ACSA is asking the State Board of Education this week to forego any appeal of a Superior Court ruling that six charter schools were improperly approved by the state.
ACSA, the California School Boards Association and Califor-nia Teachers Association won the lawsuit challenging the SBE’s use of statewide benefit authority to approve the schools and bypass local review.
The court’s final order grants Aspire Public Schools one year to seek permission from local districts in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Stockton to continue to operate.
“We’re pleased by the judge’s decision to ensure the State Board adopts the required procedural rules so only those charters that truly meet the test of statewide benefit status are considered in the future,” said Karen Stapf Walters, ACSA’s interim executive director. “It is important that all public schools and students are treated equitably.”
In addition, she added, “We believe it is fair to allow schools affected by this ruling the opportunity to transition to local charter approval in a timely manner without any harm to students or loss of funding.”
James Willcox, Aspire’s chief executive officer, told the SI&A Cabinet Report that all six schools would continue in operation through the 2012-13 school year.
“We are studying the court’s order and have begun … the process of seeking local charters for these six schools while we consider other options,” Willcox said. “We are committed to serving all of our students and families who count on Aspire and want to calm any uncertainty that this decision may cause.”
ACSA and its partners filed the case in 2007 in response to the SBE’s decision to grant Aspire statewide benefit status. Approval for statewide benefit status is legally restricted to those unique programs that cannot be provided through a locally approved charter.
Both a Court of Appeals and the Superior Court rulings now clearly indicate the schools did not meet statutory requirements to become state charters.
The rulings require the SBE to adopt statewide benefit regulations in compliance with the California Administrative Procedures Act.
Another appeal would no doubt confirm the prior two rulings and incur unnecessary attorneys’ fees, according to a statement sent to the State Board by representatives of ACSA, CSBA and CTA.
The statement maintains, “(A)n appeal would be contrary to the board’s duty to serve the public and safeguard public funds.”
The parties make it clear they are prepared to work with the SBE to ensure the effective implementation of the Superior Court’s ruling.