Prop 39 and charter schools

I’ve been learning about charter schools and how they get their facilities. An important part of how a charter school gets space is Prop 39. Prop 39 was passed by California voters in 2000. It basically says that the school district is required to make sure charter schools have “reasonably equivalent” facilities to district schools. As I read about how this plays out in different districts in California, this is what strikes me:

  • the complete local control (charter schools are at the mercy of the local school district- no state or federal involvement here)
  • how much it varies across school districts (some charter schools seem to have no problems getting their facilities, while others struggle- for example, a district will spread out a charter school across multiple campuses, etc.)
  • the number of lawsuits (a number of lawsuits have been filed by charter schools seeking better facilities from the districts)
  • the support of the California Charter School Association (the CCSA helps advocate for charter schools and supports them in their lawsuits against districts)

It’s fascinating how something as basic as physical space ends up caught in the crosshairs of politics, funding, and what’s best for students.

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