CCSA v. West Contra Costa Unified School District

Summary

On May, 6, 2014, CCSA filed a lawsuit against West Contra Costa Unified School District alleging that the district failed to provide students attending charter public schools with voter-approved funding under Measure G and requesting charter public schools be included in allocation of parcel tax revenue.

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Case Overview

In 2014, CCSA filed a lawsuit in the Contra Costa County Superior Court alleging that the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) failed to provide students attending charter public schools in the district with voter-approved funding under Measure G. Passed by 75% of voters in November 2012, Measure G's purpose is to improve the quality of education for all public school students in WCCUSD. However, the district excluded charter public schools and their students from the benefits of the local tax proceeds. Charter public schools are unable to generate parcel tax measures on their own and are dependent on the local district when it comes to accessing parcel tax dollars.

In 2016, the parties settled the lawsuit on the following terms:

  1. The District will provide 50% of the proportionate share of Measure G parcel taxes to charter schools operating within its geographic boundaries, between the 2015/2016 school year through the 2018-19 school year.
  2. Any new charter school that operates within the District, and is chartered by the District, the Contra Costa County Board of Education, or the State Board of Education shall be entitled to the proportionate share of parcel taxes.
  3. If the District passes a new parcel tax measure during the current parcel tax measure (i.e., Measure G) the District shall provide charter schools operating within the school district with 100% of the proportionate share of the new parcel tax measure funding.
  4. The District agrees to initiate the process to adopt a District Board policy providing that charter school in-district students are entitled to an equal share of the distribution of any future parcel tax measures approved by the electorate.

CCSA alleged that the district's actions create two classes of students in the public education system, violating their fundamental right to education, and denying them equal protection as guaranteed by the California Constitution. Additionally, CCSA alleged that WCCUSD's decision to deny parcel tax proceeds unlawfully discriminated against African American and Latino students (as well as socio-economically disadvantaged children) attending charter schools in WCCUSD in violation of state laws. Of the five charter schools operating within WCCUSD during the 2012-13 school year, no school had less than 92% of its school enrollment comprised of African American and Latino students. Approximately 76% of students at those charter schools are socio-economically disadvantaged based on their eligibility for free and reduced price lunch.

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