Valley Oak Charter Petition To Be Appealed To the County

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Last night at the Valley Oak multipurpose room, around 60 parents, teachers, and community members gathered braving the cold driving rains on a Saturday Night to show their support for the ongoing Valley Oak Charter effort and to find out the next steps.

The community was walked through the process at this point including the next steps of the Charter School appeal, efforts to lobby members of the County Board of Education, and how to handle intent to return forms.
The importance of getting out information to the parents was underscored by reports that there were efforts underway at disinformation on the part of some district staff to confuse parents and to make them believe that this process was over.

Parents and community members also expressed support for Valley Oak Elementary school and the efforts to keep Valley Oak open as a Charter School.

Supervisor Mariko Yamada whose two daughters attended Valley Oak, recounted efforts to paint and decorate the school in the early to mid 1990s as many were allowing the school to deteriorate.

Catching up with the Supervisor after the meeting, she expressed her continued support for the Charter as she has at school board meetings.

“I’m in full support of the Valley Oak Charter, as you know I was opposed to Valley Oak closing. But we’ve moved on from that. I think that the group is working very hard to present its appeal before the Yolo County Board of Education. And I will certainly be in full support of that whatever our office can do to support that we will continue to work on that.”

The Vanguard also spoke with Ellen Cohen whose two children attended Valley Oak in the GATE program.

“I have two children, both of whom went here to Valley Oak. They were both in the GATE program. What we found here was just a very rich educational experience. My kids had been at their previous elementary schools, but never until they came here experienced the sense of community that I think is unique to Valley Oak. I think Valley Oak offers a kind of diversity that does not exist anywhere in any other Davis school. My great upset is that this was the most vulnerable school among all schools and the most critical to keep open. So I think that it’s great that we have a new opportunity to move forward.”

Bill Storm, science teacher at Valley Oak and one of the organizers put it most eloquently, arguing that the district has maintained that the programs can be replicated elsewhere and that students will receive the same level of education elsewhere in the district.

“The board of education continued to put forward the idea that the charter school at this sight with this program is not unique. That this school doesn’t do anything different from any other site. That the children will be served equally by being distributed as they would at Valley Oak. That’s patently untrue. That’s never been the case. It’s never been true. And there’s no reason to think that it would be true because the district staff has tried to replicate this program for English speakers for poor kids and it’s never been done. The numbers speak for themselves, the STAR testing data. It makes it patently obvious what’s going on. The anecdotal, the numerical, all the data has been ignored to the end of closing this school. It has not been closed for programmatic reasons.”

Teacher Steve Kelleher told the Vanguard that the process is going forward.

“It’s moving forward, it’s a good document, there’s no reason to believe it won’t fly through the county as well.”

The timeline is very tight at this point if they hope to get the school open for 2008-09.

“We need to get [the appeal] in next week in order to get it on the agenda for the [county] board meeting, which I believe is on the 21st. There’s a window of time that you need to submit documents.”

In advance of the meeting, Mr. Kelleher will be meeting with the CBO from the County.

“I’m going to have a conversation with the Yolo County Office of Education. Specifically I need to set up some time with the CBO, Chief Budget Officer, and apprise her of what’s happening and the changes that we’ve made to the document. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the charter’s going to be rejected or not. The district did miss the deadline that they agreed to and in my mind that means that they’ve rejected the charter. So we’ll move forward and present the appeal to the county next week.”

Meanwhile the school board will meet this week to formally reject the Charter Proposal.

“From what I understand they are just going to rubber stamp their decision to reject it… They rejected the updated version on Thursday the 24th, and on Thursday the 7th they expect to reject the original document.”

Valley Oak parents and supporters plan to march once again from Valley Oak to the school board.

Julie Cuetera better known as Dweezil, the Valley Oak Dragon told the Vanguard:

“From Valley Oak to the School Board. We will probably leave at 5:30, I’ll confirm the time. And Dweezil will lead the march and dance during the march. And everyone can carry signs like they did to save the school, this time they can say, ‘we want the charter.'”

The first time, 100 people showed up. This time, she is hoping for 200 people.

“Well I did it in three days last time, this time I have six days so let’s try for 200.”

All community members are encouraged to show up and support Valley Oak.

