Los Angeles board restricts which campuses can be shared with charters

Feb. 14, 2024
New charter schools will not be co-located with traditional schools that are among the lowest performing or have the highest concentration of Black students.

The Los Angeles Unified school board adopted a policy limiting where charter schools can operate within the district.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the policy, approved in a  4-3 vote, will prevent charter schools from sharing the same campus as sites that serve some of the district's most vulnerable students. They include campuses that are the lowest performing or that have the highest concentration of Black students, or “community schools” that serve many low-income families.

The policy is expected to further inflame long-held tensions in the nation's second-largest district between advocates of traditional public schools and those who support charter schools.

Under the policy, which will take effect starting with the 2025-26 school year, L.A. Unified will still have to offer district space to charter schools, as required by state law, but, according to the district, roughly 200 of the district’s 770 school buildings are now off limits. Earlier this school year, the district reported that there were 52 co-locations, 39 of which are on high-need campuses.

Existing charter schools already co-located won’t automatically be kicked out, but the policy will apply if there’s a change to their existing situation —  including if a charter school requests additional space to accommodate more students or grade levels.

School board member Rocío Rivas said that co-locations have resulted in schools losing space for computer labs, assessing special-needs students, counseling, art rooms, parent centers or other uses.

Those who support the board’s policy say it’s unfair to ask schools that already serve the most vulnerable students to also share classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias or other campus spaces. They say co-location places more burdens on administrators to coordinate schedules and compromises the quality of school programs or their ability to offer programs.

But advocates of charter schools say the school board’s latest decision is discriminatory.

The California Charter Schools Association has indicated that it is prepared to sue L.A. Unified over the policy.


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