Turning co-location into collaboration: Los Angeles seeks mutual benefits in contentious practice

Those are among the questions LAUSD hopes to answer through a new grant program designed to address facility issues on district campuses sharing space with charter schools — known as co-location. Last month, the school board unanimously passed a resolution directing district leaders to create a one-year pilot program using $5.5 million in charter school bond funds to pay for the upgrades.

United Teachers Los Angeles made charter co-location a significant issue during the six-day strike against LAUSD in January, calling it an “invasion” that “hurts students in neighborhood public schools.” Charter and district parents, however, came together to lobby for the resolution.

In California, co-location stems from Proposition 39, a state law passed in 2000 requiring districts to make unused classroom and non-classroom space available to charter schools serving students living in the district. But when charter schools move in with new furniture and equipment, that can be a “thumb in the eye” of the district school, Melvoin says, adding that he wants the grant program to “enable more parity.”

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