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January 4, 2011 PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 4, 2011

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575
vwaters@calcharters.org

LOS ANGELES, California (January 4, 2011)

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board today approved a new Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) reorganization plan, which will give charter schools better options and more flexibility in special education service delivery.

Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), released the following statement on Special Education in Los Angeles Unified School District:

"Today marks a victory for both charter schools and the district, as we strive toward improving services to special education students, and their families. This collaboration between charters and the LAUSD, which comes on the heels of the signing of the Quality Schools Compact, is a step forward as the growing number of charter schools and the district work toward finding viable solutions to remove obstacles for the delivery of special education services at charter schools."

"This restructure plan will provide a new option for charter schools, in essence creating the infrastructure within the LAUSD SELPA to better meet the needs of charter schools within the public school system. It will also give charters increased flexibility and control in funding and program delivery, which we hope translates into serving more students with special needs."

"For years, the lack of autonomy over governance and service delivery, combined with funding constraints, have limited charter schools' ability to serve increased numbers of students with special needs. Our hope is that this collaborative effort will offer a tangible option for charters to consider, and that any remaining issues or concerns will be addressed as the new structure is implemented."

Background Information

  • Currently, there are 194 charter schools in LAUSD, the largest number of any school district in the U.S. LAUSD also serves the highest charter school population of any state.
  • Since the approval of the Charter Schools Act in 1992, there have been two ways to operate when it comes to providing special education services in a charter school, as a "school of the district" or as an "LEA (Local Education Agency) for special education purposes".
  • Due to lack of funding and programmatic control and flexibility, 93 LAUSD charter schools (representing approx 30,000 students) announced their intent to exit the LAUSD SELPA and seek LEA status in a new SELPA.
  • The new restructure would create a new charter-SELPA with an advisory committee.
  • Beginning 2011-2012, charter schools will have 3 options: remain in the district-operated side of the LAUSD SELPA; join the charter-operated side of the LAUSD SELPA; or apply to join another SELPA in the state (given that they submitted intent to exit).

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.calcharters.org.

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