OUSD Celebrates Settlement with California Charter Schools Association in Lawsuit Over Proposition 39

PRESS RELEASE Thursday, September 24, 2020Contact: John SasakiCommunications Director 510-214-2080[email protected]
Oakland, CA — On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, the OUSD Board of Education approved a settlement in its long-standing litigation with the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) regarding the administration of Proposition 39. The case, which began in 2016, has a complicated history, including numerous attempts to resolve the case in mediation and settlement conferences. OUSD and CCSA have been negotiating in good faith for the last 12 months in the hopes of settling the case, and this week, both parties approved a settlement agreement.

“I am pleased we have reached this agreement with CCSA,” said Board of Education President, Jody London. “I want to thank our staff and the staff at CCSA for their hard work in getting this deal done. We and our charter partners can now move on from this issue and refocus our energy on ensuring all of our students get the best education possible in both District-run and charter schools.”

“We are pleased to have reached a fair and just agreement with Oakland Unified that ensures parents who want to enroll their child at a charter public school have equitable facilities because every child has the right to a high-quality education,” said CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón. “We look forward to working with OUSD to ensure that all students receive equitable access to OUSD facilities as agreed to under this settlement.”

Proposition 39, which was passed by California voters in 2000, requires school districts to make district facilities available to eligible charter schools that operate in the district. If a charter school makes a request, the district must offer space in its schools. It also mandates that the facilities be sufficient to accommodate all of a charter school’s in-district students and be reasonably equivalent to those in which the students would be accommodated if they were attending OUSD-run schools. Prop. 39 does not require OUSD to offer the specific facility requested by any given charter (if the charter so requests) but must make only reasonable efforts to provide the charter school with facilities near the location where the charter school wishes to operate. In filing suit back in 2016, CCSA alleged that the District’s facilities offers to charter schools at that time violated the requirements of Prop. 39.

The District’s practices with respect to Prop. 39 facilities offers have changed in recent years and the settlement codifies many of those current practices, plus it increases transparency and communication with local charter schools. It makes more transparent the calculation, and underlying data, that the District uses to determine the amount of classroom, specialized space (e.g., science labs), and other indoor and outdoor space that a charter school is entitled to under Prop. 39. It dictates when District-custodial staff are responsible for cleaning charter schools and when a charter school can bring in its own custodial services. The settlement also dictates that the cost of custodial services (if applicable) will be incorporated directly into the pro rata share calculation for the use of facilities by a charter school rather than billed separately.

The agreement means the District will ensure that future joint use agreements will provide that charter school students are treated the same as students in District-run schools under such agreements, which is consistent with the language of most of our current joint use agreements. Under the settlement, OUSD will minimize its multi-site offers (that is, offers to a charter school that include space on multiple school sites) and, if such multi-site offers are genuinely required, such offers must be made in a more transparent manner.

The settlement runs through June 2024.
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success. 

To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews
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