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Board directs charter school reimbursements back to host schools (01-14-20)

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2020 – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education passed a resolution Tuesday that requires funds recouped when charter organizations fall short of enrollment targets be directed back to non-charter host schools.

Approximately one in five charter schools operating within Los Angeles Unified’s boundaries share space on campuses with traditional non-charter schools, a process known as co-location in line with Proposition 39. When a co-located charter school overprojects the number of students actually served but continues to occupy all of the space allocated, the law requires the charter school pay an “over-allocated space” reimbursement to Los Angeles Unified.

Authored by Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg and co-sponsored by Board Members Dr. George J. McKenna III, Scott M. Schmerelson and Nick Melvoin, the “Directing Charter School Overallocation Reimbursement Funds to Home Schools” resolution directs that “over-allocated space” reimbursements be returned to the non-charter schools that host the charter schools on their campuses.

“This action is long overdue,” Vice President Goldberg said. “For years, many of our schools have been deprived of classrooms and learning spaces because charters overestimated how many classrooms they would need. We are finally collecting the fees incurred as a result of those overestimates, and the lion’s share of that money should go directly to the schools that bore the brunt of those errors.”

"One of the challenges of a school principal is juggling learning spaces – gyms, libraries, laboratories – to give kids the best educational experience possible," Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. "When these spaces sit empty because of over-allocations, it's the kids who suffer. We need to fix that, and we are doing so today."

“Ms. Goldberg and I recently co-sponsored a resolution creating a program to use bond dollars to benefit co-located charters and district schools on joint projects,” Board Member Melvoin said. “I am glad to co-sponsor this latest effort to continue alleviating the burdens of co-location and promoting collaboration and harmony between co-located schools.”

The resolution further empowers local leadership councils at host schools to decide how the funds will be spent.

"This is part of our continuing efforts to make sure all dollars are invested in schools," Superintendent Austin Beutner said.

“I support the overallocation reimbursement funds to be directed to Los Angeles Unified home schools with which charter schools are co-located,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “These funds will help the schools supplement any limited use of their school facilities and support programs on site.”

“I support any initiative that ensures that dollars go closer to schools,” Board Member Mónica García said. “School leaders and administrators know best how they need to invest the dollars for maximum impact.”

“In this time of inadequate resources from the state, our district schools will greatly benefit from these investments as they face the additional challenge of sharing their campuses,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “I hope we continue to find ways to bring new funding to our schools to benefit our students and our schools.”