LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Applicants from the district will receive first consideration to operate schools under a policy change unanimously approved by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and criticized by the head of the California Charter Schools Association.

Under the previous policy, outside teams, such as charter school operators and nonprofit groups, could compete with in-district teams of teachers and educators to operate new campuses and existing, chronically low-performing schools.

The change would effect the third round of the Public School Choice program, which will involve 15 newly built campuses and 22 existing schools, which are scheduled to open with new operators in August or September 2012.

The change would only go into effect if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached with United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing the district’s teachers, by Nov. 1.

“This policy keeps the best aspects of PSC, while giving LAUSD applicant teams an opportunity to be more competitive, innovative and creative,” said board member Tamar Galatzan, who wrote the amendment that resulted in the new policy.

Jed Wallace, president and chief executive officer of the California Charter Schools Association, said, “while we clearly would have preferred a different result today, we understand the process to reform and improve public education in Los Angeles is challenging and will require resolve.”

“We continue to support the board in its efforts to move forward with district reform,” Wallace said. “However, there can be no doubt that the change approved today impedes high-performing charter schools from applying for new schools and creates roadblocks to in-district and charter school collaboration.”