Proposition 39 Facilities Request: Overview

Background

Proposition 39 was originally a measure lowering the requirement to pass school bond initiatives. Embedded in the law was language to guarantee charter schools the right to facilities in their school districts. Essentially, charter schools may apply annually for facilities that are reasonably equivalent to the district schools that the charter school students would otherwise attend.

“Each school district shall make available, to each charter school operating in the school district, facilities sufficient for the charter school to accommodate all of the charter school’s in-district students in conditions reasonably equivalent to those in which the students would be accommodated if they were attending other public schools of the district.”

Source: Education Code 47614 (b)

On October 1, 2008 PCS was expected to submit their first Proposition 39 request to Santa Cruz City Schools. From that point forward, Santa Cruz City Schools is bound by the process outlined in the education code to respond to the request. The process concludes on May 1, 2009 (or 30 days after a final offer by SCCS) when PCS either accepts or declines the Proposition 39 offer.

Source: Comprehensive Prop. 39 Update, Law Offices of Spector, Middleton, Young & Minney, LLP, attorneys for PCS

Analysis

PCS is not the typical profile of a Prop 39 charter school.  Their 60:40 ratio of in-district to out of district student population is not well suited to the intent of Prop 39. However, they have recently filed their first Prop 39 application with the district; an application they understand to accommodate only 60% of their students. Once the district responds with a facilities offer, PCS may accept or decline the offer. Should they decline, PCS has relieved the district of its obligation to provide space under Prop 39.  PCS may negotiate for district owned facilities at this point, but without Prop 39 obligations. Any lease agreement outside of the official Proposition 39 process cannot be expected to require the district to meet its obligation once the charter has foregone theirs.

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