Archive for March, 2018

Deer Valley High Virtual Enterprise team wins big at competition in March

Friday, March 30th, 2018

From the DVHS Facebook page

On March 17-18, Deer Valley High School’s Virtual Enterprise team participated in its final competition of the year where it took home prizes in three categories.

In total, there were 79-Virtual Enterprise firms and 1,112 students in attendance from not only California, but across the United States, including one team from Germany.

  • Elijah Minyard – 1st place for the One Minute Elevator pitch
  • Marc Bates, Pedro Molina, Saafir Farrell, and Dominic Smith – 3rd place for company branding and logo
  • Connor Landrum – Honorable mention (a top 10 finalists) for his video commercial

According to Kristofer Freeman, Business Technology Academy Lead at Deer Valley High School, it was their highest scoring year thus far.

Deer Valley High Robotics Team. Courtesy of AUSD.

Minyard, who serves as the class CEO, explained that they came up with the idea of Claws and Paws Paradise, a luxury resort for dogs and cats, after a fellow student shared their passion about animals with them.

Marc Bates highlighted that just by doing a lot of the work associated with this business, it opened his eyes to what its like to run a business and what options are available to him.

“The biggest thing I learned is you need to be informed about a lot of things such as the human mind because you have to know how people perceive things. Like with graphics and IT, we had to learn colors and certain positions of items on layouts because it would change people’s opinions,” explained Bates.

“For example, the blue we chose was calm and a refreshing vibe so when people leave their pets here it gives off a calm and relaxed feeling.”

Minyard added that he believed the great thing about Virtual Enterprise was how accommodating it was for everyone; it allowed people to use all their skill sets to help the business. “People have different styles and ideas of how to pursue things, because we have different interest in things, there are different departments that cater to student’s interests and skill set,” explained Minyard. “The great thing is you get to develop your communication skills as well as social skills, so you learn to have clear communication with other departments with all the other employees. It also helps you learn how to promote yourself when you go into business because your communication skills are that much better.”

In total, six AUSD students completed in the competition at the Oakland Convention Center on behalf of the roughly 30-student class.

“We got to go into the competition and represent our classroom and share how much work the class did and hopefully do well,” said Maynard. “It was thrilling.”

Freeman explained that the students scored in the top 10% of the United States for Virtual Enterprises which is an international organization. The students’ business plan also scored in the top 42 for California.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Cesar Chavez Day celebration in Antioch Saturday, March 31

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Mr.  Paul Ramirez of the Department of Labor will be the featured speaker.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Deer Valley Performing Arts teacher Michelle Stark named Antioch Teacher of the Year

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Michelle Stark (with flowers) is congratulated by District Director for Program Improvement, Mike Santos (left), Associate Superintendent of Educational Services, Christine Ibarra, and Deer Valley High Principal Ken Gardner (right) on Wed., March 21, 2018. Photo by AUSD.

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Antioch Unified School District Associate Superintendent of Educational Services, Christine Ibarra, Deer Valley High School Administration, and members of the AUSD Educational Services Team congratulated Michelle Stark, the Deer Valley Academy of Performing Arts Lead Teacher, on winning AUSD’s Teacher of the Year.

According to the DVHS website, “Mrs. Stark is in her 10th year at DV and this is the third year she serves as the Lead Teacher for the DVAPA She has four children that graduated from Deer Valley.”

From the DVHS Facebook page:

Michelle Stark

Mrs. Michelle Stark has been a teacher at Deer Valley High School for over ten years. During her tenure, Mrs. Stark has taught Show Choir, Divine Voices, and Production Practicum. During the 2015-16 school year, Mrs. Stark was named DVAPA (Deer Valley Academy of Performing Arts) Lead. Since that time, Mrs. Stark has taken DVAPA from good to great! During her time at DVHS, Mrs. Stark has involved DVHS to engage with both the school and city community. Mrs. Stark arranges student led performances both at DVHS as well as private events where her students are requested.

Mrs. Stark teaches a wide range of students- some come with great experience, while others have no experience singing whatsoever. Mrs. Stark teaches each and every student who enters her classroom and all her students love her for the time, patience, creativity, and passion that she brings each and every day to her classroom. Mrs. Stark positively engages and effectively manages all her students through positive relationships. Walking into Mrs. Stark’s class, you can feel the comradely between the students and themselves, as well as the respect and love they have for Mrs. Stark. Mrs. Stark takes the time to know each of her students in order to know and understand her students’ strengths and weaknesses. Mrs. Stark is able to reach all levels of students and help them build the confidence in themselves, as all her students showcase their talents multiple times throughout the school year.

