Appellate court clarifies what school districts may charge charter schools for facilities

The California Court of Appeal has held that school districts must exclude maintenance and operations costs from their calculations when determining the pro rata fees of a charter school that pays for its own maintenance and operations. (Mt. Diablo Unified School District v. Clayton Valley Charter High School (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 1004.) “Pro rata fees” are the “rent” a charter school pays to a school district for the charter school’s use of district facilities under Proposition 39 (Prop. 39).

Without changing the judgment, the appellate court later modified the opinion to add a footnote clarifying that the court makes no determination as to how costs should be calculated where a charter school pays for only a portion of its own operations and maintenance, as opposed to paying all costs for such services.

Bottom line: When calculating the pro rata share to charge a charter school for use of district facilities, school districts must exclude operations and ongoing maintenance costs if the charter school pays for its own operations and maintenance.

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