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More Than Half Of LAUSD’s Charter Schools Received Paycheck Protection Program Loans

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Parents at Arminta Street Elementary in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Sun Valley protest the proposed co-location of a charter school on their campus on March 1, 2017. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)
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We’ve long known that Los Angeles charter schools were taking out loans through a now-$659 billion federal program aimed at helping small businesses stay afloat.

That struck teachers unions and other charter critics as odd because public school funding has continued to flow during the coronavirus pandemic.

But we haven’t had a good idea how common it is for charter schools — publicly-funded, tuition-free schools — in the L.A. Unified School District to receive loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

At least, not until now. We dug through federal data and board documents and found PPP loans to charter schools are common:

  • So far, lenders have granted PPP loans to 50 different organizations that run charter schools in the L.A. Unified School District.
  • These 50 loan recipients collectively run more than half of the 224 charter schools in LAUSD.
  • In LAUSD, charter schools’ PPP loans total at least $73.6 million, but because the Small Business Administration doesn’t publish precise loan amounts, the total could be as high as $136.7 million.
  • In LAUSD, most PPP loans to charter schools are small enough that they’ll have less federal oversight — because they’re for less than $2 million.
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