In Partnership with 74

64 charter school leaders call for transparency, consistency from LA school board

Mike Szymanski | October 17, 2016

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The day before the LA Unified school board is scheduled to vote on the fate of 23 charter schools, the district was hit with a bombshell of a letter signed by 64 charter school leaders.

The schools serve 90 percent of the charter students in the district — 196 schools serving 94,595 students, according to Jason Mandell, the Advocacy Communications Director of the California Charter Schools Association. Mandell said the letter was submitted Monday morning to the board by the Los Angeles Advocacy Council, a 17-member committee of charter school leaders. The letter is followed by three pages of charter executives, the number of their schools and students and their logos.

• Read more: Record number of charter schools, all outperforming district schools, are recommended for denial this week

“We are deeply concerned that this month district staff have recommended more charter renewal and material revision denials than they have in the last five years combined, none of which are based on student outcomes,” the letter reads. The board’s votes on Tuesday have the potential to disrupt the lives of over 13,000 students attending schools operated by our peers.”

The letter asks for consistency in the district’s decisions, transparency in the charter renewal process and consideration of student achievements at the charter schools.

In the past five years, 155 out of 159 charter school renewals were approved and 42 out of 43 material revisions of a charter school were approved by the school board, according to CCSA.charterschoollettersignatories

The board is considering applications for eight new charter schools, the revocation of seven schools and the rejection of material revisions for two schools. Five schools are up for approval for revisions and renewal in the morning school board meeting. But the letter protests inconsistencies in the district’s decisions.

“These recommended denials and revocations threaten the basic values and expectations that we’ve held onto as partners with the district, even in the most challenging times: accountability and collaboration based on consistency, transparency, and a focus on student outcomes,” the letter states. “Most importantly, these recommended denials and revocations threaten the futures of thousands of students who have sought out these schools for an unassailable reason: they provide an education that meets their unique needs.”

*This article has been updated to clarify that the schools represent 90 percent of the district’s charter students and who sent the letter. 

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