Watchdog: Dozier-Libbey charter battle
I have a bone to pick with Antioch Unified School District Board Members (Joy Motts, Board President who recently put discussion of approving an anti-Prop. 13 Resolution before the Board, Gary Hack, Barbara Cowan, Diane Gibson-Gray and Claire Smith), as well as Mayor Wade Harper who audaciously stated at the March 19th School Board meeting that he represents ALL the citizens of citizens of Antioch and can’t support the Dozier-Libbey Medical High School independent conversion charter petition because he feels it’s divisive. How dare he make a statement like that. He doesn’t represent me and I’ve been a taxpaying resident since 1986.
I admit, however, that the issue is divisive because as soon as the teachers of Dozier-Libbey Medical High, frustrated by diverging philosophies between the AUSD board and site staff, filed a petition to convert to an independent charter school like Clayton Valley AUSD filed a counter petition to make Dozier-Libbey a dependent charter governed by the school district and has now posted information in regard to both charter petitions on it’s web site. At least one of the statements is incorrect e.g. it was not a small group of staff at DLMHS who submitted the petition, it was 23 of the schools 26 teachers.
According to California’s Charter Schools ACT, enacted in 1992 and amended in 1996, charter schools provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils and community members to establish schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure, as a method of accomplishing the following: Improved pupil learning (AUSD not only failed to meet the state API score of 800 in 2013, it dropped 6 points), increased learning opportunities for all pupils with special emphasis on expanding learning for academically low achieving pupils, encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods, create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site, provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system, hold charter schools responsible for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide schools with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems.
In addition to misinformation, the school district is also trying hard to scare parents by stating that, if the independent charter petition is approved, students would not be eligible to participate in the District’s athletic teams or other extracurricular activities. Why? Even as an independent charter Dozier-Libbey will remain an Antioch public school, just under a different operating board. It’s true that AUSD would retain control of all its athletic facilities outside the Dozier-Libbey campus and will be able to decide whether to continue the existing multi-school agreement with DLMHS. However, DLMHS has already offered to pick up its share of the costs of athletic programs its students participate in, as well as continue to handle liability and transcript issues. (DLMHS has researched CIF and NCS regulations and there’s no good reason to exclude their students from AUSD sports programs they currently participate in). Why penalize students whose parents, like I, who never had a child in an Antioch school, are paying AUSD property taxes and assessments. Could the answer be spite?