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State Charter School Group Is Formed

The association hopes to triple the number of students attending independent campuses.

October 23, 2003|Duke Helfand | Times Staff Writer

Leaders of California's charter school movement launched a statewide association this week, aimed at tripling the number of students attending the tax-funded but independently run campuses over the next decade.

The California Charter Schools Assn. has opened offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento to recruit school leaders and offer technical assistance, financial advice and other help. Other offices will open in San Diego and San Francisco by the beginning of December.

California's 471 charter schools, which receive public funding but are freed from most state regulations to pursue innovative teaching methods, serve about 170,000 students. The group wants to encourage the opening of more than 1,000 schools to serve an additional 500,000 students over the next 10 years.

The association's chief executive officer, former Los Angeles school board president Caprice Young, said the group would focus partly on relieving overcrowded public schools and would serve as an advocate in state government, ensuring that charter schools receive adequate funding and resources.

"We're going to support charter schools wherever they are," Young told a news conference Tuesday at the Watts Learning Center, a charter school in South Los Angeles.

The association's board of directors features several prominent California charter school leaders, including Johnathan Williams, co-director of the Accelerated School near USC, and Joe Lucente, executive director of Fenton Avenue Charter School in Lake View Terrace.

The group will replace the California Network of Educational Charters, the state's most visible charter school networking and support organization until now.

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