Charter School Punished for ties to El Dorado Country - Dept of Ed steps in
Today the Wall Street Journal reporter ALLYSIA FINLEY reported:
"More than 770 poor Latino kids caught a break this week when the Los Angeles County Board of Education unanimously voted to overturn the L.A. Unified school board's decision to close their charter schools. Alas, charter-school opponents are if nothing else persistent and will likely pursue other means to deny students better educational opportunities." http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304810904579505961863819796
In an earlier report she wrote:
Two months ago, the L.A. Unified school board revoked charters for Aspire Antonio Maria Lugo Academy (K-6) and Aspire Ollin University Preparatory Academy (6-12) in southeast Los Angeles, even though both schools score above 800 on the state's Academic Performance Index, which is 100 to 150 points higher than non-charters in their neighborhood. More than 90% of their students are low-income, and 99% are Latino.
Superintendent John Deasy rose to Aspire's defense at the February school board meeting, noting that "the trajectory of achievement in [the elementary] school is unquestionable and unassailable." Yet their performance was never under dispute. Instead, some board members quibbled that Aspire was contracting out state-mandated special education services. The board members wanted Aspire to subscribe to the district's more expensive special-education plan in order to procure more state funds for the district and its unionized workforce.
Of course, this isn't how school board members explained their opposition. School board member Steve Zimmer claimed the district's special-education plan provided more oversight. But according to the L.A. Times, parents of kids with autism effusively praised the Aspire schools at the meeting. And the board provided no evidence that Aspire students with disabilities fared any worse than those in the district's special-education plan...
Annie Gilbertson of Southern California Public Radio wrote on the 16th:
The two schools will now fall under the oversight of the county office instead of L.A. Unified.
The majority of L.A. Unified board members took issue with Aspire's decision on how to use the school's special education funds. Instead of paying L.A. Unified for its programs — such as dyslexia services, speech generating devices and training and emotional disorder psychiatric care — Aspire contracts with El Dorado County Charter, near Sacramento.
Without Aspire's participation, L.A. Unified's special education program has less money to spread around.
"Denying a charter based on its failure to contribute revenue to the general fund of the sponsoring district violates" the education code, L.A. county Department of Education documents state.
Aspire would not comment as to whether cost was a factor in selecting El Dorado.
The story went on to say:
But, district officials said they had no reason to believe El Dorado's services were inferior.
Special education students at both schools have improved in English and Math, according to district reports...