Stay tuned to the Vanguard this week for other key information and announcements.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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20 thoughts on “Valley Oak Charter Petition To Be Appealed To the County”

  1. The way forward

    Voters who were planning to vote for Establishment candidate Clinton this Tuesday, ask yourself the question:
    Where have Yolo Democratic machine “leaders” been on the issue of closing a majority minority school in Davis that will “cut the heart out” of this neighborhood? AWOL! They have all endorsed the past and machine politics as usual with Hillary. Vote
    Barak Obama on Tuesday.

  2. The way forward

    Voters who were planning to vote for Establishment candidate Clinton this Tuesday, ask yourself the question:
    Where have Yolo Democratic machine “leaders” been on the issue of closing a majority minority school in Davis that will “cut the heart out” of this neighborhood? AWOL! They have all endorsed the past and machine politics as usual with Hillary. Vote
    Barak Obama on Tuesday.

  3. The way forward

    Voters who were planning to vote for Establishment candidate Clinton this Tuesday, ask yourself the question:
    Where have Yolo Democratic machine “leaders” been on the issue of closing a majority minority school in Davis that will “cut the heart out” of this neighborhood? AWOL! They have all endorsed the past and machine politics as usual with Hillary. Vote
    Barak Obama on Tuesday.

  4. The way forward

    Voters who were planning to vote for Establishment candidate Clinton this Tuesday, ask yourself the question:
    Where have Yolo Democratic machine “leaders” been on the issue of closing a majority minority school in Davis that will “cut the heart out” of this neighborhood? AWOL! They have all endorsed the past and machine politics as usual with Hillary. Vote
    Barak Obama on Tuesday.

  5. Elaine Roberts Musser

    I know some have expressed concern that the VO Charter School will somehow damage other Davis schools fiscally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I attended the VO Charter School meeting last night, and was pleasantly surprised at its administrative structure. I think I am actually glad the School Board voted NO, so the Charter School proponents can appeal at the county level with its ORIGINAL CHARTER PROPOSAL. Now there will be no artificial stumbling blocks put in their way that could trip them up, if they didn’t somehow meet certain benchmarks.

    Each charter school develops its own governing body, comprised of parents and teachers. It is about time both these stakeholder groups had the opportunity for some serious and meaningful input into how school monies are spent and programs are run. Frankly, this entire fight is about FISCAL AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

    The School Board has threatened that if VO Charter School opens, they may have to close another elementary school. BRAVO! Then that second closed school can also become a Charter School, and start having some say in how their school is run as well.

    We have seen fiscal mismanagement run rampant for years at the school district, with complacent School Board members rubber stamping whatever the School District requests. Lone School Board members who have made responsible decisions are outvoted by a School Board majority with questionable motives.

    How many times have we seen elementary schools built within new residential developments – without any thought towards overall enrollment figures or whether school district funding is available to run ALL the Davis schools, figuring in the newly built ones as a necessary factor?

    Has anything of significance changed since new rules have been put in place – as anemic attempts to stem the fiscal bleeding from school district funds put towards useless projects or unnecessary personnel? I think not. The current School Board is going to waste more money on legal fees and staff time to fight the VO Charter School, than the very $300,000 they are whining about.

    This was never about the money, it was about the School Board’s ego… The current School Board, excepting one, did not want to admit the initial decision to close VO was a bad one. Their own Superintendant doesn’t even agree with the School Board majority’s decision to deny the Charter, nor does the Chair of the School Board itself.

    Expect to see certain members of the School Board backtrack on the illegal reason, now on record, for their denying the charter – the alleged $300,000 negative fiscal impact on other DJUSD schools. Their target of reasons will constantly move and the bar that the Charter School must jump over will keep being set higher and higher, to justify the School Board’s second bad decision – to deny the proposed VO Charter.

    There will be various complaints, none of which are appropriate justifications for denying the Charter (as have already been heard), such as:
    – How is the Charter School going to be BETTER than other Davis elementary schools (VO already is above other Davis elementary schools with respect to their EL program)?;
    – DJUSD books laying idle in closets because of declining enrollment cannot be used by Charter School students, so how are proponents of the Charter School going to pay for all brand new textbooks (a “loan” of these idle books somehow would be out of the question – the books must sit in a closet gathering dust bc that is what “the law” “requires”)?;
    – Why are the Charter School proponents backing off their promise to be technologically forward looking because they have not proved to the School Board that VO Charter School children are going to be given computers? (Give VO Charter proponents half a chance, and I will personally assist them with setting up a Techno U program!!!);
    – The 80 page Charter document written in complicated legalese was not translated into “Spanish” (I am an attorney, and believe you me, it would be hard enough for this document to be translated into plain English, let alone Spanish! Not to mention the need for other languages to cover the many other ethnic groups attending VO!), etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    When transparent excuses did not dampen community enthusiasm for the VO Charter School, some of the school staff have now given out “mixed messages” to parents as intent to enroll forms are brought in. Stalling tactics are being used, to tighten time frames and increase pressure on Charter proponents to quit. Any dirty trick in the book is fair game, apparently.

