It’s time to collect some straight-forward demographics on charter schools. How many are aware of just how pervasive they are in the District, and how pernicious in co-locations? A District official recently claimed there were “just” 72 co-located LAUSD schools. Data downloaded from LAUSD’s website on 3/18/19 about LAUSD’s 2018-19 charter schools refutes the claim.

Number of charter schools operating in LAUSD, 2018-19 with their own “location code”, aka budget:  275

Number of charter schools started in LAUSD in 2018:  12
            Number of new conversion charters:  2
            Number of new start-up charters:  10

Number of charters with “split locations” between one or more school sites:  47
            Number of charters split across exactly two locations:  36
            Number of charters split across exactly three locations:  7
            Number of charters split across exactly four locations:  4

Number of fiscally affiliated charters:  50
Number of fiscally independent charters:  225
Number of conversion charters:  61
Number of start-up charters:  214

Percentage of charters that are start-ups or fiscally independent:  82%


Count of LAUSD-chartered schools according to
start-up status and fiscal affiliation

Total Number of charter school sites:  322 (some schools co-locate with LAUSD on several sites – see above, and also may have split locations, sometimes offsite from LAUSD, sometimes not).

Number of charter schools that co-locate with an LAUSD school site:  101


Complete list of LAUSD-chartered school sites; sites
co-located with an LAUSD school are numbered to the
right. Organized by start-up status within fiscal status

Number of LAUSD school sites that are co-located:  91
           Number of those LAUSD sites co-located by two charter schools:  8
           Number of those LAUSD sites co-located by three charter schools:  1

List of co-located school sites according to Board District: 


Board Districts with the largest percent of their charter school sites co-locating on LAUSD school sites:  38% on BD4, BD5 and BD7.

Number of Charter Management Organizations (CMO) or Charter Management Groups (CMG):  37

Number of charters unaffiliated with a CMO or CMG:  119
            Number of non-CMO/CMG charters operating two or more
            separate schools (different cost code, not just second site):  6

Number of different kinds of property arrangements charters negotiate with LAUSD:  7


The 37 CMO/CMGs arranged by size and the
type of property arrangement negotiated

List of property arrangement specifics for individual schools grouped by CMO/CMG:


…because, you know, one angle of the charter narrative holds it’s all, and only all, about Real Estate, baby.

CMO/CMGs are (predominantly) fiscally independent start-ups.

Conversion charters are not (mostly) operated by CMO/CMGs and are fiscally affiliated with LAUSD.

Rate at which CMO/CMGs run fiscally independent charters compared with non-CMO/CMGs:  3x


CMOs sorted by size and non-CMO charter schools alphabetically
according to fiscal and start-up status

Board District (and board member) with the most CMO/CMG sites:  BD2 (Garcia)
            Approximate comparative rate of the top-two districts
            for CMO/CMGs:  2x (BD2 vs. BD1)

Board District with the largest percentage of all charter types:  BD2 (Garcia)
            Percentage of all charter types in this district:  23%

Board Districts where affiliated charters are predominately located:  3 & 4


CMO/CMGs and non-CMO/CMGs by fiscal status and
color-coded to Board District. Only charters or CMO/CMGs
located within a solitary Board District are color-coded.

The above listing from LAUSD’s Charter Division can be linked to school’s poverty metrics for 2017-18 from the State CALPADS database. In this era of “choice” there are ever more surrogate metrics of poverty. Where once ‘Title 1’ eligibility and the percentage of a school’s population that was Title 1-eligible were calculated from qualifying participants in the District’s free-and-reduced-price meal (FRPM) program, the metric has been expanded to account for additional categories of need: English-language learners and foster youth. Any given child registers such need once alone, so this new count is known as the “Unduplicated Pupil Count” or UPC.

Using 2017-18 poverty counts for the 2018-19 charter school database, ~

District-wide poverty percent (schools average of UPC%):  77.9%
Average percent UPC among LAUSD’s affiliated charters:  40.3%
Average percent UPC among LAUSD’s independent charters:  84.8%

Fraction of poverty rate at affiliated compared with independent charters:  < Half


Number of affiliated charters in Board Districts 2, 5, 7:  Zero
Board members with no affiliated charters:  Garcia, Vladovic

Here are some historical reasons as to why and what incentives underlaid the concept and category of affiliated charters initially.

Nearly identical poverty percentages in Board District 1 (McKenna) for affiliated and dependent charters:  90.1%, 91.1% respectively

Only Board District (and board member) where poverty percentage of affiliated charters (slightly) exceeds that of independent charters’:  BD6 (Gonez); 88.7%, 83.0% respectively

Two Board Districts (and the board members) where charter school poverty percentage is below the district-wide (charter school) average:  BD3 (Schmerelson), BD4 (Melvoin)
Percent poverty concentration of affiliated compared with independent
            charter schools, among Board Districts with below-average charter school
            poverty concentration:  62%, 53% respectively

Traditional public school average poverty percent District-wide, 2017-18:  86.9%
Percent poverty concentration of all LAUSD-chartered schools (77.9%)
            compared with traditional public schools:  89.6% (i.e., average poverty
            concentration of charters is less than traditional public schools)

For reference, here are the enrollment figures from 2017-18 (the year from which poverty counts are drawn):


Roughly 25% of the student population drains from LAUSD’s traditional public district schools into charters. The drainage is disproportionately not-UPC (relatively wealthy). The focused poverty concentration is a measurable, if imperfect, surrogate measure of racial segregation. The estimate is systematically undercounted with increasing poverty concentration (to a point).

This is what it means to “divide and conquer”.  Fractionate social bits so that “co-located” folks are fighting one another for limited resources. Meanwhile the benefit overall is dissolving and the process sorts and winnows students by socioeconomic status.

Put LAUSD back together again. “Defend the education, don’t sell it”.