September 2, 2020
Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter school, argued that they should receive the same exemption from all property taxes assessed by the County that traditional public schools receive, even though the Leadership Academy is operated by a nonprofit public benefit corporation andleased the property where they were located from similar entities. Although the Leadership Academy was exempt from paying ad valorem property taxes because the property was used for educational purposes, they were still required to pay special assessments and bonded indebtedness on the property. The Leadership Academy believed they served the same function as traditional public schools so they should receive the same property tax treatment. The County of Los Angeles disagreed and asserted that such charter schools are not government entities – similar to traditional public schools – which are exempt from all property taxes. The Leadership Academy then filed suit.
Glaser Weil attorneys Joel Klevens and William Mullen represented the County of Los Angeles at trial and prevailed on all causes of action. The Leadership Academy appealed, and Glaser Weil Of Counsel Elizabeth Chilton joined the team as they drafted Respondents’ brief. Prior to oral argument before the Court of Appeal, the Court issued a decisive tentative opinion in favor of the County of Los Angeles. On March 10, 2020, the Court of Appeal issued an opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment for the County of Los Angeles.
Following this opinion, the Leadership Academy filed a petition for review to the California Supreme Court. The aforementioned Glaser Weil team prepared and filed an answer, and the California Supreme Court ultimately denied the Leadership Academy’s petition.