    In other words, if the School Board can’t defeat the Charter School on the merits, whatever it takes to take it down is the order of the day. Move the target of reasons for denial of the Charter, obfuscate; stall; ask irrelevant and demeaning questions; confuse the issues if possible.

    High time for a CHANGE for the better. Either citizens override the decision to close VO, or perhaps citizens need to consider a recall petition of 4 members on the School Board who are out of touch with the community!

  6. Elaine Roberts Musser

    I know some have expressed concern that the VO Charter School will somehow damage other Davis schools fiscally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I attended the VO Charter School meeting last night, and was pleasantly surprised at its administrative structure. I think I am actually glad the School Board voted NO, so the Charter School proponents can appeal at the county level with its ORIGINAL CHARTER PROPOSAL. Now there will be no artificial stumbling blocks put in their way that could trip them up, if they didn’t somehow meet certain benchmarks.

    Each charter school develops its own governing body, comprised of parents and teachers. It is about time both these stakeholder groups had the opportunity for some serious and meaningful input into how school monies are spent and programs are run. Frankly, this entire fight is about FISCAL AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

    The School Board has threatened that if VO Charter School opens, they may have to close another elementary school. BRAVO! Then that second closed school can also become a Charter School, and start having some say in how their school is run as well.

    We have seen fiscal mismanagement run rampant for years at the school district, with complacent School Board members rubber stamping whatever the School District requests. Lone School Board members who have made responsible decisions are outvoted by a School Board majority with questionable motives.

    How many times have we seen elementary schools built within new residential developments – without any thought towards overall enrollment figures or whether school district funding is available to run ALL the Davis schools, figuring in the newly built ones as a necessary factor?

    Has anything of significance changed since new rules have been put in place – as anemic attempts to stem the fiscal bleeding from school district funds put towards useless projects or unnecessary personnel? I think not. The current School Board is going to waste more money on legal fees and staff time to fight the VO Charter School, than the very $300,000 they are whining about.

    This was never about the money, it was about the School Board’s ego… The current School Board, excepting one, did not want to admit the initial decision to close VO was a bad one. Their own Superintendant doesn’t even agree with the School Board majority’s decision to deny the Charter, nor does the Chair of the School Board itself.

    Expect to see certain members of the School Board backtrack on the illegal reason, now on record, for their denying the charter – the alleged $300,000 negative fiscal impact on other DJUSD schools. Their target of reasons will constantly move and the bar that the Charter School must jump over will keep being set higher and higher, to justify the School Board’s second bad decision – to deny the proposed VO Charter.

    There will be various complaints, none of which are appropriate justifications for denying the Charter (as have already been heard), such as:
    – How is the Charter School going to be BETTER than other Davis elementary schools (VO already is above other Davis elementary schools with respect to their EL program)?;
    – DJUSD books laying idle in closets because of declining enrollment cannot be used by Charter School students, so how are proponents of the Charter School going to pay for all brand new textbooks (a “loan” of these idle books somehow would be out of the question – the books must sit in a closet gathering dust bc that is what “the law” “requires”)?;
    – Why are the Charter School proponents backing off their promise to be technologically forward looking because they have not proved to the School Board that VO Charter School children are going to be given computers? (Give VO Charter proponents half a chance, and I will personally assist them with setting up a Techno U program!!!);
    – The 80 page Charter document written in complicated legalese was not translated into “Spanish” (I am an attorney, and believe you me, it would be hard enough for this document to be translated into plain English, let alone Spanish! Not to mention the need for other languages to cover the many other ethnic groups attending VO!), etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    When transparent excuses did not dampen community enthusiasm for the VO Charter School, some of the school staff have now given out “mixed messages” to parents as intent to enroll forms are brought in. Stalling tactics are being used, to tighten time frames and increase pressure on Charter proponents to quit. Any dirty trick in the book is fair game, apparently.

    In other words, if the School Board can’t defeat the Charter School on the merits, whatever it takes to take it down is the order of the day. Move the target of reasons for denial of the Charter, obfuscate; stall; ask irrelevant and demeaning questions; confuse the issues if possible.

