SOURCE: California Charter Schools Association

March 29, 2006 10:57 ET

LA Unified Becomes First School District in Nation to Approve 100 Charter Schools

Small Campuses Help Relieve Overcrowding, Provide Incubators for Innovation

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 29, 2006 -- The Los Angeles Unified School District this month became the first school district in the nation to approve 100 public charter schools. District officials and the charter school community celebrated this historic accomplishment today on the campus of one of the PUC Schools (Partnerships to Uplift Communities), Milagro Charter School.

Los Angeles Unified opened its first charter school, the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in 1993, but it took eight years for the number of charter schools in operation to reach 20 schools. Since then, starting in 2001, the number of charter schools serving Los Angeles Unified has more than quadrupled. The District has also promised more than $120 million in local bond money to facilitate charter growth.

"This is a historic moment for the Los Angeles Unified School District, as we continue to lead the nation in embracing the growing trend of charter schools," said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Roy Romer. "Coupled with our district's school building campaign, the 100 additional charter campuses allow more educational choices for families and their children."

"Los Angeles Unified has quickly become the nationwide leader in promoting innovative public school options like charter schools to tackle the challenges of low student achievement and over-crowding," said Caprice Young, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "The school district is to be commended for supporting high-quality charter schools for the many families that continue to demand them."

The California Charter Schools Association forecasts that at least 30 new charter schools will open up in Los Angeles Unified this fall, a record for new charter schools to open in a single year. This will bring the total number of charter schools serving Los Angeles Unified to over 115 charter schools.

"As we celebrate this milestone, we also recognize our responsibility as a district to provide constructive oversight and assistance to our affiliated charter campuses," said Los Angeles Unified School Board President Marlene Canter. "High-quality charter schools provide great small-scale models for our ongoing reform efforts, and inspire us with their innovative partnerships."

Los Angeles Unified has approved PUC Schools to open as the District's 100th charter school, Excel Academy, this upcoming fall. Including the new charter schools approved to open up in September, close to one in six public schools in Los Angeles Unified will be a charter school.

"Almost all of the families in the densely-populated communities we serve did not go to college. Through our high-quality public charter schools, we've not only been able to raise awareness that college for our families is attainable, but we've been able to prepare our students to succeed once they get there," said Ref Rodriguez, founder of PUC Schools, which currently operates six high-quality charter schools in northeast Los Angeles and will open up the district's 100th charter school. "Los Angeles Unified is to be commended for being so responsive to demands from our communities."

About Charter Schools

Charter schools are independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 574 public charter schools serving more than 212,000 charter school students in the state of California. The Association's mission is to improve student achievement by strengthening and expanding high-quality public charter schools throughout California.

Contact Information

    Gary Larson
    Vice President of Communications
    California Charter Schools Association
    (415) 722-0127

    Melissa Milios
    Communications Director
    LAUSD School Board President Marlene Canter
    (323) 719-7225

    Sonia Torres
    Media Relations Manager
    California Charter Schools Association
    (213) 618-3801