Antioch School District responds to Dozier-Libbey teachers’ recent press release

From the Office of Associate Superintendent, Stephanie Anello in collaboration with Louie Rocha, Principal Antioch High School and Kenneth Gardner, Principal Deer Valley High School

The Antioch Unified School District is once again forced to respond to misinformation from the petitioners attempting to convert Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) to an Independent Charter School. On Friday, April 4, after the Superior Court denied the petitioner’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), inaccurate information was sent to parents and media through a press release. The District wishes to respond to this misinformation:

Misinformation #1:

The petitioners’ press release states that the Dozier Independent Charter Petitioners, “won a small victory in the Superior Court of Contra Costa County when the Honorable Judge Laurel Brady agreed that demands being made by the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), with the regard to a questionable counter charter proposal, were unreasonable.”

Fact:

On Thursday April 03, 2014, the conversion petitioners’ lawyers with barely 24-hours’ notice to the District filed for a TRO against the District and Associate Superintendent Stephanie Anello and Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill.

The petitioners sought to restrain the Dozier–Libbey Medical High School-Dependent Charter School (DLMHS-DCS) from using the name Dozier-Libbey, and from enrolling students and hiring staff to work at the lawfully approved dependent charter school.

The application for the TRO was heard on Friday, April 04, 2014 at the Superior Court of Contra Costa County in Martinez. The Honorable Judge Laurel Brady refused to grant the TRO, due to her need for more time to review the “complexity” of the case, and instead postponed the matter to a full hearing on April 28, 2014

Until the hearing, the Judge requested the District extend the deadline for students and staff to express interest in attending and working at the new dependent charter school until April 28, 2014.

The District agreed to do so. At no time did the judge say that the Dependent Charter was “unreasonable” in its effort to launch this new start-up charter. The Judge also confirmed DLMHS-DCS is not restrained from continuing with its activities.

Misinformation #2:

The petitioners’ press release states, “The process to convert the Dozier Libbey into a public charter school was greatly confused last month, apparently deliberately so, when the district filed and approved its own petition to convert the high-performing medical pathway school into a district-dependent charter school, immediately after denying the original independent charter petition submitted by the faculty of Dozier Libbey Medical High School.”

Fact:

The District has not and will not deliberately confuse our parents and staff! The fact that the petitioners met in secret without involving students, parents, and the community in their plans is what caused confusion. Continued misleading information such as the press release sent out on Friday April 4th continues to confuse students, their parents, and the community.

Misinformation #3:

The petitioners’ press release states, “The legality of the district’s petition is highly suspect as the district was unable to obtain a single signature from Dozier Libbey faculty (California Ed Code requires concurrence of 50% of the current teachers plus one). A preliminary injunction request has been filed with the court against AUSD on behalf of the students, parents, and faculty of Dozier Libbey Medical High School, the hearing for which is set on April 28th.”

Fact:

The DLMHS-DCS petitioners did not file a ‘conversion’ charter petition, they filed a “start-up charter petition” to form a charter school that supports and enhances the current DLMHS. The teacher signature requirements for a “start-up” petition are different in that they may be signed by any teacher “meaningfully interested” in working at the school. It is interesting to note that the dependent charter petition contained 127 teacher signatures “meaningfully interested” in working at the school–nearly six times the number of signatures in support of the independent, conversion charter petition.

Misinformation #4:

The petitioners’ press release states, “Pending this hearing, the judge has ordered the district to withdraw its demand that parents enroll their children in the district’s dependent charter by April 7. The district has repeatedly admonished parents that in failing to do so parents will risk losing their spot at the school next year. The judge further ordered that the district withdraw its demand that Dozier Libbey teachers commit to employment at the district dependent charter by the close of business today, or risk termination.”

Fact:

Judge Brady did not order the District to withdraw any “demand.” Rather, Judge Brady extended the time frame for students to express interest in enrolling in the new DLMHS-DCS. She never used the words “rescind” or “withdraw”. She asked the District to extend the deadline and the District agreed.