Since the 2015-16 school year, Mrs. Stark has taught the DVAPA Capstone, Production Practicum. During this time, Mrs. Stark inherited a class that the majority of the students chose to drop midyear, which negatively impacted the number of students completing the requirements of the academy. Mrs. Stark wanted to improve the class and amount of students who completed the academy’s requirements. Mrs. Stark has worked tirelessly, improving DVAPA’s system of organization, as well as student completion (DVAPA has seen a 400% growth in the amount of students completing the academy since 2015). Through Mrs. Stark’s shared vision of work-based learning, she has created on campus internships, while teaming students to work together in a collaborative environment. Students are now responsible for marketing, decorating, advertising, as well as the hours it takes behind the scenes to run a show. Rather than students dropping at the second semester, we have students who are on the waiting list to be added to the class. Mrs. Stark found a way to build a community within the DVAPA academy that has positively impacted students, while giving them the necessary skills they need when seeking employment (team work, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, etc.).

Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Stark for her positive impact and contributions to her academy, our school, and community.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch High School pool named for former teacher, coach Greg DeCristofaro

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Greg DeCristofaro. Courtesy of AUSD.

By Allen Payton

At their Wednesday, March 28, 2018 meeting, the Antioch School Board voted unanimously to name the new pool at Antioch High School after former teacher, swim/dive/water polo coach Greg DeCristofaro.

The decision was made following in which the Board encourages community participation in the process of selecting names for Facilities. That process requires a Citizen Advisory Committee to be appointed to review name suggestions and submit recommendations for the Board’s consideration.

Antioch High School formed a Citizen Advisory Committee comprising of parents, community members and staff of Antioch High School to discuss the naming and dedication of the swimming pool planned to be completed in April 2018. The Committee voted unanimously to name and dedicate the swimming pool in honor of a former teacher, swim/dive/water polo coach Greg DeCristofaro, who dedicated 37 years to Antioch High School.

They voted to name the new swimming pool facility at Antioch High “Greg DeCristofaro Aquatic Center”.

During discussion by the board, Trustee Debra Vinson said, “I don’t know who this individual is but people in the community do. I don’t know if there are any concerns to the public. Is this permanent?”

Yes, responded

I’ve known Greg for 40 years, I guess,” Board Chairman Gary Hack said. “He’s been involved from day one. He’s a great guy. Sports is his forte. My son did water polo with him years ago. If you’re going to make a choice he would be a good representative.”

“I understand from Superintendent Anello that there has been no opposition from the community,” Vinson added.

Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray said, “He was a teacher there when I was in school. My sons went there. I would have no qualms with naming anything in the district after him. But the pool site is more than apropos.”

With that the board voted unanimously for the naming.

About DeCristofaro

The Citizen Advisory Committee, made up of Lead Petitioner Catharine Harrison, Willis Ball, Craig Carson, Trine Gallegos, Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha, and Athletic Director Steve Sanchez, compiled the following background information about DeCristofaro.

It’s fitting that Greg DeCristofaro would be a swim and dive coach for decades because he’s the kind of teacher and leader who – literally and figuratively – would jump into the deep end for his students and school.

Mr. DeCristofaro – known lovingly as Coach De – taught for 37 years, his entire education career at Antioch High campus as part of a strong biology team. In that time, he coached countless students, quickly taking the lead on swim teams in the early 1970s. Soon after that, he spearheaded a boys’ water polo team and never looked back. Some two decades later, he helped the girls get their own water polo team. Over the years, there were numerous successes, including many of his teams and individual athletes making their way to championships and titles. The first year it was formed, the girls water polo team made it to the North Coast Section playoffs.

Along the way, DeCristofaro also spent some 15 years coaching the Antioch Delta Skimmer swimmers. “I had two families – the Delta Skimmers and my Panther family,” he says. If his pull to water isn’t clear – take in this detail: For 20 years during his teaching/coaching time, Coach De, wife Kathy and twin boys lived on a houseboat. “My boys didn’t have skateboards, they had wind surfboards.”

Many have fond memories of Mr. DeCristofaro, especially fellow teacher Craig Carson.

