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November 02, 2009
It's not a new sci-fi movie ? but it's a longstanding issue for charter schools: finding space ? that's not outer!
Last Tuesday, according to a Los Angeles Daily News story, via Ed Week, the Los Angeles Unified School District made what the DN said was ?an unprecedented? offer:? allowing 81 charter schools to have 25,000 classroom seats on district campuses.
So why do charter advocates call the LAUSD offer illegal?
As it turns out, California was ahead of the?game on the space issue and in 2000 voters passed Proposition 39, which requires districts to share available facilities with charter schools. And districts, not surprisingly, have danced around the law ever since. According to the DN, California charter advocates have sued LAUSD twice
for failing to comply with Proposition 39, which states that district facilities must be shared `fairly among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools.'?
But even though the current proposal ?would be the largest offer ever made by LAUSD, which houses the largest concentration of charter campuses in the nation,? Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter Schools Association, tells the DN that at least 24 of the 81?charters were offered space at multipl?sites, not exactly a convenient deal and, says Wallace, a violation of Prop 39'.
On the East Coast, New York City has different co-location headaches.? A new law passed last May, to increase the state's Race to the Top chances, actually penalizes charters (actually, taxpayers) ?for co-locating (a bone thrown to the unions, which gave up on the cap issue).? As reported by Anna Phillips in Gotham Schools,
if the charter school spends over $5,000 on building improvements, the city has to spend the same amount on repairs for the district school in the same building?.? [but]?if the city spends over $5,000 repairing a district school's facilities, it does not have to do the same for the charter school in the same building.
Never a dull moment in the world of choice. But as they say in the real estate business: Co-location. Co-location. Co-location.
?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow