Charter School at All Costs?
Original post made by Resident of PAUSD on Mar 5, 2007
However, I lost all sympathetic feelings in the shock of reading the following which was posted to the Palo Alto Menlo Park Mother's Club list.
I am appalled that the leadership of this movement is actually recruiting in NEIGHBORING basic aid districts to try to create demand for this a Charter school in PAUSD. And they've written this in such a misleading way as to imply that the charter would somehow be a PAUSD managed school.
I am also appalled that, not only are they trying to overide the will of the community that rejected another immersion program in our District, they are doing so in the way that is most damaging to our District. They are not only applying for a Charter School within District lines, and not only recruiting NON-PA residents to it, but specifically targeting other basic aid districts, which they know full well will be non-reimbursed students.
Additionally, they obviously do not believe there is enough demand inside PA for their program, which really calls in to question their motives for pursuing it to be located in Palo Alto at all, versus in another District. Why not locate in a District that has the need, the space, and the ability to be reimbursed for an MI program?
There is no more hurtful way to us than this to get what they want. What is driving this?
(The following is what was posted on the Palo Alto Menlo Park Mother's list)
We are collecting the names of people who would be interested in having their children attend a mandarin immersion charter school in palo alto starting in fall 2008 with kindergarten and first grades. A charter school is a public school, and you need not be a resident of palo alto to attend.
Our vision is to create a K-5 school which provides an excellent education in both Mandarin and English. If you have a child/children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2007 OR LATER and you would like them to attend such a school, please email me with the following information, and I will put you in our database. This is not a commitment for enrollment in this school. We are just seeking interested parties to focus our efforts in developing the program.
1. Parent Name(s)
2. Address (Street, city, zip)
3. email address
4. telephone #
5. Child #1 Name and year they will enter Kindergarten (must be 2007 or
6. Child #2 Name and year they will enter Kindergarten
this list may be used to communicate with you about the school as planning
progresses, and may be used to show that there is indeed a need and a demand
for such a school, but it will not be made public.
if you would like to join in the planning and creation of the school, please
email grmah2001@yahoo. com.
on Mar 5, 2007 at 1:09 pm
Forgot to put in a response to the above that was also listed on the PAMP list
Before you reply to the plea that was recently sent out, please be
aware that there is considerable controversy around this effort and
that your input may be used in a political battle without your having
been apprised of all the issues.
Here is a recent article in the Palo Alto Weekly about it.
( link deleted, too many links in this post)
Also, here is a link to the most recent discussion on the Palo Alto
Town Square with people weighing in on both sides of the issue:.
Web Link online.com/ square/index. php?i=3&d= &t=948
There have been a series of good articles in the Paly Voice about the
school board meetings and votes over Mandarin Immersion.
Web Link. paly.net/ view_story. php?id=4989( there were 2 more, but deleted because too many links to post)
As a PAUSD parent, I think there are better ways to go about getting
language instruction (because we currently have none in elementary
school) and even immersion that are not so costly to the district at
the expense of higher priorities and goodwill among parents.
If you would like to see the PIE benchmark study that compared PAUSD
to other similar districts across the country, to get the bigger
picture about some of those educational priorities, please go to:
Web Link. org/press/ benchmarking_ study.pdf
Web Link. org/press/ benchmarking_ presentation. pdf
(Note that our district is the only one that does not have at least
some language instruction available to all elementary students.):
Get your own web address.
on Mar 5, 2007 at 1:22 pm
You forgot this posting, also:
Let me take a shot at the question re: Charter Schools.
The legislature created charter schools as a method to accomplish the
following items (please note that a charter school does not have to
focus on ALL of these items, but may just be focusing on some of
them)... this information is from the California Educational Code:
1. Improve pupil learning
2. Increase learning for all pupils, with special emphasis on
expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as
academically low achieving.
3. Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods.
4. Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the
opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.
5. Provide parents and pupils with expanded choice in the types of
educational opportunities that are available within the public school system.
6. Hold the schools established under this part accountable for
meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the schools with a
method to change from rule-based to performance based accountability systems.
7. Provide vigorous competition within the public school system to
stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.
A group that wants to create a charter school must first do an
extensive charter proposal that outlines how they are going to run
the program and a lot of detail about what the educational program
will look like, their governance, etc. Typically, the district where
the charter school would like to reside is presented with the
proposal first. That school board gets to decide whether to accept
the proposal or not. They are supposed to do this based on whether or
not the charter meets the intent listed above and whether the
proposal is valid from an educational, operation, fiscal, etc. standpoint.
Most districts do NOT like charter schools (they are competition
after all) and typically turn them down. The charter group then has
the option to appeal to the Santa Clara County Office of Education,
who may then approve the charter. If they don't, the group can appeal
to the State. The Santa Clara County Office of Education has approved
a number of charter schools in the recent past.
The district where the charter school resides must provide facilities
if the school has 80 or more students from that district. Note that
they are on the hook to provide facilities only for students that
come from that district so if the charter school includes students
from other districts, they are not obligated to provide space for
them. Because of that, in all likelihood, the charter would come with
a preference for PAUSD students (though that's not a requirement).
The district is also on the hook to pass through $ for their students
that attend the charter school. I believe though that it is only the
ADA amount (i.e., the amount that the state gives per pupil in
revenue limit districts... it's a little more than $5K). The charter
school would very likely NOT get parcel tax money and would get far
less per pupil than the other district schools because PAUSD is a
basic aid district where more than $10K per student is available.
This is probably more than everyone wanted to know. For full
disclosure, I am definitely a charter school supporter and do NOT
live in PAUSD. I believe our public educational system is massively
broken and charter schools are a good start at fixing them.
Happy to provide more information to anyone that might want it.
BTW, Los Altos School District is NOT a basic aid district, although they really want to qualify. At this time, the closest basic aid districts to PAUSD are Hillsborough and Saratoga. Sunnyvale was for a while, but flipped back to revenue-limited lately.
on Mar 5, 2007 at 2:10 pm
I've heard if there are more applicants than spaces, then preference can be given to PAUSD kids. If this is indeed true, PACE knows exactly what they are doing.