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L.A. school board begins process to revoke Birmingham's charter

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday voted to begin the process of revoking the charter of Birmingham Community Charter High School. The Lake Balboa campus has until May 23 to address alleged problems, including the handling of disabled students and expulsions.

In a written report to the school board, district officials accused Birmingham of turning away students who had a right to enroll at the school, including some who were disabled. They also accused the school of expelling too many students, some for questionable offenses, such as one case of a student laughing when a teacher tripped.

The school also resisted reinstating students who had a right to return, according to the report.

Birmingham charter supporters characterized the allegations as overblown or inaccurate, but also pledged improved communication with L.A. Unified and full cooperation in the future. Students and parents, including some of disabled students, said the school had improved impressively as a charter.

There’s also a financial dispute between the district and Birmingham, with the school saying the district has improperly withheld millions of dollars in state funding. The district says it is owed a substantial sum for utilities at the district-owned, 72-acre campus.

If the three-year-old charter is revoked, the school would return to full L.A. Unified control.

-- Howard Blume

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