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OC Board of Education to Consider Charter School Application

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 17, 2015

OCBESealIn what should be a rather lengthy meeting, the Orange County Board of Education will be meeting today to consider a number of lengthy items.

First on their discussion calendar is Item J-1, which is the application of the College and Career Preparatory Academy (CCPA) for a charter school.  The staff report recommends approval of the charter school.  The CCPA charter school application is the second request and the first direct application to the Orange County Board of Education since the election of Trustee Linda Lindholm last year.  Four months ago, the Vista Heritage Charter Middle School won 5-0 approval from the Orange County Board of Education when it appealed a 4-1 denial by the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of education (Trustee Ceci Iglesias was the sole vote at SAUSD in favor of Vista Heritage).

Lindholm’s victory over eight-term incumbent Liz Parker marked a critical shift for the County Board of Education.  Parker who voted for charter school petitions once in a blue moon led a Board majority that rarely approved charter school petitions.  Orange County’s hostility to charter schools was bizarre considering our neighboring counties all had many times more charter schools (even when adjusting for population) and the pro-charter school stance of the majority of Orange County residents.

Trustee Ken Williams, elected in 1996, has a voting record generally supportive of charter schools.  Trustee Robert Hammond, elected in 2012, has a voting record consistently supportive of charter schools.  Between 2012-2014, Williams and Hammond often found themselves on the losing ends of 3-2 votes on charter school applications.  Lindholm’s victory in unseating Liz Parker shifted the Board to a pro-charter school majority.  To their credits, Trustees Jack Bedell and David Boyd, along with the Orange County Department of Education staff, recognized the sea change delivered by the voters.  Staff reports for both Vista Heritage and CCPA have recommended approval of the charter schools.  Bedell and Boyd joined a unanimous vote in favor of Vista Heritage’s application and are expected to join a unanimous vote for CCPA.

As the Orange County Register noted:

While California is a nationwide leader in both the number and growth of charter schools and students attending them, Orange County is lagging. The state, according to a recent National Alliance for Public Charter Schools study, welcomed in nearly 90 new charter schools this academic year, giving a total of 1,184 – an amount nearly double that of the next-closest state in line, Florida, home to only 653.

Statewide, the study puts estimated enrollment at almost 550,000 students.

Orange County has only 16 charters – two of them limited to what is called “nonclassroom based” study, where less than 80 percent of instruction is onsite. Los Angeles County, meanwhile, has 355 charter schools. The Inland Empire has 63.

We are, in other words, remarkably deficient in providing educational choice.

Item J-3 is a “Statement Regarding the Common Core Math Standards” drafted by Trustees Lindholm and Bedell.

At 12:30 PM, Item G-4 will be a public hearing regarding the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.  (Oddly, the actual text of the budget was not part of the agenda packet online.)

 

One Response to “OC Board of Education to Consider Charter School Application”

  1. […] I noted in a post a month […]

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