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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

District must give charter space

September 11, 2008|Howard Blume

The school district must provide classrooms this year for a Westside charter school, a Superior Court judge has ruled.

New West Charter Middle School sued after the Los Angeles Unified School District withdrew its initial offer of space at Fairfax High, which the charter school had accepted. The district rescinded the offer after new Senior Deputy Supt. Ramon C. Cortines decided that accommodating New West would undermine academic reforms at Fairfax.

State law requires that public school campuses be "shared fairly" with charter schools.

L.A. Unified presented "a parade of unproven horribles," wrote Judge James C. Chalfant in his Friday ruling. "Plainly, as a matter of contract law, the parties had a binding contract." He ordered the district to make room at Fairfax or another equal location.

New West, a high-scoring school with a 400-student waiting list, rents a converted furniture store on Pico Boulevard.

-- Howard Blume

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