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The Truth about Proposition 39 Colocations

The Truth about Proposition 39 Colocations

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Published by Robert D. Skeels
A look at the divisive and inequitable law in California that allows private charter school corporations to seize and occupy space on public school campuses.
A look at the divisive and inequitable law in California that allows private charter school corporations to seize and occupy space on public school campuses.

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Published by: Robert D. Skeels on Feb 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Truth about Proposition 39 Colocations
“Colocation is eviction... It doesn't mean sharing, it means displacement.” — NY State Sen. Bill Perkins
Passed with the backing of the multi-billion dollar charter school industry, Proposition 39 isa law that forces public school districts to provide space for private charter corporations onexisting public school campuses. The deceptively worded legislation demands our schoolsmake any “free space” available to charters. In most cases this free space turns out to becomputer labs, English Language Learner rooms, arts and music rooms, and other vitalservices that are surrendered. Once established on public school campuses, charters createa divisive two tier system which are frequently based on class and race. In addition todividing communities and causing ill will, these charter corporations often begin toencroach more and more public schools space over time.We've seen this terrible scenario played out at Logan Street Elementary School, which hasbeen collocated by the Gabriella Charter Corporation for several years. Not satisfied withoccupying more space than they were originally allotted under their Prop 39, Gabriellaseized Logan's auditorium over the summer of 2011 and turned it into their office for severalweeks. Following this incident, they also annexed several classrooms that had just beenpainstakingly restored by the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council. In theprocess of taking over these rooms, Gabriella's staff removed all of the existing furniture,computers, and materials, haphazardly piling these items up in adjacent rooms, damagingbooth rooms and items in the process.The photos on the right were taken during these events at Logan. We have seen many similarincidents at other collocated schools throughout the district. The following online articleschronicle the Gabriella incursion:Gabriella Charter Corporation further encroaches Logan Street Public Elementary Schoolhttp://j.mp/qS1Ew8Occupation of Logan Street School Rooms by a Corporate Charter Continueshttp://j.mp/pCbzmcThe film
The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman
also exposes the damage thatcolocations cause, especially in terms of the charters taking over the best parts of schoolfacilities for themselves while relegated the public school students to basements and otherundesirable locations. New York communities have long been fighting the scourge of colocations, and community groups like the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) are onthe forefront of that struggle.
Charters Are NOT Public Schools
Despite all the marketing hype promulgated by deep pocketed trade associations like the California Charter Schools Association, charter schoolsare not public schools. Instead charters are privately managed entities whose only claim to the word public is the fact that they drain public funds.Dozens of court cases have ruled that charter schools are not “public entities.” Two well known examples include the following:The California Court of Appeals (2007-01-10) which ruled that charter schools are NOT “public agents.” http://j.mp/wGmLtBThe 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010-01-04) which ruled that charter schools are NOT “public actors.” http://j.mp/x4Y9KTMoreover, the US Census Department expressed difficulty in obtaining information from charters because they are NOT public entities. http://j.mp/ytdtYvThe National Labor Relations Board has ruled that charter schools are private entities. http://bit.ly/ZdWEeg
Charters Exclude the Local Community 
The private, unelected boards of charter schools ignore the needs of communities. More often than not charter schools boards have no educators orcommunity members. For example, the fourteen member board of CNCA Charter Corporation which was awarded the local CRES 14 campusagainst the explicit wishes of the Echo Park community, is packed with bankers and venture capitalists with no connection to the community or thefamilies enrolled at their school. Gabriella Charter Corporation's board has repeatedly refused to inform community members where or when theyhold their board meetings.Logan’s Auditorium occupied by Gabriela CharterPhoto by Cheryl OrtegaGabriela Corporation piled Logan’s items in a heapPhoto by Lisa Baca-Sigala
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