Following the approval of the new DLMHS-DCS, parents and community members currently enrolled at DLMHS continued to ask for assurances that their children could attend the new DLMHS-DCS. The District sent out a letter to these parents first granting them a spot if they so choose. Starting a new school takes a lot of planning and hiring so knowing how many students would enroll in the new school was a crucial and necessary first step.

Additionally, the District sent out a letter to current DLMHS staff asking if they would be interested in working at the new start-up DLMHS-DCS prior to opening the positions for transfer according to the Antioch Education Association (AEA) bargaining contract. At no time were staff told they would be terminated. Proponents of the independent charter appear to have misinformed students and parents.

Misinformation #5:

The petitioners’ press release states, “Although the district’s charter was initially described in public hearing as a new start–up charter, AUSD has since announced via social media that its charter will replace the current Dozier Libbey Medical High School. The district has not yet provided legal justification for how it would accomplish what would appear to be a clear violation of both California Education Code and the Charter School Act of 1992.”

Fact:

The District has not announced via social media that the DLMHS-DCS would replace DLMHS. DLMHS-DCS will enhance and support the current curriculum and supports provided by DLMHS. Once the community advisory committee comprised of parents, community, and staff is established, enhancements such as a dual immersion medical courses, an opportunity for students to receive a seal of bi-literacy, or a middle college opportunity will be discussed.

Misinformation #6:

The petitioners’ press release states, “Supporters of the Dozier-Libbey believe that the court, like much of the Antioch community, will take a dim view of the school district’s attempt, with great expenditure of public funds, to confuse the issue of the school’s legal conversion to a public charter school.”

Fact:

The community has voiced little to no support for the independent, conversion charter petition submitted by the 23 Dozier Libbey Medical High School teachers. In fact, at the public hearing before the Board of Education on March 19, 2014, parents and community members expressed their overwhelming disapproval of the petition to convert DLMHS into an independent charter school.

The petitioners’ press release did get one thing right —the District has been forced to use money and resources that should be going to 18,000 students in order to respond to the unsupported and unnecessary actions of 23 petitioners.

 ———–

Following is the complete press release from the teachers organizing the Dozier-Libbey independent charter conversion:

Antioch Unified School District Ordered to Rescind Dependent Charter Deadlines

Martinez, CA – April 4, 2014 – This morning the students, parents, and teachers of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, fighting to convert their school to an independent public charter school, won a small victory in the Superior Court of Contra Costa County when the Honorable Judge Laurel Brady agreed that demands being made by the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), with regard to a questionable counter charter proposal, were unreasonable. 

The process to convert Dozier-Libbey into a public charter school was greatly confused last month, apparently deliberately so, when the district filed and approved its own petition to convert the high-performing medical pathway school into a district-dependent charter school, immediately after denying the original independent charter petition submitted by the faculty of Dozier-Libbey.  The legality of the district’s petition is highly suspect, as the district was unable to obtain a single signature from Dozier-Libbey faculty (California Ed Code requires concurrence of 50% of the current teachers plus one).  A preliminary injunction request has been filed with the court against AUSD on behalf of the students, parents, and faculty of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School , the hearing for which is set on April 28th. 

Pending this hearing, the judge has ordered the district to withdraw its demand that parents enroll their children in the district’s dependent charter by April 7.  The district has repeatedly admonished parents that in failing to do so parents will risk losing their spot at the school next year.  The judge further ordered that the district withdraw its demand that Dozier-Libbey teachers commit to employment at the district dependent charter by the close of business today, or risk termination.