“Greg was the head boys swimming and diving coach when I came to the school in 1979,” said Carson. “He was there in the early 1970s when they had some great swimmers, including Tim Boyd and Sean Bogan to name just two. They are both in the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame.” Together Coach Carson and Mr. De started the Antioch Relays in 1982 and continued running the annual swimming/diving team fundraiser for 20 years.

“(Greg) was always there for everything ‐ available to step in when needed for nearly 40 years and did so. He truly had the best interest of the kids at heart always,” Carson said.

And, there’s also Willis Ball, an AHS track coach and fellow biology teacher.

“I was busy coaching track at the same time Greg was coaching swimming,” Ball said. “I know from talking to him many times that he was the most dedicated person I ever knew when it came to wanting to do the right thing in preparing his athletes to be the best they could be. He would do whatever it took to be successful. I hope this becomes a reality in naming the swimming complex after him. It’s surely well-deserved after all the work he put in, and all the successes he had in his many years of coaching those athletes.”

Catharine Harrison, parent and community advocate, said “Coach De is a legend. While my children never swam for coach DeCristofaro (he had retired), he is well known in the aquatics community. His support and commitment for both recreational and high school swim is rock solid. His many years of dedicated, quality coaching and support of our youth should more than ensure his legacy will live on with the naming of the new AHS aquatics center.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch council narrows choices to two very different maps for district elections

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Will hold another workshop at 5:30 p.m. on April 10th to make changes to “quadrants” map; final vote at special meeting on Monday, April 23rd

By Allen Payton

After two-and-a-half hours of hearing vary disparate comments from the public, and a lively debate and discussion by council members, the Antioch City Council voted to narrow down the number of draft maps for the council district elections from four two to. The two final maps, referred to as Working Draft I and Quadrants B offer very different options and the public comments reflected those differences. Some speakers still advocated against changing to district elections, saying it will divide the city and cause council members to compete for tax dollars for projects just in their districts.

(To watch the complete council meeting, click here:

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole mentioned he had received emails prior to the council meeting and that “six emailers…want to preserve a community of interest above Highway 4, a petition with 52 signers of wanting to “Designate Hillcrest/Deer Valley Corridor as a Community of Interest during districting.”

Working Draft I Map

The Working Draft I map creates a single district on the north side of Highway 4 and that was supported by most of the speakers, many of whom live in that area of the city. The arguments were that there hasn’t been an elected city council member from the north side of the freeway since the 1980’s and the people there want someone who lives in that part of town to represent them. It was pointed out that appointed Council Member Martha Parsons lives in the north part of town and served on the council in the last decade. However, she was not elected when she ran at the end of her appointed term.

Most of the speakers in favor of Working Draft I were Hispanic, members of the East County Regional Group, and live in that part of the city, two of whom spoke in Spanish and used a translator. Another speaker in favor of the Working Draft I map was former Antioch School Board Member Joy Motts, who lost for re-election in 2014 and lost for election in 2016 and is the only candidate for city council who has filed paperwork declaring her intention to run this November.

That map garnered the support of Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Councilwoman Monica Wilson. Thorpe only wanted to advance that map for a final vote at the council meeting on April 10th. He argued that Motts couldn’t get re-elected because people on the south side wouldn’t vote for her and viewed her “as old Antioch and dismiss  her.” Wilson echoed Thorpe’s comments, giving what sounded like an endorsement of Motts’ candidacy. However, Mayor Sean Wright pointed out that Antioch School Board Member Diane Gibson-Gray lives on the north side of town and was able to get elected.

Quadrants B Map

The Quadrants B map had the apparent support of Wright, and Councilmembers Lori Ogorchock and Tony Tiscareno, who agreed with the public speakers in support of it, that it would allow two council members to represent portions of the north side of Antioch. The speakers in favor of that map, including former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas, argued that in order to get something accomplished it takes the votes of three council members and with two representing the north side of town, that area will have more advocates on the council, making it easier to get to three votes.

However, there was an effort at the end of the hearing by Wright to make some changes to the Quadrants B map, to accommodate some of the concerns expressed by members of the public. As the hour was getting late, the consultants said any change to one district would cause a ripple effect among the other districts from a population standpoint, and there were still three items on the agenda that staff said needed to be dealt with, it was decided to hold one more workshop, prior to the April 10th council meeting, at 5:30 p.m. that same evening.

Interim City Attorney Derek Cole explained to the council that they have three things to decide at their meeting on April 10. First, they must vote whether or not to move forward with district elections, and if so which map to use and when to implement them, either this year, or wait until 2020 to do so.

