Resolution: Improving LAUSD Performance as a Regulatory Agency for Charters

Whereas, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is “the largest district charter school authorizer in the nation, with about 250 independent and affiliated charter schools serving over 130,000 students”;

Whereas, the 1992 law that created charters specifically states that these publicly funded private schools would “provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools”;

Whereas, “in 1993, the LAUSD designated specific staff to provide oversight to charter schools to ensure that each charter school operates in compliance with all applicable laws and terms of its charter”;

Whereas, Charter School Division (CSD) staff who have had a previous employment relationship with a charter or an organization that lobbies on behalf of the charter industry creates a conflict of interest that undermines the CSD’s role as a regulatory body;

Whereas, the current Director of the CSD is a former staff member of the California Charter School Association;

Whereas, the District has maintained that “any investigative records responding to the complaints are also exempt from disclosure”;

Whereas, the LAUSD CSD issued a Notice to Cure to El Camino Real Charter High School on October 28, 2015, that demanded “copies of updated board approved fiscal policies and procedures and proof of implementation of the above requested board action items no later than close of business on November 30, 2015”;

Whereas, the LAUSD School Board approved a charter renewal for El Camino Real Charter High School before the corrective actions outlined in the Notice to Cure dated October 28, 2015, had been completed;

Whereas, a “Notice of Violations for El Camino Real Charter High School” was not issued until the August 23, 2016, LAUSD Board meeting;

Whereas, the Governing Board of City High School voted on September 12, 2016, to close its doors a month into the new school year and the CSD found this action to be “unexpected”;

Whereas, the California Charter Schools Division states that “changes in [a charter school’s] governance relating to the composition and/or qualifications of members of their board of directors” “would require a material revision,” and, therefore, require approval from the LAUSD Board of Education;

Whereas, the CSD Specialist assigned to Granada Hills Charter High School “determined that [a] 2014 change to the composition of Granada’s Board was not a material revision to the charter,” and did not submit it to the LAUSD Board for approval;

Whereas, Education Code section 47604(b) allows the District “the right to appoint a single representative to [a charter’s] governing board.

Resolved, that is the policy of the LAUSD to fully compete with the charters that it has authorized;

Resolved, that the Superintendent is directed to ensure that the Charter School Division is not a “partner” to the charters within the District but the regulatory arm of the LAUSD and is charged with ensuring that all charters authorized by the District are in full compliance with the law and their charters;

Resolved, that the Superintendent is directed to ensure that anyone assigned to the CSD has not had a previous employment relationship with a charter or an organization that lobbies on behalf of the charter industry;

Resolved, that the Superintendent is directed to ensure that all complaints (both formal and informal) that are lodged against a charter are readily available to the public with any identifying information about the student redacted from the complaint;

Resolved, that the CSD is directed to provide copies of all complaints lodged against a charter when that charter is submitted for renewal to the Board of Education;

Resolved, that the Office of the General Counsel is directed to make all investigative records responding to the complaints filed against charters public after they have been redacted to protect student privacy;

Resolved, that the CSD is directed to ensure that all Notices to Cure are published on LAUSD.net and that copies are sent to the LAUSD Board of Education and to every parent of a student enrolled at the affected school;

Resolved, that a petition for the renewal of a charter may not be approved by the Board of Education if there is an unresolved Notice to Cure;

Resolved, that the Superintendent is directed to ensure that a Notice of Violation is presented to the LAUSD School Board for approval if a Notice to Cure is not resolved by the stated deadline date;

Resolved, that the CSD is directed to ensure that all charters have financing in place to complete the school year before allowing them to open for the first day of school;

Resolved, that Superintendent is directed to consider charter petitions binding contracts and that all changes are sent to the LAUSD School Board for approval;

Resolved, that the CSD is directed to ensure that a District representative is placed on the Governing Board of each charter.


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