In June 2020, the State’s leaders chose to defund the educations of tens of thousands of children enrolling in the State’s growing public schools in the 2020/21 school year. The State acted illegally, in violation of the constitutional rights of students attending charter schools to receive a public education on an equitable basis, as well as the legal rights of charter schools to serve their students according to their charters. Weeks after the law defunding students’ educations was signed into law (SB 98), on July 27, 2020, YM&C filed Samaiya Atkins v. State of California on behalf of a diverse coalition of students and charter schools. The complaint pushed back aggressively against the State’s efforts to close its budget challenges on the backs of the State’s most vulnerable young citizens attending charter schools and detailed the extreme educational inequities and harm to students that the State was creating.
The case soon garnered considerable attention in national and regional media and an outpouring of support from all corners of the State. The Governor’s administration acknowledged the lawsuit and promised that a solution would be forthcoming. Just over a month after Atkins v. State of California was filed, the Legislature passed SB 820, ensuring that classroom-based charter schools would be funded for the growth they officially budgeted for, as of June, for in the 2020-21 school year. While the initial victory was significant and staved numerous schools from closure, Atkins continues on today because SB 820 is still flawed. It still leaves classroom-based schools unfunded for students who were not expressly budgeted for as of June, e.g., students enrolled in excess of charter schools’ conservative budgets. The first-amended complaint in Atkins contends that the State is still unlawfully failing to fund all students in violation of the State’s contractual, statutory, and constitutional obligations to do so.
Atkins v. State of California
John Adams Academy
John Adams Academy operates Northern California’s only tuition-free, TK-12 classical leadership education. They are preparing future leaders and statesmen through principle-based education centered in classics and great mentors – serving students in El Dorado Hills, Lincoln, and Roseville.
YM&C #FundAllKidsNow information does not constitute legal advice but is solely intended as a general resource to assist charter schools. For specific legal advice under the particular facts of your school’s situation, legal counsel should be consulted.