The teachers of Dozier-Libbey filed a petition last February, in accordance with the charter schools section of the California Education Code, to convert their school to a public charter governed by a school board that would be independent of AUSD’s board of trustees.  The teachers’ 121-page petition presents a strong case for significantly improving academic programs and fiscal management at this respected pathway school, however AUSD denied the petition last month, prompting teachers to file an appeal with the Contra Costa County Board of Education.  The school district took the additional step of approving its own charter petition for Dozier-Libbey that would leave the school under the governing authority of the AUSD board.  Although the district’s charter was initially described in public hearing as a new start-up charter, AUSD has since announced via social media that its charter will replace the current Dozier-Libbey Medical High School .  The district has not yet provided legal justification for how it would accomplish what would appear to be a clear violation of both California Education Code and the Charter School Act of 1992. 

Supporters of Dozier-Libbey believe that the court, like much of the Antioch community, will take a dim view of the school district’s attempt, with great expenditure of public funds, to confuse the issue of the school’s legal conversion to a public charter school. 

The case pending before the Contra Costa Superior Court is Dozier-Libbey Medical High School et al. v. Antioch Unified School District, et al. (Case No. CIVMSN14-0453).  A ruling is scheduled for 9:00am on April 28th.  Updated information can be found online at DozierLibbeyCharter.com.

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11 Comments to “Antioch School District responds to Dozier-Libbey teachers’ recent press release”

  1. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    AUSD is acting like the same immature, disrespectful, dumb kids they teach at DVHS.

  2. Ann O'Nim says:

    Talk about misinformation. AUSD states that the teachers who signed were meaningfully interested in teaching at the “dependent” charter. This is a LIE. I spoke to a Deer Valley teacher who said their Principal, Ken Gardner, called a special faculty meeting and urged teachers to sign, promising them if they signed the petition they WOULD NOT have to teach there. AUSD misleading the public again!

  3. Ann says:

    Lies, Lies, and more Lies AUSD!
    Fact #1: While the District may have agreed to extend the deadline of receiving signed letters back from the parents, it is interesting that your District employees collecting the letters yesterday had no idea of the extension until mid-day and continued to inform parents that the letters of intent were due yesterday.
    Fact #2: You are confusing students and staff purposely. The Dependent Charter was created to do just that and slow down the Independent Charter. A District employee stated that in the second half of the special District meeting in March.
    Fact #3 As stated above, the Principals at Antioch and Deer Valley strongly urged their teachers to sign the petition and in some cases Distict suits stood by while they watched the teachers sign.
    Fact #4 The District may have agreed to extending the teacher and student commitment until April 28, but the District did not communicate this extension to anyone and District employees continued to tell parents that the deadline was April 7 both at the school and on the phone yesterday, April 7. Wasnt’ the hearing on April 4?
    Fact #5 The District boasts a community advisory committee that will guide the school in its decisions and that parents will have a greater role of providing input into this new Dependent Charter. Funny, then why is a new principal for the Dependent Charter being decided upon at a closed door meeting of the School Board tomorrow night? Where is the community input? Where are the parents?
    Fact #6 Who do you refer to as the community when referring to the Dependend Charter support? When I look down the speaker list, all I see are District employees (mainly administrators) who did not own up to that, but paraded around as concerned citizens. When I looked at the support for the Independent Charter, I saw a large group of people speaking equal to the number of District employees standing on the other side. And don’t discount the fact that there were a large number of students speaking. My student would not have been allowed to speak if I did not support the Independent Charter. My child would not have been driven to that meeting by me if I did not believe that what the teachers were doing was in the best interest of the students.
    Oh, and by the way, the Independent Charter will be a public school, not a private one as one of your lead petitioners so wrongly stated in writing on social media.
    Who is misleading the public? As I say to my children, take that finger you are pointing and point it right back at yourselves.

