Member Update: CCSA v. LAUSD (Measure Q)
January 12, 2016 On January 11, 2016 CCSA filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District Board (LAUSD) regarding Measure Q. Passed by voters in 2008, the bond measure allocated $450 million to provide new seats through the acquisition, purchase, lease, construction, reconstruction, repair, rehabilitation, furnishing, and equipping of facilities for use as charter schools, and to furnish and equip charter-operated facilities.
On November 10, 2015, CCSA submitted a letter to the LAUSD Board objecting to its proposed vote to cut $88 million out of Measure Q for charter school facilities, breaking their commitment to voters. Also, CCSA requested public records that detailed how LAUSD staff and Board members determined the total need and the methodology used to calculate the required reduction from each of the programs under Measure Q, including the $88 million cut to the charter school facility allocation. Nonetheless, the Board voted to make the cuts and staff has yet to produce the records supporting the action.
CCSA filed this lawsuit for two primary reasons. First, to ensure that LAUSD is held accountable to the voters (and its students) by expending bond funds consistent with Measure Q. Second, that if the LAUSD Board reallocates any of the monies for any purposes not specified under Measure Q that the Board is transparent and demonstrates sufficient and supporting evidence for their reasons in doing so to the public and the voters.
Unfortunately, CCSA would have preferred to work in collaboration with LAUSD as opposed to litigation. However, for more than a decade, charter schools have been trying to partner with the district to secure a bond that would be equitable for charter schools. Additionally, we have repeatedly tried to work with LAUSD on how to distribute the funds to the schools to no avail.
CCSA and its charter school members have had success collaborating with other districts. For example, San Diego Unified School District allocated $350 million for charter schools after voters passed a bond measure in 2012 and to date nearly all those funds have been committed to charters. In contrast, LAUSD has not allocated any of the Measure Q monies to charters while monies for projects designated for traditional public schools in the district have been committed.
Thus, CCSA's lawsuit seeks to compel LAUSD's compliance with the California Public Records Act and to void the decision of the Board to cut $88 million from the charter school facility allocation under Measure Q.