The council voted unanimously to support moving forward both maps. They also agreed to hold a special meeting on Monday, April 23 to accommodate Ogorchock’s schedule, as she will be out of town on April 24, and to ensure they complete the process in the legally proscribed time frame to avoid facing the threatened lawsuit, which started the entire process, in court.

Public Comments

Former Antioch Councilwoman Norma Hernandez was the first member of the public to speak saying, I can’t believe this is the United States of America and this is happening in the City of Antioch. This is the worst thing that could happen to our city.

We’re putting people against each other. At the same time, we’re disenfranchising the voter. They can only vote for the mayor and one member. They’ll only have two people beholding to them. I can’t believe this man who has come to our cities and is going to other cities is getting away with this.

You represent the whole city. You will only represent one district. The sharing, behind door deals, with sharing the money. The whole community gets ripped off. Just because the state of California is running games it doesn’t mean we have to go along with it. I want to be able to come to my city council and if I don’t like you, I want to be able to recall you. I’m totally against this. Don’t let the State of California change the United States of America.”

Former Antioch Councilman Ralph Hernandez said, “First off, I am opposed to the district elections. I think we should keep it here in Antioch the way it is. I don’t want you guys to be scared. The city gets a lot of lawsuits. You hire consultants and help to fight those lawsuits. This is something you as a city council as a whole to fight this. Governor Brown made it easy to where you don’t have to go to the community if they want district elections. You should have gone to the community and asked if we want district elections. I understand the lawsuits. I understand the threat. The attorney and whoever is behind this. They’re making money off this. Why should Antioch be the stepchild to this attorney. You need to stand up. You need to show the community you really care about the community. How many of you decided not to represent a particular area or a particular group of people? You all agreed to represent each and every person who lives in Antioch equally. If you’ve since decided not to you should sit down and let someone who wants to represent everyone take your place. Segregation is something that America has gone through for many, many years. This is segregation. It’s discrimination. That’s really what is going to be accomplished. You’re pitting areas of our community against each other.

Joette Milano Wright said, “I am in support of working Draft #1. I don’t want to see the old Antioch divided.”

Donald Bright said, “I was opposed to districting…but since we are forced into this situation, I am in favor of Working Draft 1.”

Brenden Olaski said, “I am a member of the East County Regional Group. We trust a new system will not change you representing all of Antioch. It will ensure the demographic challenges facing Antioch. North Antioch has a large immigrant community. It is critical that it has its own district. We have not had a council member from north Antioch since the late ‘80’s. I ask you to form one district in north Antioch and support Working Draft 1.”

Ellie Householder said, “I felt like I just had to speak. I am in full support of the districting. I was born and raised in Antioch. Proposed, Working Draft 1 makes the most sense. D Street is not a logic place to split that up. People have issues with isn’t Highway 4 a divider? But it is a cultural divide. It’s not about segregation it’s about representation. That 3/10 council meeting was the first one I’d ever gone to. I just think that representation is a good thing. Being from the north part of Antioch, I’m confident that who ever I vote for will represent all of Antioch. There are things in each neighborhood that everyone cares about. My part of Antioch hasn’t been active as far as registration goes. I think we’ll get a lot more engaged voters.”

Antioch Planning Commissioner and brother of Joy, Kerry Motts said, “None of us are too happy the way this came about…under threat of a lawsuit. I believe the two quadrant maps are inherently political…and dilute representation north of Highway 4. I believe council members as a whole will represent all of Antioch. Working Draft #1 is best. I think this should be done for 2018.”

Christine Clark said, “I am…a member of East County Regional Group. I do live in the Rivertown community and support creating one district north of Highway 4. It also creates a more democratic Antioch that reflects our values. Working Draft 1…is the best plan for a strong Antioch.”

Deborah Polk said, “I am in support of creating one district north of highway 4. I am in opposition of splitting this are into two or more districts…diminishing the capacity to be represented. Working Draft 1 is the only reasonable, viable and equitable decision.”

Tina Price said “I am here for the petition, put together with Ms. Walker, referring to designating the Hillcrest/Deer Valley corridor as a community of interest. She then read from the petition, which can be seen at the link, above.