  4. disgusted says:

    The Staff and Teachers of AUSD against the Independent charter need to really quit while they are ahead. The more I read these articles, the more disgusted I get with the entire district. Let the court’s decide in the best interest of the kids/school and stop telling lies and try to confuse the parents more with your lash outs everytime something positive goes out to the DLMHS teachers. The fact that AUSD tried to scare parents into signing forms or their our kids currently enrolled at DLMHS would be kicked out is true, I reluctantly signed it out of fear and regret it now. I should have contacted my lawyer instead! Ridiculous acts in your part AUSD! Way to go, instead of winning this battle, you are incriminating yourselves more!! I really hope you loose this battle, and Ms. Anello, good luck in getting my vote in anything you do anymore, you are a disappointment to the community!

  5. Julie says:

    No one is forcing you to respond. That is your choice. Since you so willingly extended the intent to attend deadline from April 7 to April 28, why did you not send out an automated phone call to the parents on Friday to let them know of this change? If you want to be transparent, then I think that would have been the thing to do. The confusion is caused by the AUSD not by the teachers. As soon as you put a dependent charter petition on the table and placed a gag order on the teachers, you caused the confusion. If you are so sure that parents, students, and the community would not support an independent charter, then why did you silence the teachers? Why did you send out letters to the parents threatening no sports and leave messages on our voice mail saying if no response by April 7, our children will not be able to attend Dozier in the 2014-2015 school year? You told parents at Dozier that they were trespassing and needed to leave then almost immediately set up your own table in the same spot. It is because you, AUSD, are muddying the waters. Most of the parents and “community” you speak about who “overwhelming disapproval of the petition to convert…” are also Antioch Unified School District employees and members of the NAACP. If you open your eyes and ears, let the teachers speak, listen to the parents and the students of Dozier, you will see that there is tremendous support to convert the school to an independent charter. When I called the District, as soon as it was realized I supported the teachers, the District employee was rude, belligerent and continued to talk over my comments. She did not even want to understand where I was coming from. I am a tax paying citizen and have had children in AUSD for the last 10 years and I am disappointed in the District and how they have handled this situation. You became the bully but we will not back down. I am in it for as long as I need to be to make sure that my children get the education they deserve and need to be productive citizens. Again, no one is forcing you to use money and resources. That is your choice. Dozier-Libbey Independent Medical High School is supported and it is necessary.

  6. Anna Morris says:

    There are always two sides to a battle and any truthful clarification is greatly appreciated. Antioch Unified School District has put itself under a great big microscope for all to examine and carefully watch. I don’t think they would do anything that is fraudulent, corrupt, discriminatory, or unlawful, as it will be uncovered and discovered.

  7. Dozier parent for the Independent Charter says:

    1. Lies, Lies, and more Lies AUSD!
    Fact #1: While the District may have agreed to extend the deadline of receiving signed letters back from the parents, it is interesting that your District employees collecting the letters yesterday had no idea of the extension until mid-day and continued to inform parents that the letters of intent were due yesterday.

    Fact #2: You are confusing students and staff purposely. The Dependent Charter was created to do just that and slow down the Independent Charter. A District employee stated that in the second half of the special District meeting in March.

    Fact #3 As stated above, the Principals at Antioch and Deer Valley strongly urged their teachers to sign the petition and in some cases Distict suits stood by while they watched the teachers sign.

    Fact #4 The District may have agreed to extending the teacher and student commitment until April 28, but the District did not communicate this extension to anyone and District employees continued to tell parents that the deadline was April 7 both at the school and on the phone yesterday, April 7. Wasnt’ the hearing on April 4?

    Fact #5 The District boasts a community advisory committee that will guide the school in its decisions and that parents will have a greater role of providing input into this new Dependent Charter. Funny, then why is a new principal for the Dependent Charter being decided upon at a closed door meeting of the School Board tomorrow night? Where is the community input? Where are the parents?

    Fact #6 Who do you refer to as the community when referring to the Dependend Charter support? When I look down the speaker list, all I see are District employees (mainly administrators) who did not own up to that, but paraded around as concerned citizens. When I looked at the support for the Independent Charter, I saw a large group of people speaking equal to the number of District employees standing on the other side. And don’t discount the fact that there were a large number of students speaking. My student would not have been allowed to speak if I did not support the Independent Charter. My child would not have been driven to that meeting by me if I did not believe that what the teachers were doing was in the best interest of the students.

