LA Unified Solidifies Policy Banning Charter Schools From Sharing Campuses With Some District Schools

LA Unified Solidifies Policy Banning Charter Schools From Sharing Campuses With Some District Schools
Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District Alberto M. Carvalho visits a campus in Los Angeles on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte

Charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are now banned from sharing a campus with large numbers of high-needs students.

The district’s board voted 4 to 3 Feb. 13 to adopt the policy.

Public school districts are required to share campuses with charter schools under Proposition 39, a law passed in 2000.

However, LA Unified’s new rule means that when reviewing charter schools proposing to share locations with district schools, the board will try to avoid offers of sharing campuses with schools that serve high-needs students, including schools that are a part of the district’s Black Student Achievement Plan and community schools, which are those that provide support and social services to students’ families outside of school.

The policy was developed by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at the board’s request last September, citing concerns that sharing a campus with a charter takes away resources from district schools.

They also expressed concern that the so-called co-location of charter schools created a “charter school pipeline” that encourages students to leave the district’s public schools to enroll in them.

“Increased clarity and transparency about the co-location process is the first step toward equitable distribution of resources for all students,” school board member Rocío Rivas said in a Sept. 26 statement.

However, the proposal has proven to be controversial among the district’s community.

“This policy, in the eyes of some, does not go far enough; and, in the eyes of others, it goes too far,” Mr. Carvalho said at the Feb. 13 meeting. “And somehow, experience tells me that any time you’re in that position, you probably achieved some degree of balance.”

Pro-charter organizations argued that the new rule harms charter schools, making it more difficult for them to open and will likely lead to closures.

“The district has finally made its intentions clear: to run charter schools out of town,” the LA Coalition for Excellent Public Schools, which represents more than 100 charter schools in the district, said in a letter to district officials. “If the district can just elbow charter schools out of the campuses they’ve been sharing – if it can engineer feeder patterns, if it can remove charters from predominantly Black campuses, if it can make it all but impossible for kids to enroll in charters throughout their K-12 education – then L.A. Unified will keep more students and save a few bucks.”

There are currently more than 270 active charter schools with more than 112,000 students enrolled in LAUSD, according to the state’s Education Department.

In addition, charter schools in the district have seen an enrollment increase of about 1 percent per year since 2018, according to education database EdData.

The new resolution will not affect any existing charter schools, according to district officials, but only new charter schools applying for co-locations going forward.