    High time for a CHANGE for the better. Either citizens override the decision to close VO, or perhaps citizens need to consider a recall petition of 4 members on the School Board who are out of touch with the community!

  7. Elaine Roberts Musser

    I know some have expressed concern that the VO Charter School will somehow damage other Davis schools fiscally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I attended the VO Charter School meeting last night, and was pleasantly surprised at its administrative structure. I think I am actually glad the School Board voted NO, so the Charter School proponents can appeal at the county level with its ORIGINAL CHARTER PROPOSAL. Now there will be no artificial stumbling blocks put in their way that could trip them up, if they didn’t somehow meet certain benchmarks.

    Each charter school develops its own governing body, comprised of parents and teachers. It is about time both these stakeholder groups had the opportunity for some serious and meaningful input into how school monies are spent and programs are run. Frankly, this entire fight is about FISCAL AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

    The School Board has threatened that if VO Charter School opens, they may have to close another elementary school. BRAVO! Then that second closed school can also become a Charter School, and start having some say in how their school is run as well.

    We have seen fiscal mismanagement run rampant for years at the school district, with complacent School Board members rubber stamping whatever the School District requests. Lone School Board members who have made responsible decisions are outvoted by a School Board majority with questionable motives.

    How many times have we seen elementary schools built within new residential developments – without any thought towards overall enrollment figures or whether school district funding is available to run ALL the Davis schools, figuring in the newly built ones as a necessary factor?

    Has anything of significance changed since new rules have been put in place – as anemic attempts to stem the fiscal bleeding from school district funds put towards useless projects or unnecessary personnel? I think not. The current School Board is going to waste more money on legal fees and staff time to fight the VO Charter School, than the very $300,000 they are whining about.

    This was never about the money, it was about the School Board’s ego… The current School Board, excepting one, did not want to admit the initial decision to close VO was a bad one. Their own Superintendant doesn’t even agree with the School Board majority’s decision to deny the Charter, nor does the Chair of the School Board itself.

    Expect to see certain members of the School Board backtrack on the illegal reason, now on record, for their denying the charter – the alleged $300,000 negative fiscal impact on other DJUSD schools. Their target of reasons will constantly move and the bar that the Charter School must jump over will keep being set higher and higher, to justify the School Board’s second bad decision – to deny the proposed VO Charter.

    There will be various complaints, none of which are appropriate justifications for denying the Charter (as have already been heard), such as:
    – How is the Charter School going to be BETTER than other Davis elementary schools (VO already is above other Davis elementary schools with respect to their EL program)?;
    – DJUSD books laying idle in closets because of declining enrollment cannot be used by Charter School students, so how are proponents of the Charter School going to pay for all brand new textbooks (a “loan” of these idle books somehow would be out of the question – the books must sit in a closet gathering dust bc that is what “the law” “requires”)?;
    – Why are the Charter School proponents backing off their promise to be technologically forward looking because they have not proved to the School Board that VO Charter School children are going to be given computers? (Give VO Charter proponents half a chance, and I will personally assist them with setting up a Techno U program!!!);
    – The 80 page Charter document written in complicated legalese was not translated into “Spanish” (I am an attorney, and believe you me, it would be hard enough for this document to be translated into plain English, let alone Spanish! Not to mention the need for other languages to cover the many other ethnic groups attending VO!), etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    When transparent excuses did not dampen community enthusiasm for the VO Charter School, some of the school staff have now given out “mixed messages” to parents as intent to enroll forms are brought in. Stalling tactics are being used, to tighten time frames and increase pressure on Charter proponents to quit. Any dirty trick in the book is fair game, apparently.

    In other words, if the School Board can’t defeat the Charter School on the merits, whatever it takes to take it down is the order of the day. Move the target of reasons for denial of the Charter, obfuscate; stall; ask irrelevant and demeaning questions; confuse the issues if possible.

    High time for a CHANGE for the better. Either citizens override the decision to close VO, or perhaps citizens need to consider a recall petition of 4 members on the School Board who are out of touch with the community!

  8. Elaine Roberts Musser

    I know some have expressed concern that the VO Charter School will somehow damage other Davis schools fiscally. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I attended the VO Charter School meeting last night, and was pleasantly surprised at its administrative structure. I think I am actually glad the School Board voted NO, so the Charter School proponents can appeal at the county level with its ORIGINAL CHARTER PROPOSAL. Now there will be no artificial stumbling blocks put in their way that could trip them up, if they didn’t somehow meet certain benchmarks.

