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Charter Schools Will Continue Lawsuit Despite The Legislature Partially Restoring Their Funding

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An example of what an L.A. Unified School District classroom could look like if campuses reopen. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Four California charter school networks are moving forward with a lawsuit that claims the state’s education budget is unconstitutional — even though the legislature passed a bill late Monday night that partially addresses the issue their lawsuit raises.

Back in June, California lawmakers were worried the pandemic might send schools’ enrollments, and therefore funding, into a tailspin. So the legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom struck a budget deal freezing K-12 funding at last year’s levels.

This prompted the lawsuit; the plaintiffs are charter schools with growing enrollments, who stood to see higher funding.

This week, the legislature voted to pass Senate Bill 820, which restored some funding to these growing schools — but not all of it.

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SB 820 “still doesn’t do what the constitution says [lawmakers] are supposed to do,” said Jerry Simmons, a partner at the law firm Young, Minney & Corr, “which is to fund every child’s education. That is every child’s constitutional right.”

To understand why the plaintiffs are still unsatisfied, read our full story on both SB 820 and the lawsuit.

Legislative Democrats called SB 820 a fair compromise.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) said the bill balances the needs of these growing schools with the state’s limited resources; already, the state is balancing its budget by asking K-12 schools statewide to endure more than $11 billion in late payments.

He also noted many of the charter schools that are affected also had access to extraordinary funding sources: charter schools across California claimed more than $240.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to one analysis.

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