Westchester Secondary Charter School v. Los Angeles Unified School District

Summary

On April 2, 2014, Westchester Secondary Charter School ("WSCS") filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, alleging that the District failed to make reasonable efforts to provide the school with facilities near to where it wished to locate, in accordance with Proposition 39 ("Prop 39") and the implementing regulations.

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Case Overview

On April 2, 2014, Westchester Secondary Charter School ("WSCS") filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, alleging that the District failed to make reasonable efforts to provide the school with facilities near to where it wished to locate, in accordance with Proposition 39 ("Prop 39") and the implementing regulations.

WSCS serves Westchester students and students in other communities who have traditionally attended Westchester schools. In November 2013, WSCS submitted a Prop 39 request to the Los Angeles Unified School District for the 2014-2015 school year. The request stated that WSCS preferred school sites located in Westchester, where it was then located, and listed a number of school sites in order of priority. Despite this request, the District offered WSCS space at Crenshaw High School, 6.4 and 7.4 miles from the requested facilities and 2.4 miles from the outer perimeter of Westchester. WSCS objected to this offer and filed a petition for writ of mandate, seeking to compel the District to comply with its Prop 39 obligations.

The trial court denied the claim that the District had failed to make reasonable efforts to locate the school near to where it wished to be located. The Court of Appeal affirmed, noting that "near" is a flexible concept and that the Proposition 39 statutory and regulatory scheme does not define the term. Accordingly, the Court found that the offer of space at Crenshaw represented facilities near WSCS's desired location of Westchester. The Court further found that, because the District had a reasonable basis for allocating space at Crenshaw instead of the locations preferred by WSCS, the District did not abuse its discretion.

CCSA filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of WSCS, and our Legal Defense Fund has worked with the school since the case was filed. In its amicus curiae brief, CCSA highlighted LAUSD's habitual noncompliance with Prop 39 and its implementing regulations, and argued that LAUSD failed to make reasonable efforts to offer space in or reasonably near the community that WSCS was founded to serve.

Case Activity

  • June 19, 2015: Court of Appeal issues opinion affirming trial court ruling.
  • May 8, 2015: LAUSD filed response to CCSA's Amicus Curiae Brief.
  • April 20, 2015: CCSA filed Amicus Curiae Brief..
  • March 23, 2015: WSCS filed Reply Brief on Appeal.
  • March 6, 2015: LAUSD filed Opposition Brief on Appeal.
  • February 2, 2015: WSCS filed Opening Brief on Appeal.
  • January 12, 2015: WCSC filed Notice of Appeal with Court of Appeal, Second District.
  • January 1, 2015: Judgement entered in favor of LAUSD.
  • April 2, 2014: WSCS filed Petition for Writ of Mandate in the Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, for an order compelling LAUSD to make reasonable efforts to provide the school with facilities near to where it wished to locate.

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