Letters: Former Antioch Mayor and School Board Member Rocha wants reconsideration of approval for East Bay Tech charter academies

Dear Editor:

At the Antioch Unified School Board of Education meeting held on May 9th, against the advice of staff and legal counsel, AUSD Board Members Crystal Sawyer-White, Debra Vinson, and Walter Ruehlig voted to approve East Bay Tech High School Charter (EBTHS) and East Bay Tech Middle School Charter (EBTMS) with the following conditions: “Delegate the Superintendent to negotiate the MOU that addresses the Findings of Facts included in Resolution No. 2017-18-9, including the revised budget, SPED and operations, by June 18th”.  Despite legal counsel concerns and Board Member Gibson-Gray pointing out that there was nothing in the motion to deny the charter if they did not meet the conditions the approval still stands. The motion was passed 3-2, with Hack and Gibson-Gray voting against it.

The EBTHS and EBTMS Charters are based on the Clayton Valley Charter High School (CVCHS) which has recently made headlines, “Contra Costa County Office of Education To Conduct Forensic Financial Audit of Clayton Charter High School After Sudden Departure of Administrators” (Claycord May 17, 2018).

One of the lead petitioners, Meagan Moilanen, is currently on staff of CVCHS and during the May 9th meeting spoke glowingly about the successes at CVCHS and they would be bringing that success model to the Antioch Charters.  This is very concerning and until the investigation is completed, Antioch Unified School District needs to put a stop to both charters.

Unfortunately, only AUSD Board Members who voted to approve the charters may request that the item be brought back to the board for discussion or a revote. For the sake of our students and community, I feel that action needs to be taken quickly.

Please contact the AUSD Board Members below to encourage them to reconsider their vote while the Contra Costa County Office of Education conducts a Forensic Financial Audit of CVCHS and the actions of their Administrators and Board Members.

crystalsawyerwhite@antioch.k12.ca.us
debravinson@gmail.com
walter.ruehlig@gmail.com

Thank you.

Mary Helen Rocha

Past AUSD Trustee, Antioch Mayor and City Council Member

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One Comment to “Letters: Former Antioch Mayor and School Board Member Rocha wants reconsideration of approval for East Bay Tech charter academies”

  1. Gil Murillo says:

    I appreciate Mrs. Rocha’s background but do note that her employer as well as her son is with AUSD.

    The meeting followed the guidelines of the State Ed Code and what Mrs. Rocha fails realize is that the community desires this school. Majority of the speakers that spoke in favor were residents and voters of the community. Only two non-administrators spoke against.

    Mrs. Rocha also fails to denote that AUSD places themselves once again under the legal microscope when Trustee Gibson-Gray spoke of Rocketship’s contract which is a violation of the Brown Act.

    Also note more students have transferred out from AUSD in the last 4 years than who will be enrolled at EBT. So my question to Mrs. Rocha, “What have you done in the course of your elected and appointed roles within our City to minimize students petitioning out of AUSD? What are you doing to ensure student safety has been your primary concerned?’ If one looks at the petition hearing records, there are rarely representatives from AUSD and/or the City who attend the County hearings.

    As for those of EBT; those applied though from CV, are moving in different circles and honestly, taking an initiative. AUSD had this vision once when they moved forward DLHS; but the vision of AUSD administrators have become dim over the past decade. We as residents are looking for that vision and as such, support EBT and their staff on this endeavor.

    Happy to share from Nextdoor analysis that 70% of those who participated in the survey, agreed Charter Middle and High school is needed. Parents deserve options and what is wrong with this?

    As our Superintendent noted, California ranks in the bottom 10 and AUSD doesn’t even make the UN News High School School ranking. Bottom line, AUSD has failed to develop and continue with a plan to move our all of kids (not just the top 20%) to success.

    Best and God Bless,

    Gil Murillo

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