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Union fails to restrict charter schools

An unsuccessful suit tried to prohibit charters from operating 30 new L.A. unified schools.

April 03, 2010|By Jason Song

A lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles teachers union to block the city's school district from giving new campuses to charter schools was denied Friday by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

The suit was filed in December on behalf of United Teachers Los Angeles as a result of the Los Angeles Unified School District's controversial school reform plan, which sought to turn over 30 campuses to bidders from inside and outside the district, including charter school organizations.

The lawsuit claimed that L.A. Unified could not allow charter operators to take over new campuses unless 50% of the district's permanent teachers petitioned for it. Charters are independently managed public schools and are generally nonunion.

The legal process went forward, and the school board voted to give teacher-led groups control of 22 of the campuses; four were awarded to charters.

If the lawsuit had been successful, the district could have had to change plans at the charter campuses and adjust procedures for school takeovers by charters in the future. Forty more campuses will be put up for bid over the next four years.

But Judge Alan S. Rosenfield rejected the lawsuit, writing in his ruling that it had depended on "illogical and strained interpretations" of the education code.

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines called the ruling a "huge win for parents and students."

A.J. Duffy, president of the teachers union, said his group would review the decision before deciding whether to appeal.

jason.song@latimes.com

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