Counter charter petition for Dozier-Libbey filed by district officials

By John Crowder

A petition to form a “dependent charter school” was announced by Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) officials at a meeting held last night in the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) multi-purpose room. The petition is a response to one that had been filed by current teachers at DLMHS last month. The petition was submitted jointly by Antioch High School principal Louie Rocha, Deer Valley High School Principal Kenneth Gardner, and Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

In a news release sent out today, Dr. Donald Gill, AUSD Superintendent, said, “The 23 teachers who signed the independent charter petition want to convert one of our highest performing public high schools into a completely independent school separated from AUSD. Dozier-Libbey was created through the ingenuity and close collaboration of the entire Antioch community. We see it as a community asset that should be accessible to every family and type of student in Antioch. The independent conversion charter reflects a policy of exclusion, while the dependent proposal is one of inclusion.”

According to the district’s press release, “The dependent charter petition was submitted to the District as a direct response to countless concerns voiced by parents and staff vehemently opposing the independent conversion charter petition. Since the surprise February 24 announcement that teachers at DLMHS had submitted the conversion charter petition parents have become increasingly anxious and confused about the possible negative impact of the move on students and the school district.”

The release also listed several reasons for putting forward a counter-petition. These included expanding opportunities for parental involvement, fostering an academic environment inclusive of all students, and the continuation of eligibility to participate in District sports teams.

Since the announcement of the charter petition signed by the DLMHS teachers, emotions have been running hot. Advocates on both sides of the issue spoke out passionately at the AUSD board meeting held last Wednesday.

The AUSD board is scheduled to meet in special session to consider both meetings on Wednesday, March 19th, at 6:00 p.m. in the John Muir Elementary School Multiurpose Room, 615 Greystone Drive in Antioch.

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