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JUST IN: Late-breaking deal may reverse most denials of charter schools

Mike Szymanski | November 7, 2017



Parents from Alliance College-Ready Public Schools rally for their charter schools outside this morning’s school board meeting.

A late-breaking deal between LA Unified officials and charter school leaders may result in staff reversing their recommendations of denial for 11 independent charter schools.

KPCC reported late Monday that three unidentified sources confirmed the deal prior to Tuesday morning’s school board meeting where board members are to vote on the petitions of 34 charter schools.

The district’s Charter Division staff last week recommended that 14 schools be denied. Most are outperforming nearby district schools, but the majority of the denials stem from charters’ rejection of specific language required by the district in their petitions.

By state law, LA Unified authorizes the nonprofit public charter schools every five years. But unlike most districts in the state, LA Unified requires additional language in charter petitions, including that charters agree to all district policies even if they change after their petition is granted. A coalition of charter leaders has been working since April to change some of the language to streamline the authorizing process and to protect the autonomies charters are given under state law.

According to the deal, the Charter Division staff will change their recommendations for 11 of those schools.

According to a source close to the deal reached by LA School Report, the deal is still vulnerable on one issue.

That one issue most likely involves the overview of the district’s own Office of Inspector General that investigates charter schools, which charter leaders say has overreached its authority.

“We need to look at the role of the Inspector General,” Board President Mónica García said in a previous interview. “There are investigative agencies that our office can turn over to if they find some wrongdoing.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board will be considering an unprecedented number of charter denials. According to KPCC, if the deal is approved, the required language will be set by the school board, not district staff, and apply to every charter school in the district.

New board member Nick Melvoin, who was also working behind the scenes on getting a settlement, said Monday afternoon that negotiations were still ongoing. LA Unified and charter leaders have no comment.

The meeting will air live this morning online.

 

Sarah Favot contributed to this report.

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