Charters would get more time to make facility moves
(Calif.) Twenty local educational agencies have petitioned the state board of education seeking relief from a court ruling barring charter schools from operating facilities inside the jurisdiction of an unrelated school district.
A ruling by the Third Appellate District in November, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court in January, found that geographic restrictions in state law governing where charter schools can be located also apply to non-classroom based charters and any physical facilities they might establish.
Under a policy worked out last month by the board and the California Department of Education, the LEAs are all expected to receive a temporary reprieve from the court order but must also meet several conditions:
- Each of the charter schools’ governing bodies needs to approve a transition plan that details how the charter school’s resource center will come into compliance with the recent court decision;
- Each of the waivers will expire on June 30, 2018 and cannot be used retroactively;
- Each charter school must submit the transition plan to the authorizing school district and to all school districts where the resource centers are located, within 30 days after approval of the waiver; and
- Each charter school will also provide a status update to parents.
At issue are state laws that limit where a charter school can be located and if non-classroom based charters–those that provide most of their educational services online are bound by those restrictions.
The question was raised when the Shasta Union High School District based in Redding gave permission to Shasta Secondary Home School, an internet-based charter school, to establish a resource center that was to be placed inside the boundaries of another district, the Anderson UHSD.
Anderson officials complained about the center but Shasta officials argued that state law allowed non-classroom based schools to have resource centers or meeting space even if it is located outside the boundaries of the authorizing district.
The Third District Court of Appeal sided with Anderson and found that charter schools are prohibited from operating facilities outside of the geographical boundaries of their authorizing school district, subject to limited exceptions–which the Shasta charter did not qualify for.
To help achieve a smooth transition into compliance with the ruling, the board adopted the new waiver policy giving districts with charter schools out of compliance with the Anderson ruling time to seek relief from the board until November, 2017.