August 18, 2014

Back to School Choice Week 2014

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

For the second consecutive year, PLF is celebrating Back to School Choice Week.  All this week on the Liberty Blog we will be discussing cases that PLF is working on that give parents and students a choice in where and how their child is educated.  School choice has many forms including charter schools, vouchers, and education tax credits.  And PLF is working to support all forms of choice.  For too long, education policy has been dictated by a top-down model, that force kids into government schools for no other reason than address convenience. School choice injects competition into education, which forces schools to compete to attract and retain students.

With this first post celebrating Back to School Choice Week 2014, I thought I would give you an update on the cases we highlighted for Back to School Choice Week 2013.

Duncan v. New Hampshire — The first case we highlighted last year concerns a statewide tax credit program.  The New Hampshire legislature overrode the governor’s veto to adopt a profound school choice law back in 2012.  PLF represented many of the New Hampshire legislators who drafted and sponsored the bill. The law was struck down as unconstitutional by a New Hampshire trial court.  But during Back to School Choice Week 2013, we received news that the New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted the case for review.  The case was argued in April, and we are awaiting a decision.

Atlanta Public Schools v. Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School — This case we highlighted last year involved an attempt by the Atlanta Public School system to deny funding to charter schools located in Atlanta.  The traditional public schools tried to argue that the funds for ballooning teacher pensions should be paid for, in part, by the charter schools — even though no charter school teacher benefited from the pensions, and they had absolutely no hand in creating the massive debt.  In September of last year, the Georgia Supreme Court  handed a resounding victory to the charter schools.

Bullis Charter School v. Los Altos School District — This case was the latest in a number of lawsuits brought by Bullis Charter School to enforce Proposition 39 — California’s landmark law that requires school district to treat charters equally in terms of funding and facilities.  The Los Altos School District had denied equal facilities to Bullis for years.  After Bullis won a landmark case against the school district, it still continued to deny Bullis equal funding!  While PLF was proud to support Bullis in its fight to secure the facilities it was entitled to under the law (and the previous lawsuit), the two sides recently settled their long dispute.  Here’s to hoping Bullis is treated fairly going forward.

California Charter Schools Association v. LAUSD — This is another case concerning funding for California’s charter schools.  The Los Angeles Unified School District simply ignored the regulations that govern how funding is supposed to calculated, arguing that if it had followed the regulations, some unimaginable parade of horribles would have ensued.  In a very strange opinion, the court of appeal accepted LAUSD’s argument for why it couldn’t follow the law.  CCSA successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for review.  This time last year, PLF was finalizing its brief in the case.  We have since filed that brief, and we are awaiting a hearing date.

In the coming days we will be highlighting some of our newest school choice cases as part of Back to School Choice Week.  Also be sure to check out PLF’s Youtube, Twitter (#Back2SchoolChoice), and podcast pages so that you can be up to speed on everything PLF is doing to give parents and students a meaningful choice in education.

 

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