From L.A. Times by Howard Blume:
Los Angeles school district officials won a key legal battle with charter schools this week, when an appeals court struck down a ruling that could have opened up vast numbers of classrooms for charters, while also creating potential hardships for traditional neighborhood schools.

The decision means that charter schools will continue to receive space in much the same way as traditional schools: If the Los Angeles Unified School District puts 26 students in a classroom, then charters will be allotted rooms based on the same ratio.

The California Charter Schools Assn. had argued that its operators were entitled to more space because the district uses many rooms for purposes other than regular classroom instruction.

Charters are free, publicly funded schools that are independently operated. Under state law, school districts must offer space to charters that is "reasonably equivalent" to that provided for students on traditional campuses.

The association had prevailed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, but a three-judge California Court of Appeals unanimously reversed that decision Wednesday.

The analysis offered by the association "may well have anomalous results," wrote Judge Edward A. Ferns. "For example, the district would have to count classrooms that have been contracted for but not yet built and classrooms at closed school sites." Ferns cited a ruling in another case to note that a statute should not be construed to create "absurd results."

L.A. Unified had painted a grim scenario, in which charter students would enjoy small classes at a neighborhood campus that could see its own students bused elsewhere and deprived of rooms needed for services to disabled students and students learning English, among others.

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