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Parents protest charter school moratorium

Posted at 8:27 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 23:27:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego Unified School District Board voted Tuesday evening to support a package of bills making their way through Sacramento that would put a moratorium on new charter schools.

There are four separate bills before the state legislature. Among other things, the measures would put a five year moratorium on new charter schools, increase local control by preventing charter schools from locating outside their district and put a cap on the number of charter schools that can open.

San Diego Unified Trustee Richard Barrera helped draft the resolution in support of the bills.

"We've got plenty of great examples of seeing laboratories of innovation that have happened over the past 25 years; however, what I think the law did not predict, was that charters have expanded very rapidly. There are organizations that kind of create chains of charter schools that go and pop up in different places around the state," said Barrera.

He said the moratorium would not affect existing charter schools.

"Let's think about the whole system; let's think about what's good for every kid, nothing in these bills affects existing charter schools. In fact, I believe these bills protect existing charter schools because they are as vulnerable to some new school popping up, that may or may not succeed, but in the meantime, you've got that movement of students back and forth," said Barrera.

Barrera said roughly 16% of students in the district attend charter schools at a cost of approximately $66 million dollars a year. There are nearly 50 charter schools in the district.

Supporters of charter schools said the board's vote was motivated by politics and money.

"I think they're kind of greedy, the public schools. They're wanting the money, for each student they get so much money," said Charles Taich, whose daughter attends a charter school.

The California Charter Schools Association says the resolution the board passed isn't focused on students or families.

"It really isn't about students. If you look at the resolution itself, it doesn't talk about parents and students. It just talks about districts and money and the information is not factual, so we want to address that," said Miles Durfee, Vice President of Regional Advocacy for the California Charter Schools Association.

Durfee said they'll continue their fight at the state level.

"The Charter Schools Association has worked really hard with members to really make sure we increase the quality of charter schools and we know schools need to continually improve, but we really believe that charter schools are one vehicle to do a great job to give choice to parents," said Durfee.