Los Angeles Unified officials announced Tuesday that nine San Fernando Valley schools will be among more than 40 campuses eligible for the third round of the district's landmark Public School Choice plan.

The reform effort, approved in summer 2009, allows nonprofit organizations, charter operators and teachers to apply to run new and underachieving campuses.

Union leaders, who have criticized the reform effort as a giveaway of public schools, are concerned about the district's decision to put such a large group of campuses through the competitive process.

A total of 43 schools will be open to the bidding process in round three, compared with just 12 in round two and 36 in round one.

But district officials celebrated the inclusion of so many campuses in a process they've touted as the