Santa Ana, CA: At a hearing on May 23, 2019 in Orange County Superior Court, Judge David Hoffer ruled in favor of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), and granted a preliminary injunction against the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD). The injunction replaces the temporary restraining order granted in the same court on May 9.
In March, SAUSD sent an invoice demanding payment of $19,493,329 for what it characterized as OCSA’s failure to contribute “an `equitable share’ for district-wide special education costs” (under the Special Education Local Plan Areas or “SELPA”) over a 17-year period. If payment was not made by May 15, 2019, SAUSD threatened to immediately withhold monthly state funding of $500,000 on an ongoing basis.
With today’s ruling, the court extended the restraining order, which will protect OCSA’s state funding until a permanent resolution is reached. This decision directs the district to honor the language in the current SAUSD board-approved charter.
“I hope this preliminary injunction sends a clear message to SAUSD that it is time to re-think its current position and agree to a resolution that is reasonable and fair to all parties,” stated Ralph Opacic, Ed.D., OCSA’s founder and executive director.
SAUSD also sent invoices to the four other charter schools in the district, Nova Academy, El Sol Science and Arts Academy of Santa Ana, Orange County Elementary Educational Arts Academy and Edward B Cole Sr Academy, demanding a total of approximately $20 million in “failed contributions… (of their)… equitable share.” Following the initial May 9 hearing, SAUSD provided temporary relief from payment to those four schools.