Antioch School Board denial sends Dozier-Libbey teachers’ charter conversion petition to County Board of Education

Antioch, CA – March 20, 2014 – Teachers at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School in Antioch are submitting their petition to convert to a public charter school to the Contra Costa County Board of Education as part of an anticipated appeal process following Wednesday night’s denial of their conversion charter petition by their own Antioch Unified School District (AUSD).

On Wednesday, following the recommendations of AUSD leadership, the district’s board of trustees unanimously voted to deny Dozier-Libbey’s petition to convert to a public charter school. This move effectively removes any authority that AUSD would have maintained over the converted charter school as its authorizing agent. If the petition is approved by the county board, Dozier-Libbey will become a charter school under the authority of this body, and will pay a portion of its state funding to the county board rather than to AUSD.

AUSD’s board of trustees also voted last night to approve the school district’s counter petition to create a “start-up” charter on Dozier-Libbey’s current campus. The district petition, filed two days ago, was signed primarily by teachers from Antioch High School who have expressed an interest in coming to work at the new start-up charter. In accordance with the Charter Schools Act (CSA), student enrollment for the start-up charter would have to be reopened at all grade levels, in effect disestablishing the old Dozier-Libbey Medical High School and creating a new one.

The district’s counter petition, approved by the school board, appears to be an attempt to circumvent state law and create a de facto conversion charter with a new staff. By AUSD’s own admission, the petition is designed to mire Dozier-Libbey’s status as a charter in the courts for “possibly months or years.” The petition will likely be challenged by attorneys representing the original petitioners at Dozier-Libbey in the coming days.

Dozier-Libbey staffers are confident that when the conversion charter petition is eventually approved, AUSD, or if necessary the courts, will act in the best interest of the students of Antioch and allow this new charter school to continue providing innovative educational opportunities unmolested by unnecessary litigation.

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