Chief Advocacy Officer and General Counsel
Ricardo Soto oversees the Legal, Facilities and Special Education teams. He provides general legal counsel to the Association and advises the Association in relation to legal strategies targeted to support the Association's statewide and regional advocacy efforts, facilities and special education advocacy, the membership, the charter school community, and the Association's initiatives and strategic objectives.
During his tenure, CCSA has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of charter school students, parents and teachers to defend their rights under state and federal laws. In a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) concerning compliance with Proposition 39 (2000), a statewide ballot initiative guaranteeing charter school access to district facilities, the California Supreme Court agreed with CCSA that LAUSD was required to comply with the governing regulations applicable to the program to determine how many classrooms to offer to charter school students.
Under his leadership, CCSA also challenged the denial of parcel tax funding to charter schools located in West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) under the Equal Protection Clause and as a violation of the fundamental right to education under the California Constitution. The case was ultimately settled with WCCUSD with an agreement that charter schools would receive an equitable share of parcel tax funding based on the in-district enrollment.
Prior to CCSA, Ricardo served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education - Ofﬁce for Civil Rights (OCR) from October 2009 through August 2011. In his position, Mr. Soto provided senior leadership concerning enforcement, policy and operational activities at OCR. From 2005 to 2007, Ricardo served as Assistant Secretary and Legal Counsel in the Ofﬁce of the Secretary of Education for California where he advised the Secretary of Education and Governor's Ofﬁce on legal and policy issues related to elementary, secondary and higher education. For eight years, Ricardo served as in-house counsel for the San Diego Uniﬁed School District and represented the Superintendent, Board and senior staff on education and employment matters. Ricardo was also Of Counsel with the law ﬁrm of Best Best & Krieger in San Diego where he represented charter schools, school districts and community colleges on education and employment issues. Ricardo started out his legal career at California Rural legal Assistance in Oceanside, and represented migrant farm workers in education and employment issues.
Ricardo graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School and Marquette University. Ricardo is a native of Chicago and a lifelong Chicago sports fan.