California COA Rules in Favor of American Indian Model Schools in Oakland

From Turtle Talk:

Here is the opinion in American Indian Model Schools v. Oakland Unified School District (Cal. App.):


An excerpt:

The American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) operates three public charter schools in the City of Oakland (Oakland). The Oakland Unified School District (the District) decided to revoke AIMS’s three charters after an independent audit uncovered evidence of conflict of interest violations, fiscal mismanagement, and improper use of public funds at the three charter schools. Funding of the charter schools was to halt while AIMS appealed the revocation decision.

AIMS filed a writ petition in the superior court against the District and others (collectively, defendants),1 challenging the District’s revocation of its charters. AIMS also requested a preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the revocation order during the appeal process.
The trial court granted in part AIMS’s request for a preliminary injunction. The court highlighted the outstanding scholastic achievements of the students at AIMS’s three charter schools and the harm these students and schools would suffer if instruction were interrupted and the schools were no longer able to operate. The court concluded that the hardships weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction and that AIMS had demonstrated a likelihood of prevailing at trial because the record did not contain substantial evidence that the District complied with the requirements under Education Code section 47607, subdivision (c)(2).2 The court issued a preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo pending resolution of the appeal of the revocation decision.
Defendants appeal from the preliminary injunction order, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that AIMS is likely to prevail at trial. Defendants maintain that section 47607, subdivision (c)(2) requires the District to consider academic achievement but the trial court incorrectly interpreted this provision as requiring the District to make findings supported by substantial evidence that it complied with this provision. Defendants also challenge the trial court’s interpretation of section 47607, subdivision (i), and claim that issuing an injunction, which requires continued funding to the charter schools during the pendency of AIMS’s appeal, contravenes the mandate of section 47607, subdivision (i). Additionally, defendants maintain that the court failed to give sufficient deference to the District’s decision when it ruled AIMS was likely to prevail on the merits, that the court usurped the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education (the SBE), and that the court should not have issued any ruling in the absence of the California Department of Education (the CDE), which they maintain was an indispensable party.
We are not persuaded by defendants’ arguments and affirm the order granting the preliminary injunction.

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