    Oh, and by the way, the Independent Charter will be a public school, not a private one as one of your lead petitioners so wrongly stated in writing on social media.

    Who is misleading the public? As I say to my children, when you accuse and point your finger at someone, 4 fingers are pointing back at you.

  8. Dozier Libbey parent says:

    The District is most definitely confusing and misleading the public with their proposed “dependent” charter that came right after the teacher’s petition for a charter. They’ve silenced the teachers from talking, scared all the parents into signing their petition, and now they’re spending thousands to stop the independent charter. Mr. Gill said this evening that to staff full-time librarians at each school in the District, it would cost $400,000.00 How much is the District spending on legal fees, banners, and mailings to force their dependent charter on us? You could have given us the librarians if you really cared about the students!

  9. dotherightthing says:

    The AUSD leadership from Dr. Gill on through the administrative staff at the district level and those administrative staff at the school levels as well as the AUSD Board of Education members need to leave Dozier-Libby School and its students, parents of students and the existing staff to work out their independent Charter School issue. It seems to me that under the leadership of the Board of Education “elected persons” and Dr. Gill, etal the administrative team on down to the school level should be addressing more important and very crucial issues in other schools within the AUSD. There is a junior high school that has terrible student behavior problems exacerbated by high teacher turn-over, absenteeism, perhaps associated with weak or uncollaborative admisintrative leadership?? Who knows why this is a continuing issue and why a special paid person from outside the District was paid and sent to “observe” the situation. Excuse me, each Board of Education person should have had their personal bodies at the school, getting facts, showing concern. Dr. Gill, I cannot understand why you would not lead these “elected” board members to do their job of truly concerning themselves with the education that is happening for all students in all schools throughout the AUSD. We shouldn’t be running a “corporate, top down, power enforcement agency in AUSD. Each AUSD School Board member and the Administrative leadership should be focusing on what and why is going wrong in other schools in the district. Learn from the successes of Dozier Libby and collaborate with the teaching staffs of all other schools in AUSD to support those staffs in successful teaching practices for improvement of their campuses. I know that there are very functional schools that really care about the child as a learner. I am also aware of some schools that have sent a message to staff that they’ed better get those scores produced and that’s it! Education is in a crises because of the mentality of leadership from the very top, down. I believe that the teachers at Libbey Dozier are empowered to teach, educate and set each and every student on the path to success and responsibility despite their background. I know this because I served as an education advocate for two students who attended LDCS. I saw that there were no excuses, but there was support and collaboration and many opportunities to be successful.

    Dr. Gill,School Board, turn your attention to what is NOT working in this school district and let what is working, continue to do so, PLEASE!

    • DAPA Class of 2012 Mom says:

      Do The Right Thing: BRAVO!
      It is very sad to see this dejavu of Delta Academy for the Performing Arts. As a parent of DAPA when it had its own campus, the students gained so much. As 20-year-olds this year, they are mature beyond their years and we are so proud. I know this was due, in part, to the dedicated teachers and administrators that modelled behavior examples, the village that my strong-willed child needed to grow. To this day, there are memories of positive character influences by teachers, that, help her deal with life’s blows or situations in relationships, work and personal life. And I see it in her fellow graduates.
      I wish the independent charter all the light and support. Because it takes relentless pursuit to fight for the student in this District. Delta Academy became something else when it was moved by the District to DVHS. It required support to thrive and that support dwindled, and it was even undermined. Promises to administration were never kept. Yes, we know exactly what it means to take away administrative leadership whose vision was the motivation that kept kids in school, even after hours, engaged and productive. DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO DOZIER LIBBEY HS! FIGHT ON!

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