Victory for public education in LA: Motion to limit charter co-locations passes
Los Angeles, CA – In a hotly debated September 26 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board meeting, a motion to mitigate the negative impact of charter school co-location on public schools passed by 4 yes to 2 no with 1 abstention.
The motion by Jackie Goldberg and Dr. Rociso Rivas called for a study by the superintendent on the negative impact of charter schools that reside inside public schools. The charter industry has used CA Proposition 39, passed in 2000 and enacted in 2003, to target Black and Chicano community public schools to take up classroom space and recruit students. This negatively impacts local public schools with less funding and classroom space.
The September 26 motion makes one of the most significant changes to local charter school policy since the state first required school systems to offer space to charters more than 20 years ago.
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) led the campaign in support of the motion; uniting with ACCE, Reclaim Our Schools, Eastside Padres and Centro CSO.
The community group Centro CSO led successful campaigns against charter schools at Garfield High School stopping a Green Dot take over, at Roosevelt High School stopping a Collegiate Charter school co-location and stopping KIPP Promesa from building a large charter school in Boyle Heights.
Antonieta Garcia, a mother of LAUSD students, called in to make a public comment supporting the motion and giving examples of how charter schools target students with recruitment campaigns causing lower enrollment in local public schools.
Boyle Heights and East LA are saturated with charter schools due to the former LAUSD board member Monica Garcia opening the door to them. Four of our good public schools have an Extera Charter school on campus – at Second St. Breed, St. Lorena and Eastman elementary schools. East LA also has several KIPP, Arts and Action and now a charter high school Ednovate Esperanza near Garfield High School.
Antonia Montes, a teacher at Eastman Avenue school spoke in person pointing out how Extera charter school took over more space, causing problems at Eastman Avenue school.
“We are saying to that school that the room your staff was using to work with deaf students to do speech therapy is no longer available,” Goldberg said last week. “So go find a corner of your auditorium or, as one of my schools does, find a space on the stairwell in between the first and second floor and have your work with disabled students done.”
Dr. Rocio Rivas in particular has cast charter backers as trying to destroy public education by “privatizing” it. The charter industry, she said, has been “taken over by charter school management organizations, huge industries that are profiting.”
The resolution prohibits charters from moving onto campuses deemed especially vulnerable to harm by disruption.
It is no coincidence that a resolution to limit campus sharing is arriving at this moment, said board member George McKenna, “because this is the first time since I’ve been on this board we’ve had a non-charter-school majority.”
McKenna and Goldberg – who won office with support from the teacher’s union – are not running for reelection. That means future charter school policy will be at stake next year in school board elections that are typically the most high-spending races in the country.
Voting for the resolution were Goldberg, Rivas, McKenna and Scott Schmerelson. Voting against it were Melvoin and Tanya Ortiz Franklin. Kelly Gonez abstained.
Carlos Montes is a member of Centro CSO.