Escondido, CA

Charter schools lawsuit versus state certified as class action

A class-action lawsuit — Reyes et al. v. State of California et al. — filed last September by three public charter schools and thirteen students, has now been certified to represent 308 public charter schools in the state. This lawsuit is challenging California’s failure to fund students at these public charter schools that are non-classroom-based. That failure, the charter schools say, has failed to recognize the shifts in student enrollment as the result of the pandemic: from traditional public schools to charter schools. In California, a school is considered “non-classroom-based” if more than 20% of learning occurs off-campus. These public schools say they provide a range of options from fully virtual to a hybrid of on-campus and at-home learning. Charter schools involved in the suit are The Classical Academies (Escondido/Vista/Oceanside), Springs Charter Schools (Vista), and The Learning Choice Academy (San Diego). They contend that the state has refused at least $20.9 million in funding for newly enrolled students, many of whom had switched their enrollment from traditional public schools. “The move by the court to grant class-action status to our suit is a first in California for public charter schools,” said Paul Minney, of Young, Minney & Corr, which is representing the charter schools. “We now carry the weight of 308 schools, which represents 29% of all charter public schools in the state.” Minney said that the class action certification “elevates these schools and validates the needs they all have for access to constitutionally guaranteed funding for students and their public education.” The charter schools say a victory in this case will confirm their right to be funded for each student they serve. The case is set to be heard by the court on July 2 of this year.

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