Dear Ingenium Schools Family:

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A group of charter schools have united to demand fair treatment, launching the SIDE BY SIDE campaign to urge the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to stand beside charter schools for students’ sake. We want to change the conversation to what’s best for all students in Los Angeles and how Los Angeles Unified and charter schools can work together to best serve all students—not what’s best for LAUSD first and its schools second.

The night before Christmas Eve, LAUSD sent notices to 34 charter schools—who had already paid millions to use LAUSD facilities—that LAUSD was choosing to take the first steps toward filing lawsuits against the charter schools for years of charges totaling more than $11 million. LAUSD suddenly levied the penalties against the schools, sometimes years later, in violation of its own board policy. These are fees that LAUSD does not need to collect, and almost all school districts throughout California have chosen not to assess the penalty. Only a small handful of districts have imposed the charge since the Prop. 39 law went into effect more than 15 years ago.

LAUSD must stop these kinds of divisive actions that target and harm charter school students, who are also public school students. LAUSD has to remove the line between traditional school and charter school students by recognizing that there’s only one side: the student’s side.

All of Los Angeles’ students deserve a safe and healthy place to learn and LAUSD has plenty of space for both traditional and charter school students. LAUSD has lost about 250,000 students over the past 15 years—just as they were spending $10 billion on building 131 new schools—while fewer than 28,000 charter school students needed space on district campuses last year. While charter schools have a proven track record of better academic performance across many student groups than LAUSD, including students of color and low-income students, and tens of thousands of families are choosing to send their children to charter schools because of this, LAUSD is shortchanging charter schools by not providing adequate classrooms and is penalizing charter schools for the inadequate space they are given.

Charter school families are part of the Los Angeles public school system and want LAUSD to be standing side by side with them, so that all children have access to classrooms where they can learn. LAUSD must remove the line between traditional school and charter school students by recognizing that there’s only one side: the student’s side.

In the coming days, we will be asking our families and supporters to reach out to LAUSD board members calling on them to dismiss these out-of-the-blue fees that double-charge us for space we’ve already paid millions for. And we want to let our board representatives know that the only way forward is together. We believe if LAUSD decided to partner and collaborate with charters, that would not only be in the best interest of kids, it would be the key to strengthening the entire school district. We are all better off when we stand side by side for students, especially when it comes to making sure that all children have access to classrooms where they can learn. For more information about the campaign and to see how you can stand up for your child, please visit www.SidebySideSchools.org.

We know that Los Angeles Unified can be a world-class public school system when decisions are made in the best interests of all students, regardless of what school they attend. Thank you for fighting for your child and for all of the public school children in Los Angeles.

Sincerely,

Jake Rodgers

Superintendent, Ingenium Schools