A large part of the firm's practice currently consists of representing
and advising the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's
second largest school system, on a broad array of legal and legislative
matters — from issues of constitutional law, to implementation of
sweeping changes in charter school law, to issues arising out of the financing
and execution of the District's multi-billion-dollar school construction program.
Strumwasser & Woocher prevailed in path‑making litigation to ensure
that school districts across the state will receive the billions of dollars
of revenues to which they are entitled under the Community Redevelopment Law.
Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 181 Cal. App. 4th 414 (2010);
Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles, et al., 217 Cal. App. 4th 597 (2013). During this litigation, the firm also led
the legislative advocacy efforts of LAUSD to ensure that the financial
interests of schools throughout California are preserved as redevelopment
agencies are dissolved over the coming decades. The firm also defended
the financial interests of schools in the litigation upholding the laws
governing dissolution of redevelopment, representing LAUSD and the California
School Boards Association as amici curiae before the California Supreme Court.
California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, 53 Cal. 4th 231 (2011). Relatedly, the firm recently negotiated numerous
discrete settlements on behalf of schools securing millions of dollars
of pass‑through funding from former redevelopment agencies under the terms
of longstanding pass‑through agreements.
As counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District, Strumwasser &
Woocher drafted three bond propositions: Measure K, Measure R, and most
recently, Measure Y, all of which were approved by the voters, providing
LAUSD with nearly $19.2 billion for the largest school-construction program
in the nation.
The firm also drafted an initiative for the November 2014 California statewide
ballot on behalf of Educate Our State, under which the state of California
would be prevented from diverting local property tax revenues away from schools.
The firm successfully challenged the State Allocation Board's rules
for distributing state-bond funds, resulting in the establishment of new
rules for the allocation of bond funds and an additional $650 million
in Proposition 1A proceeds for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The court's order in this litigation also led to the passage and voter-approval
of state Propositions 47 and 55, the historic $25.4 billion state bond
measures, including provisions that the firm negotiated to ensure funds
for critically overcrowded districts such as LAUSD.
Godinez v. State of California (LASC Docket No. BC227352).
In related work, the firm advises school and community college districts
around the state regarding their rights and responsibilities under the
Education Code, Revenue and Taxation Code, and Government Code. The firm
also advises school districts regarding the ever-changing landscape of
laws regarding school financing.
Strumwasser & Woocher served as lead outside counsel to the Los Angeles
Unified School District in its challenge to the constitutionality of state
legislation that would have removed the authority of the elected Board
of Education and handed over control of a significant portion of the school
district to a private entity headed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Mendoza v. State of California, 149 Cal. App. 4th 1034 (2007).
Weapon Searches in Schools
Strumwasser & Woocher successfully defended Los Angeles Unified School
District at trial and on appeal against a damages claim filed by an untenured
teacher whose contract was not renewed after she twice obstructed searches
of her classroom pursuant to the District's weapon search policy (crafted
in consultation with the ACLU and law enforcement officials).
Motevalli v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 122 Cal. App. 4th 97 (2004).
Since 2000, Strumwasser & Woocher has advised the Los Angeles Unified
School District in its development of its charter school policy, working
with the district to satisfy the mandate of Proposition 39 (that public
school facilities be fairly shared among all in-district and charter students),
even during periods of endemic overcrowding. The firm successfully defended
that policy in a series of actions brought by charter schools dissatisfied
with the facilities they were offered by the district.
Renaissance Academy Charter School v. LAUSD
(LASC Docket No. BS101969; SDSC Docket No. GIC841140);
New West Charter High School v. LAUSD, 187 Cal. App. 4th 831 (2010);
Los Angeles International Charter High School v. LAUSD, 209 Cal. App. 4th 1348 (2012).
Strumwasser & Woocher also represents the Los Angeles Unified School
District in disputes regarding charter school funding.
In a church's challenge to Los Angeles Unified School District's
eminent domain action, the firm defeated a challenge filed by the church
that had purchased land being condemned to build a school to alleviate
student‑overcrowding when the church claimed the First Amendment and federal
statute precluded the taking of church property.