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December 28, 2009 @ 4:17 pm -- The union representing Los Angeles Unified School District teachers announced the filing of a lawsuit Monday accusing the district of failing to comply with state requirements before converting schools to charter campuses.
At a news conference at Garfield High School, members of United Teachers Los Angeles said the state Education Code requires the approval of a majority of permanent teachers before schools like Garfield and the new Esteban Torres High School can be turned into charters.
The petition asks for a court order directing the LAUSD to comply with the Education Code.
The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit were UTLA and a group of LAUSD teachers from Garfield as well as 28th Street Elementary School, Pio Pico Span School and Foshay Learning Center.
“Public schools belong to the community,” UTLA President A.J. Duffy said. “Especially at new schools, it is important for parents, teachers and the community to see stability in the form of teachers who they know are committed to their school and community.”
Garfield and Torres high schools are among 36 new and existing schools included in a Public School Choice Resolution passed by the Board of Education for the 2010-11 school year that puts their operations out to bid by third parties, according to the suit.
Monica Garcia, president of the LAUSD Board of Education, said the School Choice program is designed to provide options for the operation of low-performing campuses. She said no schools will be automatically converted to charters as the result of the program.
“We are facing a crisis in our classrooms and in our district,” Garcia said. “We need adults to work together for our students. The status quo is not working for too many young people. That is why I am so excited about the Public School Choice Program.”
Final applications from organizations interested in operating schools are due in January, with a vote expected by the school board in February.