The financial impact of Clayton Valley High's charter conversion on the Mt. Diablo Unified School District has become a test case for the California State Board of Education.
With a never-before-tried waiver request, Superintendent Steven Lawrence and supporters asked California trustees Wednesday to cover $1.7 million in costs the district must pay to the charter. That figure is above and beyond revenues Mt. Diablo expects to receive from the state for Clayton Valley students.
Lawrence argued that current law unfairly penalizes low-wealth unified districts such as Mt. Diablo by requiring them to pay high school charter conversions a higher per-student rate than the district receives for the rest of its students.
The district receives about $5,208 per student, but would have to pay Clayton Valley about $6,187 per student. Clayton Valley would get nearly $980 more for each of its approximately 1,776 students, Lawrence said.
"This is a critical issue for our district," he said. "Currently, our district is deficit-spending $9 million a year. This will push us closer to being bankrupt."