A Charter School Brings A Sense Of Entitlement To New Heights
New Heights Charter School refuses to pay the LAUSD the $1,264,162.44 that it has accumulated in outstanding over-allocation penalties.
- New Heights Charter School
When the New Heights Charter School applied for space for the 2019 to 2020 school year under PROP-39, they told the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that they expected to serve 388.45 students per day in district classrooms. In compliance with the law, New Heights was given enough space at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School to satisfy their stated needs.
Looking back, a third of the space sacrificed by the public school students at MLK should have been kept for their use. The Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of New Heights students on the MLK campus during the year was 262.74, which is 125.71 students less than the charter school had projected. As acknowledged on the application for space under PROP-39, this over-allocation of space is subject to a financial penalty. Therefore, on August 13, 2020, the LAUSD Charter School Division sent New Heights a $242,754.94 invoice using a formula mandated by state law.
This is the fourth year in a row that New Heights asked for more space than they needed. In total, they have been charged $1,046,783.96 in over-allocation penalties. None of it has been paid.
The renewal of the New Heights charter was before the LAUSD Board at the November 24, 2020, meeting. A past-due debt to the district of $1,046,783.96 is a violation of the existing charter and should have been grounds to deny renewal, but would the board hold them accountable for the ongoing-harm this publicly funded private school is causing LAUSD students?
At the meeting, the charter school’s Founder and Executive Director, Amy Berfield, was defiant, stating that she was “not going to comply…