While charter school operators and advocates applaud LAUSD's recent embrace of their campuses, they criticized some of the new regulations, which they said create more bureaucracy for the alternative schools.
The new rules include increasing building safety standards to bring charters in line with district-operated schools. Also, members of charter school boards will now be required to fill out conflict-of-interest forms, similar to those filed by elected school board members.
The new charter policy also requires charter schools to meet all the requirements placed on district-operated schools for special education. That means charters are expected to increase enrollment of students with disabilities, use district data systems to track special education students, and contribute more funding for district special education programs.
Jed Wallace, president of the California Charter School Association, said while he welcomes higher standards, he disapproves of restrictions that attempt to make the independent schools more like district-run campuses.
"We want to play on the field that is healthiest for kids," Wallace said.
"For the district to impose the same restrictions on charters as they have is ridiculous. ... That's why the movement started, because we wanted freedom from those restrictions."
Wallace said the push back comes at a time when charter school operators feel a real sense of change at LAUSD. Specifically, Wallace praised the district for moving forward with its School Choice plan, allowing charter operators, nonprofits and teacher collectives to apply to run district schools.
"There is a larger trend toward greater receptiveness to charters and that should be acknowledged and seen by all as an encouraging sign," Wallace said.
"Yet within this charter policy there is clearly still a tendency ... towards excessive regulation, and the reason charters have been so successful is because of the flexibility and autonomy they have."
A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, argued that the increased access to district facilities that charters now have means restrictions need to be imposed.
"Anybody who uses public monies should have public oversight," Duffy said.