The Los Angeles Unified School Board voted 4 to 2 to move forward with a policy to prevent charter schools from leasing space on almost 350 district sites in an effort to protect vulnerable Black, Latino and low-income students from the negative impacts of sharing a campus.
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the policy represents the latest chapter in a battle between charter and district-run schools, which have clashed over access to classroom space and other resources.
The rules were proposed by Board President Jackie Goldberg and board member Rocío Rivas, who say the district’s most vulnerable students must be protected from the risk of losing space used for special education services, arts programming, after-school enrichment and supportive family services.
This policy has been met with outrage from charter school advocates who say the proposed rules unlawfully favor the needs of students in district-run schools.
Board members Nick Melvoin and Tanya Ortiz Franklin voted against the resolution. Melvoin said he understands that there are problems at co-locations, but doesn’t believe the new policy is the most equitable way of addressing them.
The policy would prevent charter schools from being co-located with district-run schools on campuses that are deemed high-need schools.
The California Charter School Association (CCSA) is threatening to take legal action if the policy is enacted.
Under state Proposition 39, school districts are required to lease unused classroom space to charter schools. In this academic year, 52 charter schools are co-located with district schools, and about 75% of them are high-need campuses.
If the policy is enacted, it would not automatically kick charter schools off of those campuses. Rather it would apply when new charter schools are seeking co-locations and when existing charter schools seek additional space to accommodate more students or grade levels.