Charter Sues San Jose Unified Over Classroom Space

A charter school slated to open in San Jose this year is suing the San Jose Unified School District for the second time because it claims it’s being cheated out of classroom space.

The amount of classroom space that San Jose Unified must allot for a charter school is determined by the number of students expected to attend. In this case, the charter Promise Academy says the district wrongly invalidated hundreds of forms from students who plan to enroll, thereby making the expected enrollment numbers appear much smaller — small enough, in fact, that the district would not be obligated to provide classroom space at all.

“According to the lawsuit, Promise had submitted forms including the name, address and upcoming school grade of 158 students who intended to enroll at the school. Of those, San Jose Unified accepted only 72 valid students,” the Mercury News reports. “School districts in California are only required to provide classroom space to charter schools with an anticipated daily attendance of at least 80 students.”

“It’s devastating to families because they worked so hard to launch this school, to get it approved and this is their choice for their students,” Promise Academy CEO Anthony Johnson told the publication. “It seems like their voices continue to be stamped out.”

The district claims that the forms were invalidated because they were missing pertinent information such as birth dates.

“They want to run a school? This is basic paperwork,” Stephen McMahon, San Jose Unified’s assistant superintendent, said.

Promise Academy filed suit last month in an effort to solve the enrollment dispute. It will be the second legal showdown between the two entities in the past year. Promise took San Jose Unified to court after it initially rejected the charter’s opening as well. In June, the district was ordered to offer “reasonably equivalent” facilities to the charter per Proposition 39.