School Board holds hearing on renewal petition for Antioch Charter Academy I

Now in it’s 20th year.

By Allen Payton

At their March 28th meeting, the Antioch School Board received and held a public hearing regarding the petition renewal for Antioch Charter Academy I for 2018-23. Antioch Charter Academy I Petition Renewal 2018-23

According to the district staff report, “A petition was delivered to the District office seeking renewal of the Antioch Charter Academy I Charter for a five (5) year term from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2023.   To commence the renewal petition process Trustees received the renewal petition.”

The existing Charter for the Antioch Charter Academy I Charter School expires June 30, 2018.  The petition submitted to the District seeks renewal of the Charter for a five (5) year term from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2023.  Pursuant to Education Code section 47605, the District’s Board of Trustees is required to hold a public hearing to consider the level of support for the renewal of the Charter. The public hearing is an information item only and the Board decision regarding the renewal petition will be agendized for action at the April 25, 2018, meeting.

Education Code section 47607(a) provides that a charter school authorizer may grant one or more subsequent charter renewals and each renewal shall be for a period of five years. Charter renewals are governed by the standards and criteria in Education Code section 47605 and renewal petitions shall include a reasonably comprehensive description of any new requirements of charter schools enacted into law since the charter was originally granted or last renewed.

In addition, according to Education Code section 47607(b), in order for a charter school to be eligible for renewal, it must have satisfied at least one of the academic performance criteria for renewal listed in that section, and when evaluating a renewal petition, the authorizer must consider increases in pupil academic achievement for all groups of pupils served by the charter school as the most important factor in determining whether to grant the charter renewal. (Ed. Code § 47607(a)(3)(A).)  Also, when considering a renewal petition, the authorizer’s governing board “shall consider the past performance of the charter school’s academics, finances, and operation in evaluating the likelihood of future success, along with future plans for improvement if any.”

Todd Heller provided the presentation saying, “I am a co-administrator and financial director of Antioch Charter Academy and Charter Academy II. It’s hard to believe this is our 20th year of operation. It’s come a long way since the first year…with 75 students at St. George’s. We’ve moved twice.”

“We’ve received WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation and started a second school,” he continued and mentioned “low teacher turnover and high student retention rates. Currently we serve TK-8 and have a waiting list of 1,000 students.”

He mentioned that Antioch Charter Academy II was renewed last year.

Heller also said the school meets all the renewal criteria.

The Hispanic population of the school increased, while the white enrollment has decreased, he mentioned.

“We do draw from all over the county,” Heller added.

Three people spoke in favor of renewing the charter petition, including board members, referred to as “Charter Council Members”, Julie Haas-Wajdowicz and Sarah McLean, as well as Edna Heller, Todd’s wife and co-administrator who said, “we’ve been innovating for 20 years.”

Only one speaker named Julia spoke against the charter because “it’s a fraud. A scam.”

“When you give money to charter or parents you’re not giving the money out of your own pocket or wallet. You’re using the taxpayer money,” she said. “Charter parents must provide for their own financial needs. I’m going to ask you to stop all charter schools. Use charter funds to improve Antioch schools by reducing class sizes. Please do not renew the Charter I school.”

The Board decision regarding the renewal petition will be agendized for the April 25, 2018, Board meeting within 60 days of the Board’s receipt in compliance with state law.

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Antioch Charter Academy I Petition Renewal 2018-23
Antioch Charter Academy I Petition Renewal 2018-23


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