California 'parent trigger' law faces legal test

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It's up to a judge to decide if parents can take over the low-performing McKinley Elementary School under the state’s new 'parent trigger' law.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge is considering the legitimacy of a petition to turn Compton’s McKinley Elementary School into a charter school. It's the latest development in the first test of California’s so-called “parent trigger” law.

The parent trigger law took effect more than a year ago. It mandates that if parents of more than half the students in a failing school sign a petition, they can force a change in that school.

The pro-charter group Parent Revolution organized the petition drive at McKinley Elementary and turned in a petition almost five months ago with 275 signatures – well above the 51 percent threshold. Trustees of the Compton Unified School District Board rejected it.

Lawyers for the school district argued in court that the petition didn’t properly explain its proposal – and did not include dates for the signatures. The petitioners’ lawyers argued that despite those problems, the substance of the petition was valid.

The judge asked both sides to deliver more information next week before he makes a decision.

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