REDDING -- Shasta Charter Academy, a
Northern California charter school, has filed a petition for review
with the California Supreme Court seeking to reverse an
appellate-court ruling over satellite charter campuses.
this fall, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, California
charter schools were prohibited from operating satellite campuses
outside their home districts in their resident counties. Satellite
charters have grown significantly throughout the state, igniting a
turf war of sorts, resulting in statewide litigation.
means schools will need to decide whether to close their doors or
keep the offices open by appealing to the district where they are
located or look for another district to authorize," Steven
Baratte, communications manager for the California Charter Schools
Association, told the Northern California Record.
campuses exist to provide a setting where students enrolled in
charter schools receive face-to-face support. Tens of thousands
students statewide attend these campuses located in shopping malls,
office parks, and other locations atypical of a traditional
school-like setting. The appellate court decision affects the
education of these students, as well as millions of dollars in
revenue generated by the charters for private organizations.
Charter Academy's petition for review seeks to revers the 3rd
District Court of Appeal’s October decision, which overturned a
lower-court ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Anderson Union High
School District near Redding. The ruling claims the Shasta charter
illegally opened a satellite campus in its jurisdiction.
ruling will also impact students and parents who attend the resource
centers by requiring them to travel longer distances or change
programs, in some cases," Baratte said.
independent-study charters are permitted to operate satellite
campuses in their home district and within neighboring counties under
the State Education Code. The law is unclear when it comes to
charters operating satellite campuses outside their home district but
within the county, however. If the current ruling upholds, charters
are left with minimal options to accommodate the rapidly expanding
By redistributing the management of
campuses, some charter school organizations with schools in multiple
counties could potentially maintain their satellite schools. Charters
are permitted to operate brick-and-mortar centers in adjacent
counties under the current law, and a few existing charter academies
operate this way.
Charters are publicly funded schools that are independently
operated and free of state and local education rules. They are
granted greater flexibility in operations in return for greater
accountability for student performance. The "charter"
establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the
mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods
The court case involves non classroom-based charters, which offer
a hybrid education that typically combines independent-study with
classroom instruction. Approximately 40,000 students in California
attend satellite campuses affected by the lawsuit.
"The ideal outcome would be that a non-classroom-based school
be allowed to open satellite campuses within their county, but
outside the school district that approved the charter petition,"
Baratte said. "As it currently stands, a school could operate
within a small circle, a large outside ring, but not in between,
which we do not believe was the original intent of the law."