Charter Community Mobilizes for High-Stakes LA School Board Election

February 13, 2013

  • Print
Lots of Angelenos are gearing up to vote for the next Mayor of Los Angeles this spring. But charter school parents and educators are particularly focused on another race - three out of seven seats are up for election on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board. About one out of five charter schools in the entire state of California is located within LAUSD.

The LA school board is one of the most powerful in the entire country, overseeing a budget of more than $7 billion and making decisions that impact 664,000 public school students, including 110,000 who attend charter public schools located within the district.

"We consider ourselves partners with the district in improving public education in Los Angeles. It is critical for us that LAUSD board members support parent choice, the growth of high-quality charter schools in Los Angeles and funding and facilities equity for all students," said Corri Ravare, managing regional director, Los Angeles for the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA).

A full grassroots mobilization is underway with parent leads at dozens of schools spreading the word about the upcoming elections, encouraging parents to vote and helping those who aren't registered.

The LAUSD board makes major decisions impacting charter schools including:

  • Whether charter schools will be renewed or closed
  • The school buildings and classrooms charter schools will receive under Proposition 39
  • Whether new charter schools can open
  • And they have oversight on how charter schools are run - including special education, budget and more.

The power of the board was never clearer than this fall when LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer proposed a moratorium on new charter schools. Hundreds of charter parents wrote letters and spoke out at board meetings and the resolution was eventually defeated 4-2. That success was the outcome of several years of organizing by Families That Can, CCSA's statewide organization of charter school families, including hosting the biggest parent rally in LA history in February 2012 when 6,000 charter school parents came together to rally for more high-quality schools.

Families That Can is organizing parents to come out to vote in the primary on March 5 and to spread the word to their families and friends about the importance of this school board election.

This also includes providing non-partisan candidate guides and hosting a community candidate forum at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in the east San Fernando Valley.

Many charter schools have hosted their current board member for a visit - an important chance for parents to meet their representatives and, perhaps more importantly, for board members to hear directly from the families that their policies impact.

Add a comment