LAUSD board endorses proposals to tighten charter school regulations
The Los Angeles Unified School Board narrowly voted Tuesday to endorse three teachers union-supported bills in the California Legislature that would subject charter schools to stricter oversight and regulation.
Board members' 4-3 decision — again — put them in the middle of the political tug-of-war between teachers union leaders, who termed the bills' contents as "common sense;" and their rivals in the California Charter Schools Association, who said the proposals would impose "draconian" new rules and jeopardize efforts to open new charter schools.
It’s a familiar back-and-forth, and on Tuesday night, L.A. board member Mónica García sounded exhausted with it.
"We get dragged into this us-versus-them things," said García, who was one of three votes against the board's resolution. "That makes me uncomfortable."
"I'm just gonna say it: kids of color and kids of poverty have relied on this organization [L.A. Unified] for 160 years and we have yet to come through for them. We have made a lot of improvements … but we need to do more," García said, arguing some students need the option to attend a charter school while all public schools work to improve.
But board member George McKenna — who authored the measure in support of Assembly Bills 1360 and 1478 as well as Senate Bill 808 — said he felt the district needed more regulatory tools to curb charter schools' rapid growth.
McKenna said the spread in L.A. of charter schools — which are publicly-funded schools run by outside organizations — poses a risk to the district's enrollment, and therefore, its funding.
"Do not believe that the L.A. Unified School District would not be vulnerable to being economically insolvent," McKenna said, "if in fact we continue to allow and help others to come in."
Each of the bills L.A. Unified endorsed would, if not discourage charter schools from opening, at least add to their regulatory burden.
Assembly Bill 1478 would apply several open government and open records laws to the handful of charter schools not already following them, which is fine with the California Charter Schools Association.
But the bill also would subject charter schools to Government Code 1090, a state law that currently prevents officials in other government agencies from having a financial stake in any contracts or deals involving the government entity for which LAUSD board endorses proposals to tighten charter school regulations | 89.3 KPCC:
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