California Court of Appeals Sides With Charter In Prop. 39 Non-Compliance Dispute

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October 28, 2011 The Sixth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals handed Bullis Charter School a major victory on Thursday regarding their Prop. 39 facilities, ruling to overturn an earlier decision by a lower court that rejected Bullis' claim that the facility offered by the district was not "reasonably equivalent" to the facilities enjoyed by students in district-run schools.

The decision was hailed by both Bullis leaders and the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), as it illustrates the fight for fair space for charter schools not just in Los Altos, but statewide.

Proposition 39 is one of CCSA's top advocacy priorities. If this decision stands, it will propel CCSA and charter schools into the next stage of fulfilling the promise of Prop. 39. We continue to see through our work that many districts fail to complete a full comparison group school analysis, which is the foundation for determining whether an offered site is "reasonably equivalent," in determining their Prop. 39 offers to charter schools. Too many charter schools are forced to accept offers based simply on enough teaching space and cost. This decision will strengthen our arguments that charter school students are entitled to more than the minimal offers from districts.

For Bullis, the court's unanimous decision could translate into a greater opportunity to secure space for their growing charter school. The charter school filed suit against the school district in the Santa Clara County Superior Court in June 2009, requesting that the court evaluate the district's Prop. 39 compliance. In November of that year, the lower court sided with the district, and shortly after, Bullis filed an appeal.

Currently, Bullis Charter School, which opened its doors in 2004, is housed in portables and shares space with a junior high for outdoor activities. District students enjoy new, permanent facilities and spacious outdoor areas.

Under Proposition 39, which was approved by California voters in 2000, districts are required to provide reasonably equivalent facilities to charter schools.