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Charter school supporters rally in Los Angeles

Los Angeles board asks state for moratorium on new charter schools

Board's vote on moratorium was part of agreement with union that ended teachers strike.

Hours after about 3,500 charter school supporters rallied at the Los Angeles Unified District’s headquarters, the school board approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charters.

The L.A. School Report says the board's 5-1 vote directs the district to ask California leaders to study potential changes to the state's charter law and to impose a temporary moratorium on new charter schools in the district the study is conducted.

The resolution’s passage was secured when board President Mónica García said late in the discussion that she would vote for it. She had appeared at the rally before the meeting and told them: “I hear you, I’m with you. No matter what happens here today, don’t give up your power as parents to choose the best education for your children.”

A board vote on a moratorium was a key element in the agreement that ended the six-day teacher strike earlier this month, even though it’s not mentioned in the actual contract and there was no guarantee it would pass. The teachers union listed the deal first in its summary of what the agreement had accomplished.

That contract won unanimous board approval Tuesday, even though board members had just received a stern warning from the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The county office says the new contract “continues to move the District toward fiscal insolvency” and that its costs — including more than $400 million in new hires and to lower class sizes — are “not sustainable.”

Speaking to the charter resolution, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner emphasized that it would not affect the district’s existing charter schools.

The California Charter Schools Association, reacting to the resolution, accused the board of putting "politics before kids."

"This resolution to ban charter schools is a solution in search of a problem," says said Myrna Castrejón, president of the association. "The real problem facing Los Angeles public schools is the persistent achievement gap. For parents, the issue isn't about politics, it is about what their child needs and what learning environment will help them thrive."

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