Re: Dbyates on CA Charter Schools

Dbyates@aol.com
Mon, 3 Feb 1997 13:28:59 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 2/2/97 6:46:39 PM, quester@eskimo.com (Charles) wrote:

>You mean if we want to convert School A, whose staff is wholly opposed to
>the idea, we need only trot over to School B, get 51% of its teachers to
>sign, and we can then force conversion on School A?

The law says, and I quote:

"A petition for the establishment of a charter school within any school
district may be circulated by any one or more persons seeking to establish
the charter school. After the petition has been signed bynot less than 10
percent of the teachers currently employed by the school district, or by not
less than 50 percent of the teachers currently employed at one school of th
district, it may be submitted to the governing board of the school district
for review." [my original statement about this said "a" school rather than
"one" but the result is the same.

>I doubt this is what the law means. I sure hope it isn't. What a
>disaster that would be!

In actual practice, you are correct. I have never heard of anyone forcing a
particular school to change over by getting a vote somewhere else. In fact, I
believe that most districts have used the 10% rule. The 50% would be used
mainly to open a new school rather than convert an old one. Actually most
schools have been conversions and the teachers and asministrators vote for it
because it greatly reduces administration overhead in both time and money and
because it allows freedom in curriculum and in many other areas. In every
case the petition only allows the charter to be submitted for review. It does
not guarantee it's acceptance. However, it is my sense from watching all this
that the law was written this way to make it very possible to open new
charters and to have them opened by people not currently in the system, hence
the wording that "any one or more persons" can initiate the action. In the
case of San Carlos the whole process was initiated by the Superintendent of
the district because he saw the chance to have a school in which he could do
research and development that the education code would not allow. The
teachers in the district supported this approach.

Don Yates