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L.A. Schools and Teachers are in crisis too
Lawyers for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) prevailed in Los Angeles Superior Court today when a judge denied United Teachers Los Angeles' (UTLA) challenge to a section of the Public School Choice initiative. Judge Alan S. Rosenfield affirmed the District's position that charter school operators submitting charter petitions for brand-new schools under Public School Choice are not required to obtain the signatures of teachers as required for a charter conversion of an existing school.
"This is a huge win for parents and students as we provide more routes to academic excellence," said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines.
Public School Choice, an initiative approved by the Los Angeles Board of Education in 2009, encouraged charter schools, nonprofit groups and collaborative teams of teachers to submit plans to improve a dozen low-performing existing schools and 18 brand-new campuses in the LAUSD scheduled to open in September 2010. Of the 37 Public School Choice campuses approved by the Board, four were awarded to charter schools for the inaugural year. Three charter schools will operate new schools: Aspire Public Schools, an elementary school in South Gate; Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, an elementary school in Central Los Angeles; and Magnolia Schools, a middle school in Bell. The fourth, Youth Policy Institute, will be located on the campus of San Fernando Middle School.
Over the next four years, charter schools and other contenders will be permitted to vie for more than 40 new schools that will be built to relieve overcrowding in some of the densest areas of the District. The newly-constructed schools will return all campuses to a traditional September-to-June calendar and eliminate convoluted, multi-tracked year-round schedules used to accommodate more students beyond a school's intended capacity.
"UTLA had mischaracterized this initiative as a giveaway of the District's newest schools. That has never been true," the superintendent said. "And the court has agreed."