May 24, 2010 PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release May 24, 2010
Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA (415) 505-7575 firstname.lastname@example.org
California Charter Schools Association Presents Lawsuit Against LAUSD For Prop 39 Facilities Non-Compliance
LOS ANGELES, California.--The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) today filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for failing to provide equitable facilities to dozens of charter schools, as mandated by Proposition 39.
This year, 81 charter schools in the LAUSD district applied for Prop 39 facilities, with only 45 received final offers, yet none are compliant with the law. For instance, some schools were denied space, while others were offered classrooms not big enough to accommodate growing enrollment.
"LAUSD violates Prop 39 every year, forcing charter schools to find and lease expensive, private rental space to house their schools. As a result, charters are forced to pay higher percentages of their budgets for facilities rather than on direct services to students," said Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the CCSA. "Charter schools play an important role in California's public education and we believe all children have a right to attend school facilities that are equitable to those of traditional public schools."
LAUSD's previous violations of Proposition 39 forced CCSA to file suit against LAUSD in May 2007, which resulted in a Settlement Agreement. However, since that time, LAUSD has breached the Settlement Agreement, specifically rescinding offers made to charter schools, illegally rejecting charter's Average Daily Attendance (ADA) projections, and failing to make lawful facilities offers in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
In addition, LAUSD has issued over $10 Billion in bonds - most of which - over $6 Billion - was earmarked for new construction -- to build 180,000 new classroom seats despite declining district enrollment of 16%.
"To say that they have no facilities available for charter school students is outrageous. They have them, but somehow, continue to create a hostile environment that marginalizes our charter students, even though they're part of the public school system," added Wallace.
CCSA is seeking, on behalf of the charter schools in LAUSD, compliance of Prop. 39 and the Settlement Agreement of 2007, and would also advocate for the creation and implementation of a promised five-year plan addressing charter schools space needs, and the appointment of a special master to oversee compliance.
Proposition 39 was approved by the voters in 2000 with the intent of forcing districts to provide equitable and adequate facilities to charter school students. In exchange for equal access to facilities, charter schools and their proponents agreed to support a measure to lower the voter threshold that districts need in order to pass school bonds (to 55%). LAUSD's three bond measures--K, R, and Y--were approved post-Prop 39 as a result of the bargain.
"School facilities that have been built with funds coming from these measures might not have been possible if it had not been for the support of charter schools," said Wallace.
There are 166 charter schools located within LAUSD, serving approximately 60,000 students. This is the largest number of charters in any one district in the country. Charter students represent about 10% of all students in LAUSD.
About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 809 charter public schools that educate more than 341,000 charter school students in the state of California. The mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to lead the charter public school movement in California in order to increase the number of students attending high-quality charter schools. www.myschool.org.
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