On March 15, the Antioch Unified School District sent out a letter to further clarify information bout Dozier-Libbey Medical High School’s petition to become a Charter school and how it impacts the students of the Antioch Unified School District.
On March 10, they sent out an original set of Q&A which we posted (click here).
Here is a copy of the letter:
Date March 15
This letter is to clarify information about Dozier-Libbey Medical High School’s petition to become a Charter school and how it impacts the students of the Antioch Unified School District.
As Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District it is my responsibility to ensure that all of our schools are accessible to all Antioch Unified School District students. It is through the District that our community has an opportunity to monitor and ensure that all of our schools are accessible to all students. If this charter petition is approved choices and options for our students would be severely restricted. According to the charter petition on pages 87-88 if a random drawing for admissions is necessary the admission preferences shall be given to the following students in the following order:
- All students currently enrolled in the Charter School
- Siblings of enrolled students
- Children of Charter School teachers and staff
- Children who reside in the former attendance area
- Residents of the District
- All other applicants
Answers to questions raised about the conversion charter petition filed by 23 teachers at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School.
Q: Why do some Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) staff want to break away from the District and convert the school into a charter school operated by a corporation?
A. A small group of staff at DLMHS (“petitioners”) submitted a petition to the District to convert DLMHS to a charter school to be operated by a non-profit corporation. According to their petition, the petitioners want “to gain autonomy and go back to the original vision of the school’s founding, and continue to build their program as originally intended.” The petition also claims the school’s vision was eroded when the District required Dozier-Libbey to follow Board grading policies applicable to all other District secondary schools. The petitioners want to eliminate the D grade from their grading system. Students earning a D for their work receive a grade of F for the course. District policy requires students to receive the grade they earn and giving a student a grade of F when the student earned a D is an unfair practice. This policy of not giving students the grade earned is bad for all students and has a disparate impact on certain groups of students served at the school. Additionally, the petitioners propose to require all students to take advanced courses that are not required for graduation at other District secondary schools, but that action may further exclude students interested in the medical curriculum offered at the school.
Q: Was the District aware of or involved in this charter petition as it was being developed?
A: No. The staff at DLMHS met privately behind closed doors to write this proposal and gather signatures from staff without the District’s knowledge or involvement. They never approached District leaders to see if their differences could be addressed without moving to a charter. Without any transparency in their process, it came as a complete surprise when it was delivered to the District on February 24, 2014.
Q. If the conversion charter petition is approved, will Dozier-Libbey still be part of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD)?
A. No, the petitioners have filed to become a ‘conversion’ charter school operated by a non-profit corporation separate from the Antioch Unified School District. Additionally, if approved, the District will most likely be required to surrender use of its facility to the corporation.
Q. If the conversion charter petition is approved, can my son/daughter still participate in AUSD extracurricular activities?
A. No. Students of the conversion charter school would not be eligible to participate in the District’s athletic teams or other extracurricular activities.
Q: It appears the charter application builds in an ongoing annual 3% pay raise for teachers. Is that what the rest of AUSD teachers will be getting for the next five years?
A: All of their colleagues in other AUSD schools are not guaranteed a pay raise as the District and teachers negotiate pay according to the collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, building in a multi-year raise is a fiscally unsound business practice as school funding changes are determined by enrollment and, specifically, the number of low income, foster, homeless, and English learners attending the school.
Q: Is it true that nearly 85% of the staff that petitioned to become a charter are not residents of Antioch?
Q: What is the District Administration’s position regarding the Dozier conversion charter petition?
A: The District Administration does not believe that the petitioners’ effort to convert Dozier-Libbey to a charter school is good for the school and community. The entire conversion process and the way it was conducted by a small group of petitioners who do not live in this community has divided teachers within the District and caused a substantial disruption to the educational environment at the school. Dozier-Libbey is a California Distinguished school due to the leadership and vision exhibited by the Board of Trustees and District Administration in making the school a reality, the commitment to excellence exhibited by Dozier-Libbey’s teachers, and the exceptional efforts of its hard working students. The District Administration believes that maintaining an inclusive school environment at Dozier-Libbey benefits ALL students in the community.
Q: When will we know if the charter petition is approved or denied?
A: The District is currently preparing a legal analysis and will present its findings to the AUSD Board of Education at a special Board meeting on March 19, 2014, for approval or denial. This is also the date of the public hearing wherein parents, community members and staff can voice their support or opposition to the charter petition.