A large part of the firmís practice currently consists of representing and advising the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nationís second largest school system, in diverse arenas on a broad array of legal and legislative matters ó from issues of constitutional law, to implementation of sweeping changes in charter school law, to a penumbra of issues arising out of the financing and execution of the Districtís multi-billion dollar school-construction program. The firm serves as LAUSDís counsel in constitutional matters, advising and representing the District on a wide range of statutory and constitutional issues.
State Bonds for Urban Schools
On behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Strumwasser & Woocher successfully challenged Californiaís allocation of state school-construction bond money on the ground that it funded suburban and rural districts rather than more seriously overcrowded urban districts. The challenge resulted in reform of the stateís allocation method and $25 billion in new statewide bond money with explicit set-asides for critically overcrowded schools, in statutes that the firm negotiated in the Legislature.
LAUSD School Bonds
As counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District, Strumwasser & Woocher drafted two bond propositions, Measure K and Measure R, that were approved by the voters, giving LAUSD nearly $7 billion for the largest school-construction program in the nation. As counsel to the bond campaign, Strumwasser & Woocher advises it on election-law issues.
Mayoral Attempt to Take Over School District
In 2006 the California Legislature passed a statute to give the Mayor of Los Angeles control over the Los Angeles Unified School District. Strumwasser & Woocher brought a constitutional challenge on behalf of the District, resulting in the statute being struck down in its entirety. Mendoza v. State, 149 Cal.App.4th 1034 (2007).
Church Challenge to School-District Condemnation
The firm defeated a challenge filed by a church that had purchased land being condemned to build a school to alleviate student-overcrowding that claimed the First Amendment and federal statute precluded the taking of church property.
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 Districtís weapon search policy (crafted in consultation with the ACLU and law-enforcement officials). Motevalli v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 8 Cal. Rptr. 3d 562 (Sept. 9, 2004).
Interscholastic Athletics Due Process
The firm achieved a settlement for state high school basketball champions after suing the California Interscholastic Federation to challenge an administrative decision sustaining allegation of improper player recruiting. Ryan v. California Interscholastic Federation-San Diego Section, 94 Cal. App.4th 1048 (2001).
Strumwasser & Woocher have advised and represented the Los Angeles Unified School District in its implementation of state charter-school legislation, assisting in the drafting of the Districtís Charter Schools Policy, advising the District on legal issues, and representing it in challenges brought by charter schools.
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