Seventh question from the OEA Endorsement Questionnaire
- What actions, if any, will you take to advocate for state-wide reform of prop 39 and local reevaluation of OUSD’s prop 39 utilization formula?
Prop 39 is another way that OUSD has offered all carrot and no stick to our charter schools. The law requires the district to offer any empty space in its buildings to charter schools, but the district has gone above and beyond what is required. I would push the Board to take a stronger stand.
I don’t think it’s politically realistic to overturn Prop 39, but I will advocate at the state level that Prop 39 regulations be updated to reflect the difficulties faced by districts such as Oakland with a high number of charter schools. Given State Supt. Tony Thurmond’s relationship to Oakland, and that Gov. Newsom is not as pro-charter as Jerry Brown was, I believe this advocacy could be successful.
Locally the Board could change OUSD’s utilization formula. Some people say the formula is not fair to our public schools, with the result that when a campus is shared, charter school students get more space than public school students. As a Board member, I would advocate for a thorough review of the formula, so that we can make sure the process is fairer. This process needs to be transparent and based on hard facts, because of the high risk of further lawsuits from CCSA (the charter school association).
Specifically, the imbalance between the state regulations for charter school space, and OUSD’s utilization formula for public schools, ends up offering more space to charter schools than for public schools. But public schools often need more space because they have more students with special needs. Not only do the two calculations need to match, but they also need to better accommodate students with special needs.