Judge rules against Antioch school district in Dozier-Libbey case

By John Crowder

Judge Laurel Brady issued her decision, on Thursday, May 1, 2014, following a hearing last Monday in a case filed by the petitioner teachers of Dozier-Libbey Medical High School (DLMHS) against the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD). In it, she affirms her tentative decision issued last Friday, granting the injunction requested by teachers at the school to prevent AUSD, et. al, “from converting anything related to Dozier-Libbey Medical School to the Dozier-Libbey Medical School, a dependent charter school, during the pendency of the action.”

In her decision, Judge Brady acknowledges both the novelty and complexity of the case, saying, “This is a unique situation and series of events with little case law or legislative history that is helpful. It is also not only an analysis of the statutory and case law that applies, but requires a careful review and analysis of the actions taken by the parties.”

As previously reported, the issue of whether or not the action taken by AUSD involved the conversion of a school to a charter, or if it was a start-up, as AUSD contended, was critical to the analysis conducted by Judge Brady. She said, “…if Respondants [AUSD], although labeling it a start up charter school, in fact created a conversion charter school, they did not fulfill the requirements of the statute and the Petitioners [DLMHS teachers] (are) likely to prevail.”

Judge Brady went on to note five actions taken by AUSD that she used to determine that AUSD had, “although labeling it as a start up charter school, really created a conversion charter school.” Her opinion reads, “The court noted the following:

  1. Respondants selected the same or very similar name for the new charter school as the existing school

  2. The new charter school was to be located in the same location/campus as the existing school.

  3. Respondants assigned the same school district code numbers for the school. (Logically, these codes would be different for a new start up school)

  4. Respondants assigned the same API scores as the existing school (these API scores would not apply to a start up school)

  5. The notice indicated that existing students would get preference at the new charter school (which is a requirement of a conversion school not a start up).”

Even with today’s ruling, however, the final dispensation of DLMHS is not yet settled. The teachers who filed the petition to convert DLMHS to an independent charter must still obtain approval for their proposal. It was rejected by the AUSD School Board on March 19th, and appealed to the Contra Costa County Board of Education following that action. The County Board will conduct a public hearing on the matter on May 7th, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Pleasant Hill Middle School multipurpose room, 1 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill.

7 Comments to “Judge rules against Antioch school district in Dozier-Libbey case”

  1. Concerned citizen says:

    Finally AUSD is called out on this illegal activity! As a citizen of Antioch, I would like to know how much money was spent on all of this illegal activity, and I sincerely hope the board of education realizes their mistake and ends this disrespectful aggressive pursuit. Since this has been declared illegal by the judge, the board should retract their approval of their illegal dependent charter! I think if the board and the district top administration don’t retract their approval and pursuit of the illegal dependent charter, they should all be replaced with people with integrity, who will help move this district in a positive direction. It seems like utter chaos at this point. Parents should hear all the information, not just the district’s twisted facts. Why is AUSD not allowing the teachers to communicate with parents and present their side? Their concern is not kids, their concern is the money they generate. If the district would have approved the independent charter to begin with, instead of their illegal charter, then our comunity would have a charter we could be proud of like the Antioch Charter Academies we have now.

  2. Jeff Weber says:

    This is wonderful news for the students, parents, and faculty of Dozier-Libbey. It is encouraging to see that the court recognized it has been the teachers at Dozier-Libbey who are following the law, and not the school district. We’re confident that the Contra Costa County Board of Education will also recognize both the legality and the sincerity of the teachers’ efforts to improve public education in Antioch, and approve their petition to operate independently following the public hearing on May 7th.

  3. Rochelle says:

    I am glad the AUSD was called out on their lies and deceit. It is excellent news that the court recognizes that even though the district insisted their petition was a “startup”, that it was indeed a “conversion” attempt and that they did not follow the proper charter law requirements. It is also time for the School Board Members that approved this illegal charter to be voted out, as they did not do their due diligence in making sure that the district dependent petition met all the correct requirements. They cannot be trusted in making sound decisions on behalf of the citizens and taxpayers of Antioch. The AUSD spent an exorbitant amount of money and resources thus far on their illegally formed charter and they must be held accountable. They clearly did not have the kids best interest in mind and I am extremely upset and appalled by their behavior in this whole process. My family and I are firm supporters of the teachers of Dozier Libbey and their independent charter. Their petition has followed the charter law requirements and I look forward to the county board meeting where the public can see the merits of the teachers petition. We are all elated by the judge’s decision and have had enough of the misinformation and scare tactics from the district.

  4. Lori B says:

    Finally, the truth is out! An independent non-AUSD affiliated entity (i.e. the Court) determined that AUSD’s dependent charter petition efforts to create a “start-up” charter at the current Dozier-Libbey site, was in actuality, a “conversion” charter. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

    Parents, students and community members, please look beyond the statements being made by AUSD about the independent charter, because much of it is misinformation. You must do your own investigation to find the truth, starting with the teacher’s petition which you will find on http://dozierlibbeycharter.com. You will discover that the teachers have made the student’s education, and ultimately their futures, as the priority in their efforts to convert Dozier-Libbey to an independent charter school.

  5. Lisa says:

    It was a relief to hear Judge Brady’s final decision. The teacher’s petition follows Charter Law and was created to support the current and future students who attend Dozier-Libbey. The teachers created their charter petition in order to preserve and enhance the quality educational program that was originally created for Dozier-Libbey. Our family supports the Independent Charter petition submitted by the teachers because it is in the best interest of the children of this community.

  6. Nicole says:

    Watch carefully what Antioch Unified School District management does. If they were working in the best interest of the students, our schools would be safer and our teachers would have the resources needed to make every student successful. Antioch Unified School District and the Board of Trustees wasted taxpayer dollars creating and approving a Dependent Charter that did not follow charter law. They are fighting the lawful charter proposal brought forth by the Dozier-Libbey teachers in order to win at any cost. They have done this by:

    * Mailing letters to 600+ families coercing them to sign a
    letter of intent to attend their unlawful charter
    * Hanging large expensive banners on the school
    * Sending the Superintendent and 4 well paid administrators to
    stand in front of the school for days promoting their unlawful charter
    * Spending countless dollars on lawyers to defend their unlawful
    charter in court
    * Sending the Superintendent and 4 administrators to court to sit
    for hours when their testimony was not needed or required

    It is time for the School Board and District Administration be held accountable for their actions. Stop wasting taxpayer dollars and put our money back in the classroom. The children of
    Antioch deserve better!

    To learn more about the Independent Charter petition brought forth by the teachers, visit:

  7. Ann O'Nim says:

    Well, the AUSD is at it again folks. A negative court judgement was not enough, now they are rallying district employees to go to the public hearing at the county to oppose Dozier-Libbey’s petition. Unbelievable. I have a suggestion for the Antioch voters…
    1. Email the AUSD board with your dissatisfaction on how they are wasting taxpayer dollars with their opposition to the Dozier-Libbey teachers.
    2. Tell them to take down the DLMHS- Dependent Charter websites.
    3. Ask them to re-assign Principal Scott Bergerhouse to a job at the district office.
    4. Suggest that they extend an olive branch to the Dozier-Libbey teachers since their petition will ultimately be approved by the county or the state.
    5. Demand that they reign in their administrative staff who are still misleading the public with their recent fliers about Dozier-Libbey.
    Come out and support the Dozier-Libbey teachers on Wednesday night, the details are at: http://www.dozierlibbeycharter.com
    Make your vote count come election day. Two board members are up for re-election in December 2014.

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