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November 18, 2011 November 18, 2011:
PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sierra Jenkins, CCSA
(213) 256-9489
sjenkins@calcharters.org

Today Aspire Public Schools submitted its application to operate a new school in South Los Angeles under Public School Choice (PSC), the Los Angeles Unified School District's unprecedented initiative to reform the operation of new schools and turn around the lowest performing schools in the district.

Aspire is one of the most successful charter school operators in the state and is currently running five schools at two sites through PSC. More than a dozen charter operators initially submitted letters of intent to participate in this reform initiative. However, the third round of Public School Choice has been marked by tremendous challenges and uncertainty for applicants, including major changes to the process in August and the removal of 15 focus schools from eligibility, some just weeks before the deadline.

Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), has released the following statement:

"We would like to recognize Aspire for their tremendous commitment to this reform initiative and for stepping up with a strong application despite the uncertainty in this round of Public School Choice (PSC).

The California Charter Schools Association and our member schools have been committed to PSC since the start as a reform that could be held up as a nationwide model for districts partnering with community groups and charters. This initiative has already been showing success. The charter schools authorized in the first round of PSC have already produced a significant improvement in their students' performance and the initiative is spurring reform at under-performing schools. A poll released this week by USC and the LA Times found that California voters favor charters over traditional schools.

We are disappointed with the way this round of PSC has devolved from a nationally recognized reform effort to a process where defenders of the status quo have sought to sideline external operators with proven ability to serve students, including charter schools. Despite these challenges, Aspire has moved forward with their application, even with the chance that it might not be considered.

Charter schools remain committed to providing a quality education to LA's most underserved communities. We hope that we can continue to partner with the district in innovative ways to turn around low-performing schools--whether it's an equitable Public School Choice process or other reform initiative--and to pursue our common goal of ensuring that every student in Los Angeles receives a high-quality public education."

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students 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.

About Aspire Public Schools
*Aspire Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that currently operates 34 high-performing open-enrollment public charter schools throughout California with an emphasis on serving low-income communities. Aspire is also one of the highest-performing public school systems in California, operating public charter schools across the state with one specific goal - preparing urban students for college - encapsulated by its motto of "College for Certain." Aspire offers a K-12, high-quality education in six communities throughout California, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and East Palo Alto. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org. *

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