In a major win for Opportunity Youth, an appeals court overturned a 2019 ruling that would have closed five Learn4Life schools for teens who have previously struggled in traditional schools. The ruling affects more than 1,100 students – 65 percent of whom had already aged out of public school and would be left with few options to graduate high school.
In 2019, a San Diego Superior Court ruled five of our schools must close because of a discrepancy over geographical boundaries. Learn4Life schools have been operating in compliance with the California Charter Schools Act and providing a quality education for hundreds of students. The charters in question are authorized by neighboring districts in the county and are sanctioned to locate and serve students where the need is greatest within the county. We appealed the decision, and last month the ruling was overturned, ensuring the area’s most needy students can continue their path to graduation, and 96 teachers and staff will keep their jobs.
“We are so relieved that the court has sided with the students. This lawsuit did not put students first,” said Lindsay Reese, San Diego area superintendent. “We take students who were not successful in their traditional school, especially those who are credit deficient, former dropouts and those with learning disabilities.”
Reese points out that, “It is important to note that these lawsuits were not questioning the quality of our education model even though hundreds of their students had dropped out or had aged out of traditional high school.”
Learn4Life schools can serve students up to 24 years old. “Every summer we have scores of 18-year-olds who didn’t make it to a diploma, meaning they are too old to return to a traditional high school. We help them catch up, graduate and in many cases go on to community college or other post-secondary education,” said Reese. “Without us, they have nowhere to go.”
“We want to thank the justice panel for seeing this suit for what it was, which was never about the quality of education we provide to our students,” Reese added. “As a charter, Learn4Life schools operate with extensive oversight and must earn its right to exist every five years – something traditional schools don’t have to do.” Read the appeals court ruling here.