CCSA Statement Regarding the Third Appellate District's Opinion in CSBA v. SBE Proposition 39 Regulations Lawsuit

January 6, 2011

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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 6, 2011

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

LOS ANGELES, California (January 6, 2011)

Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), released the following statement regarding the Third Appellate District's opinion in CSBA v. SBE Proposition 39 regulations lawsuit:

"We are very pleased to announce that the Third District Court of Appeal found in favor of CCSA and the State Board of Education in a written opinion issued December 30, 2010, which will result in charter schools having greater access to facilities by the validation of SBE's Revised Regulations of Proposition 39. The Court's unanimous opinion, authored by California's new Supreme Court Chief Justice, soundly rejected the arguments made by the California School Board Association (CSBA) and its co-petitioners that the SBE went beyond its authority in enacting the Regulations."

"The opinion is particularly helpful for conversion charter schools. The court found that the SBE 'has reasonably chosen to adopt regulations giving conversion charter schools what amounts to a presumptive right to remain at their existing school site, if they choose.' Conversion charter schools are generally formed from an existing district school site through petition by permanent status teachers, or at certain underperforming schools through a parent petition. As set forth in the Regulations, if the District proposes as necessary moving a conversion charter school after its first year of operation, a district may seek permission from the SBE."

"The court also affirmed a charter school's right to obtain facilities that are 'furnished and equipped'--a requirement that districts often overlook. The court rejected CSBA's arguments that districts cannot be obligated to provide any furnishings or equipment unless they are of a 'permanent nature' or could be purchased using bond funds. Finding 'no reason to believe it will be impossible" for districts to share administrative offices, for example, the court found that section 47614 requires a school district to review the furnishings and equipment it provides to its school administrative offices and either determine a method of sharing the use of such property or divide that property in such a way as to fairly share it with the charter school.'"

"When voters approved Proposition 39 in 2000, they intended for districts to provide charter schools with equitable access to space and facilities, and to be treated fairly as part of the public school system. In adopting these Revised Implementing Regulations, the SBE intended to clarify the district's obligations and the rights of charters schools when seeking to use district facilities. The court's opinion last week serves to buttress those rights."

"Unfortunately, over the last decade, districts throughout the state have flaunted compliance with Prop.39 and the Revised Implementing Regulations. Last week's opinion should result in greater access to district facilities on fairer terms. For example, the opinion made clear that districts may not charge a pro rata share charge for use of the facilities and an increased oversight charge on top."

"The court repeatedly adopted the reasoning of the seminal Prop. 39 opinion, 2005's Ridgecrest Charter School v. Sierra Sands Unified School District, reminding districts that Prop.39 is about sharing all of its facilities, furnishings and equipment with charter schools on an equitable basis. The court's opinion means that the regulations remain valid and will continue to apply to the 2011-12 Prop. 39 facilities request cycle."

Background Information

  • CCSA, on behalf of charter schools statewide, intervened in CSBA et al v. SBE, in 2008 in order to preserve the Proposition 39 Implementing Regulations which were developed over several years through a collaborative working group including charter school and district representatives.

  • 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.

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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