Has LAUSD Gone Too Far in the Fight Over Charter Schools?

No one could accuse the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board of being hostile to union intersts. In the upcoming March 5 primary, nearly all of its endorsements for Los Angeles Unified School Board have gone to pro-union, labor-back candidates. And yet, in a scathing editorial published last week, the Times slammed LAUSD for its most recent vote restricting charter school co-location, saying it has “gone too far.”

The vote was 4-3, with Nick Melvoin, Kelly Gonez and Tanya Ortiz Franklin voting no. Under the policy, charter schools cannot be located at community schools, priority schools, or schools with the district’s Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP). When deciding on co-location, the board will also have to avoid arrangements that might feed a charter school pipeline.

Charter school advocates say the policy would deal a death blow to many of these schools.

“The district has finally made its intentions clear: to run charter schools out of town,” the L.A. Coalition for Excellent Public Schools wrote in a letter to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Around 21 of the district’s charters, serving 11,000 students, would need to find another place to go. That’s nearly half of all charter schools that co-locate in the district.

“Note to the Los Angeles Unified school board: Kids in local charter schools are your kids, too,” the Times wrote in its editorial.

“Of course, traditional schools should not have to squeeze themselves into a corner of campus to accommodate a charter school. But this policy isn’t about protecting necessary space; it’s about squashing charter schools.”

United Teachers Los Angeles and its allies on the board say they are trying to protect vulnerable students from losing precious space for enrichment and special needs programs. Some of them think the policy doesn’t go far enough. They say charter schools are siphoning off badly needed resources.

Policy arguments aside, LAUSD could wind up in legal trouble. Critics say the new policy violates state law, established by Proposition 39, which states that “public school facilities should be shared fairly among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools.” 

Read more about the backlash and potential legal ramifications at EdSource.


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Thursday, March 28, 2024 - 09:07

School construction bonds faced some headwinds during the March 5 primary, with a passage rate of around 60% compared with the 73% seen in typical past primaries.