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Charter leaders must disclose financial details and follow policy on disabled students

January 12, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Charter school operators will have to disclose details about their personal financial holdings under a new policy unanimously adopted today by the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education.

Officials also affirmed that charter schools will have to abide by a sweeping court settlement over services to disabled students.

Both requirements were opposed by the California Charter Schools Assn.

The disclosures are currently required of senior school district officials. They will now also apply to the governing boards and top leaders of Los Angeles charter schools, which are managed independently of L.A. Unified but authorized and evaluated by the district.

District officials cited county and state agencies as supporting their position on the disclosures.

Jed Wallace, president of the charter association, called the disclosures legally and ethically unnecessary as well as burdensome. He had similar criticisms regarding the rules for disabled students. He insisted that charter schools could educate special education children properly -- and more creatively -- if they could avoid the rigid control of the Chanda Smith Consent Decree, which resulted from the failings of the school district.

District officials say the language of the decree specifically includes charter schools. They said that no other course of action is legally possible and that the district is obligated to look out for disabled students who attend charter schools.

Overall, charter schools educate fewer disabled students, and tend to enroll a lower percentage of students with more severe disabilities.

-- Howard Blume