LAUSD Affiliated Charter versus “Full Charter”

I’ve received numerous questions in the last few weeks regarding the term “affiliated charter.”  Last year several schools converted to an affiliated charter, and this year, there are quite a few more schools in the pipeline to convert.

Affiliated charters only exist in LAUSD.  They are essentially a hybrid between a typical school and a true charter.  Affiliated charters get their money directly from the state, and get to make decisions at the school site, but they are still LAUSD schools.  They receive their Title I funding directly for their students (whether they make the 50% threshold or not), and there are less categorical restrictions (such as money required to go for professional development). They can make curriculum decisions such as which texts to use and they can decide how to test students (and in some cases how often).  Teachers are still hired through LAUSD and keep their benefits and seniority.  There is more work, more governance at the local site, and more self-determination.  The reward for the extra work is keeping programs that work.

As many parents are starting to tour for SAS , open enrollment and even kindergarten registrations, it’s important to understand these schools still have boundaries.  They may have open enrollment.  They might have SAS openings.  But they still must accept every student in their boundaries.

I’m trying to find a link to an actual article on affiliated charter, with no luck so far.  In the meantime, the easiest way to relate to it, is it’s an accounting/accountability decision.  The schools going (or have gone) affiliated charter are nearly all non-Title I schools in the West Valley.  The schools that are going this year are doing it to save their programs in this era of budget cuts.

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9 thoughts on “LAUSD Affiliated Charter versus “Full Charter”

  1. Thanks for this information. Any knowledge of how this may or may not affect magnet programs? For example, my kids are at Millikian in SAS programs, but they also have friends in the Performing Arts Magnet. The Millikan vote is Monday, March 5, at school, in the evening.

    • Not having attended the meetings at Millikan, it’s purely conjecture, but it should not. Millikan is one of the schools that lost its Title I funding when the threshold was raised from 40% to 50%, so losing six figures in income would cause interest in it. Unlike when Daniel Pearl shared space with the Birmingham charter, this is a case where affiliated charter still employs LAUSD teachers and other staff. Millikan has done an excellent job of blurring the lines between magnet and its “home” programs (in a good way) so I don’t see how that would change. Definitely attend the meeting and ask questions, but I’m pretty confident your concerns will be allayed.

  2. Shouldn’t the second line of the second para read “True charters get their money directly from the state…”?

    • Yes, they do too. But affiliated charters receive their money from the state as well. I will try to make that clearer.

  3. Adding comments from another thread that rightfully belong here:

    westside
    Submitted on 2012/03/04 at 5:56 pm

    I have also seen the term “conversion charter” used in for former LAUSD schools that are still affiliated with the LAUSD, can you explain? In addition even schools that are clearly not affiliated with LAUSD and emphasize that their charter is from the state still seem to require LAUSD to take a position on charter renewal, although LAUSD doesn’t seem to like the competition. Do you know anything about that? Thank you!
    ************
    magnetangel
    Submitted on 2012/03/04 at 6:31 pm

    Any school that was once an LAUSD school is a conversion charter. Granada is a conversion charter. They take with them certain agreements, such as boundaries/students served, and in some cases, they tried to cohabitate magnets (those didn’t work so well). That would differentiate them from a start-up charter that is created as a charter from the ground up in a business park, etc. The schools that later move onto shuttered campuses or get school space through Prop 39 would not be conversion charters, I’m assuming. But perhaps the sage with the longest institutional memory (coughcough TransParent coughcough) can make sure I’m clear on terminology.

    And yes, LAUSD does have to grant some blessing on all charters but there’s a way to get an appeal from the county or state, too, I believe. Since I don’t spend too much time on charters (they’re an alternative that I think people should have, but should take with a very careful eye), that’s all I can say until one of the more versed parents pop on.

    How’s that for a start?
    *****************************
    mom2ojgh

    I’m no charter pro either (TransParent?) but the conversion status doesn’t impact much other than agreements on boundaries/students, etc. Isn’t the fundamental comparison between Independent and Affiliated charters?

    Independents are start-up charters that have a board comprised of principal/Exec. Director, teachers, parents and community running them (like a corporation) and are free from the centralized LAUSD rules and policies and get funding directly from the State. Independent charters can set their own schedules, hire non-union teachers, use new curriculum, run their own budget as they wish, and do a variety of other things regular LAUSD schools cannot. While Granada High is a conversion charter (e.g. used to be an LAUSD school) they are now Independent and have considerable freedom to “do their own thing.”

    Affiliated charters (like those West Valley schools that converted this past year) remain LAUSD schools and simply get more money. As MagnetAngel said, it was a financial move to offset the loss of Title I funding (since LAUSD raised the threshold on that to 50% free or reduced lunch). Affiliated charters remain LAUSD schools and subject to most (if not all) the same centralized policies and restrictions regarding scheduling, unions/hiring, curriculum, financials, etc.

    Please correct me if I mis-speak here… that’s my understanding. I think this discussion is very important (and should be moved out of the Northridge subtopic) as parents need to understand that a charter isn’t a charter isn’t a charter…
    ***************************
    magnetangel
    Submitted on 2012/03/04 at 6:58 pm

    I’m looking how to move replies, and I’m not seeing it. I might cut and paste into the entire article regarding charter.

    Keep in mind too, while not blurring the conversation to the point of utter murkiness, that an Independent charter CAN hire UTLA teachers if they so choose. In fact, some teachers at charters keep their memberships long after Independent charter status is created.

  4. I also thought the reason that a number of high schools recently converted to charter status was that a high school only school gets more per student funding from the state than does LAUSD, which is a “unified” school district serving elementary, middle and high school students. In other words high schools get more money from the state per students than do middle and elementary schools, or unified school districts.

    There are also a few recent and not so recent conversion charters on the Westside that remain affiliated with LAUSD: Paul Revere Middle School, Palisades High School, Westwood Charter Elementary. The most notable result of Pali converting to a charter is that it no longer has what had been a popular magnet option. I don’t know how long Paul Revere will continue to have charter and magnet coexist on the same campus, but it does seem confusing to newcomers trying to understand the system!

    • I know I can’t speak to the specifics of the Westside or about high school funding. I can speak to the loss of the magnet on Pali, since it’s the same situation as Birmingham and Granada. They were Independent charters sharing space with the LAUSD charters, and LAUSD didn’t want to give ADA credit to schools they weren’t getting money for/from.

      LAUSD confuses anyone, even veterans with almost 20 years of parental involvement. I could get a PhD to follow it all and honestly, I’d still be a mom with seven more years to go in the system.

  5. Hamilton HS is also in the process of researching the charter option, in large part because of the cut in Title I funding. This presents an interesting situation since almost half the student body at Hamilton is in either the Music/Performing Arts or Humanities magnet schools. Pali’s magnet was a much smaller part of the overall school population before it was reassigned to University HS. Of course, you can recreate a magnet as an “Academy” in a new independent charter school, but without the busing you are going to lose a lot of students.

    • I’m assuming if it’s for funding it will be Affiliated charter. Assuming that’s the case there’d be no reason to move the magnets. If it’s independent charter, it will be an issue. Granada absorbed a great percentage of their Math/Science magnet kids when the alternatives were not even close (geographically or academically). I know Hamilton pulls kids from the north reaches of the Valley, so that would be an extreme challenge without the busses.

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