimed the board’s vote violated state open-meeting laws—also known as the Brown Act—due to trustee George McKenna’s virtual participation in that meeting.
In response to the charter association’s claim, the board reconvened in a special meeting on March 19 to affirm its previous decision in a 4-3 vote—with board president Jackie Goldberg and trustees George McKenna, Rocio Rivas and Scott Schmerelson voting in favor of the policy.
In an initial statement on Sept. 26, district officials expressed concern that co-location of charter schools created a “pipeline” that encourages students to leave the district’s public schools to enroll in charter schools.
There are more than 270 active charter schools with more than 112,000 students enrolled in LAUSD, according to the state’s Education Department.
In addition, charter schools in the district have seen an enrollment increase of about 1 percent per year since 2018, according to education database EdData.
The resolution will not affect any existing charter schools, according to district officials, but only new charter schools applying for co-locations.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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