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California Charter Schools Association v. Los Angeles Unified School District et al

December 5, 2012

CALIFORNIA CHARTER SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC438336) APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Terry A. Green, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ferns, J.*fn6

pub. order 1/4/13 (see end of opn.; reposted 2/5/13 to provide corrected pub. order)

Reversed.

I. INTRODUCTION

Public school districts are required to share their facilities fairly among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools. (Ed. Code § 47614, subd. (a) (Proposition 39).)*fn1 "Each school district shall make available, to each charter school operating in the school district, facilities sufficient for the charter school to accommodate all of the charter school's in-district students in conditions reasonably equivalent to those in which the students would be accommodated if they were attending other public schools of the district." (Id. at subd. (b).)

At issue in this appeal is whether the trial court erred in finding that the Los Angeles Unified School District ("District") violated California Code of Regulations, title 5, section 11969.3, subdivision (b)(1))*fn2 when it used norming ratios as a method of assigning classroom space to charter schools.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 17, 2007, the California Charter Schools Association ("CCSA") filed two lawsuits against the District claiming that the District failed to comply with Proposition 39 in extending facilities offers to charter schools. On April 22, 2008, CCSA and the District entered into a settlement agreement to resolve those lawsuits.

Paragraph 3 of the settlement agreement states: "Provided that a CCSA member charter school submits future facilities request that is legally sufficient under Proposition 39 and any Proposition 39 implementing regulations in effect at that time, LAUSD shall make a facilities offer to that charter school that complies with Proposition 39 and any Proposition 39 implementing regulations in effect at that time. This obligation shall apply to requests for facilities that are submitted for the 2008-2009 school year, shall inure to the benefit of all CCSA member charter schools, including without limitation to PUC and Green Dot, and shall continue for the term of this Agreement."

By its terms, the settlement agreement was to remain in effect until June 30, 2013. On May 24, 2010, CCSA filed a complaint for breach of settlement agreement, and violation of Proposition 39 seeking specific performance, permanent injunction, appointment of special master and declaratory relief. ("Complaint")

CCSA's complaint included a first cause of action for breach of settlement agreement for failure to make facilities offers pursuant to Prop. 39 and a seventh cause of action for declaratory relief for failure to provide facilities offers pursuant to Prop. 39.

On September 8, 2010 CCSA filed a motion for summary adjudication of the first and seventh causes of action. On December 7, 2010, the trial court entered an order granting in part CCSA's motion for summary adjudication. The trial court ordered the District to extend facilities offers to all charter schools that submitted legally sufficient facilities requests for the 2011-2012 school year and to make Proposition 39 - compliant facilities offers to all CCSA member charter schools that submit legally sufficient facilities offers for future school years until the term of the settlement agreement ends on June 30, 2013. The trial court denied CCSA's requests for injunctive and declaratory relief. The issuance of this order was not challenged by the District.

On May 17, 2012, CCSA filed a motion to enforce the trial court's December 7, 2010 order with regard to the District's facilities offers for the 2012-2013 school year. CCSA asserted that the District's final facilities offers for the 2012-2013 school year failed to provide facilities to charter schools in the same ratio of teaching stations (classrooms) to ADA [Average Daily Attendance] as those provided to students in the school district attending companion group schools, as required by Regulation § 11969.3, subdivision (b)(1). CCSA objected to the District's use of norming ratios used for District students.*fn3

In its opposition, the District claimed that it provided classrooms to charter school students in the same ratio of students to classrooms that it provided to students attending District operated schools. Specifically, the District provided classrooms to its own students at ratios of no less than 24:1 for grades K-3; 30.5:1 for grades 4-6; 28:1 for grades 7-8; and 30:1 for grades 9-12. It was the District's position that the use of norming ratios was an appropriate tool by ...


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