    Each charter school develops its own governing body, comprised of parents and teachers. It is about time both these stakeholder groups had the opportunity for some serious and meaningful input into how school monies are spent and programs are run. Frankly, this entire fight is about FISCAL AND EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

    The School Board has threatened that if VO Charter School opens, they may have to close another elementary school. BRAVO! Then that second closed school can also become a Charter School, and start having some say in how their school is run as well.

    We have seen fiscal mismanagement run rampant for years at the school district, with complacent School Board members rubber stamping whatever the School District requests. Lone School Board members who have made responsible decisions are outvoted by a School Board majority with questionable motives.

    How many times have we seen elementary schools built within new residential developments – without any thought towards overall enrollment figures or whether school district funding is available to run ALL the Davis schools, figuring in the newly built ones as a necessary factor?

    Has anything of significance changed since new rules have been put in place – as anemic attempts to stem the fiscal bleeding from school district funds put towards useless projects or unnecessary personnel? I think not. The current School Board is going to waste more money on legal fees and staff time to fight the VO Charter School, than the very $300,000 they are whining about.

    This was never about the money, it was about the School Board’s ego… The current School Board, excepting one, did not want to admit the initial decision to close VO was a bad one. Their own Superintendant doesn’t even agree with the School Board majority’s decision to deny the Charter, nor does the Chair of the School Board itself.

    Expect to see certain members of the School Board backtrack on the illegal reason, now on record, for their denying the charter – the alleged $300,000 negative fiscal impact on other DJUSD schools. Their target of reasons will constantly move and the bar that the Charter School must jump over will keep being set higher and higher, to justify the School Board’s second bad decision – to deny the proposed VO Charter.

    There will be various complaints, none of which are appropriate justifications for denying the Charter (as have already been heard), such as:
    – How is the Charter School going to be BETTER than other Davis elementary schools (VO already is above other Davis elementary schools with respect to their EL program)?;
    – DJUSD books laying idle in closets because of declining enrollment cannot be used by Charter School students, so how are proponents of the Charter School going to pay for all brand new textbooks (a “loan” of these idle books somehow would be out of the question – the books must sit in a closet gathering dust bc that is what “the law” “requires”)?;
    – Why are the Charter School proponents backing off their promise to be technologically forward looking because they have not proved to the School Board that VO Charter School children are going to be given computers? (Give VO Charter proponents half a chance, and I will personally assist them with setting up a Techno U program!!!);
    – The 80 page Charter document written in complicated legalese was not translated into “Spanish” (I am an attorney, and believe you me, it would be hard enough for this document to be translated into plain English, let alone Spanish! Not to mention the need for other languages to cover the many other ethnic groups attending VO!), etc., etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    When transparent excuses did not dampen community enthusiasm for the VO Charter School, some of the school staff have now given out “mixed messages” to parents as intent to enroll forms are brought in. Stalling tactics are being used, to tighten time frames and increase pressure on Charter proponents to quit. Any dirty trick in the book is fair game, apparently.

    In other words, if the School Board can’t defeat the Charter School on the merits, whatever it takes to take it down is the order of the day. Move the target of reasons for denial of the Charter, obfuscate; stall; ask irrelevant and demeaning questions; confuse the issues if possible.

    High time for a CHANGE for the better. Either citizens override the decision to close VO, or perhaps citizens need to consider a recall petition of 4 members on the School Board who are out of touch with the community!

  9. Anonymous

    “Last night at the Valley Oak multipurpose room, around 60 parents, teachers, and community members gathered braving the cold driving rains on a Saturday Night to show their support for the ongoing Valley Oak Charter effort and to find out the next steps.”

  10. Anonymous

    “Last night at the Valley Oak multipurpose room, around 60 parents, teachers, and community members gathered braving the cold driving rains on a Saturday Night to show their support for the ongoing Valley Oak Charter effort and to find out the next steps.”

  11. Anonymous

    “Last night at the Valley Oak multipurpose room, around 60 parents, teachers, and community members gathered braving the cold driving rains on a Saturday Night to show their support for the ongoing Valley Oak Charter effort and to find out the next steps.”

  12. Anonymous

    “Last night at the Valley Oak multipurpose room, around 60 parents, teachers, and community members gathered braving the cold driving rains on a Saturday Night to show their support for the ongoing Valley Oak Charter effort and to find out the next steps.”

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