School Choice & Charters

In ‘Parent-Trigger’ Case, Calif. Appeals Court Sides With Parents Seeking Change

By Lesli A. Maxwell — April 28, 2017 1 min read
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A group of California parents seeking to use a state law to convert a district-run elementary school into a charter school notched a legal victory Friday in a long-running battle with an Orange County school district.

A panel of state appellate judges ruled unanimously to affirm a lower court’s earlier ruling that the Anaheim City school district can’t block the parents’ petition to convert their childrens’ school into a charter, according to a news release from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the law firm that represents the parents in the case.

The case, which pits the Anaheim district against parents from Palm Lane Elementary School, has been dragging on for more than two years.

In January 2015, parents at Palm Lane invoked California’s Parent Empowerment Act, better known as the parent trigger law, to turn the school into an independent charter. The state law allows parents in low-performing schools to change the schools’ administration, usually by turning them into a charter school if they collect signatures from at least half of the school’s parents.

California’s parent trigger law has been on the books since 2010.

Friday’s ruling could be appealed by the school district to the California Supreme Court. The case is Cecilia Ochoa et al. v. Anaheim City School District et al. The court’s full decision can be read here. You can also read it below:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.