Susana Williams said, I too support of the first map. First and foremost, this has nothing to do with segregation this is about representation. None of you when elected said you were going to only represent your neighborhood. It’s just much fairer representation. We’re not talking about the numbers of people who live in these areas. North Antioch has gotten the short-end of the stick in so many ways because the focus has been on new part of Antioch. No city has won that has fought this. It’s a colossal waste of money. I would definitely like to see this happen.”

Ellen Ramirez spoke in Spanish and used a translator. “We need to make sure his process is fair. I value democracy…in the drawing of districts. At this time unfortunately, this is not the case because low income people don’t have representation on the city council. It is difficult for all residents to have a say in important decisions. I believe this is important to support a community north of Highway 4 because it represents communities of need. I think you should form a single district north of Highway 4. It will help a child of a poor neighborhood as a child in a neighborhood with more resources.”

Evelyn Lopez said, “I am also a member of the East County Regional Group and a resident of Antioch. Ask you to vote for Working Draft 1. We need our own district and our own representative.”

Sylvia Angeles, who spoke in Spanish using a translator, said, “I am a member of East County Regional Group and I have been a resident of Antioch for many years. She wanted to make sure “the maps are fair.”

“I am a resident of the community north of Highway 4,” she said. “As a mother I am concerned about the crime…especially on 18th Street where I live. I feel powerless because there is no representation for my neighborhood. Volunteer work is not enough. We need to work together in Antioch…to find the solutions to the problems of our community. This person will understand our needs. We all have the same needs north of Highway 4…with one representative on the city council… Today I come to speak out for the first time because this issue is important. I ask you to support Working Draft 1 to create a single district.”

Verlyn Leon said, “A resident of Antioch for more than 15 years. I greatly value having a democratic process and I support creating a single district north of Highway 4. Has different needs than other parts of Antioch. An accessible representative. Someone who lives our realities. That is democracy and is how you make our city strong. If you divide north Antioch it will create more inequality…we run the risk of being a minority. It is fair, it is democratic and the right thing to do.

East County Regional Group Vice Chair Freddie Leon said he and his wife were celebrating their 19th anniversary, which garnered applause from the audience. “This is more important,” he said. “I have lived in Antioch for more than 15 years. I want my city to be a safe and secure place to raise my kids. Many people living north of Highway 4 are immigrants and people of color. The community is strong. They go to church and try to improve the community. I know it’s a really hard task but they are trying. North of Antioch above Highway 4 needs to be one entity. I support working Draft 1. It is the only one that is fair.

Samson Knight said, “I am just your average community member. I was at the special meeting on March 10th. Some of the comments made against districting kind of disgusted me. Many of these supporters backed the quadrant system to keep the council responsible to the average needs of our community. If anything, the balkanization of Antioch will be created by ignoring these differences. We need reasonable…districting. The 4 is not an arbitrary boundary…albeit man made.”

Antioch Economic Development Commissioner Tim McCall said, “I sat out there and listened to many people speak about…dividing the downtown area. That is exactly what we’re doing to the City of Antioch. Are we really dividing our city into four areas? I guess we are. If you divide into the four sections, no matter how you did it, you’re going to have a problem with new development and redevelopment. He suggested a “sliced bread” approach…making all council members responsible for each part of Antioch. I’m wondering if any of the council members are thinking about voting for one or more of these plans because you can’t have two people in one district…people will begin voting for self, not for city. I ask you to not rush this through…but delay it until 2020.”

Dr. Terry Ramus said, “Our family has lived here for 33 years, in our current house for 28 years. I was at the mapping meeting…I am opposed to this entire process. My caution is that sometimes you might get what you wish for. Folks are saying keep all of the area north of Highway 4 in one district. But, you have one vote. You still have to get two more votes. I have been coming here for years” speaking for things in the north side of the freeway.

“Is Beede Park more related to the Madill area than say the Putnam area?” he asked. “The idea that everything north of Highway 4 is the same…these are false differences. The one that I support is to unite the city. Many of us have worked to reduce that problem. Either quadrant is fine, frankly. It causes the city to try to work more together. The one I would pick is the point.”

Jennifer Hughes said, “I’ve lived in Antioch since 1995. The second home I’ve bought is in the downtown. I walk the dog I go down by the river. I’ve listened to the entire city council meeting. I thought about it a lot. I’m in favor of districting. I’m in favor of Working Draft #1. Because it’s not working now. I really do think that each section of town will be better served by separate representatives. Each of you would be a specialist for your area.  You can’t be fully informed of all the needs of the city. Specializing is a good thing and I think it gives us the representation the way it should be. The quadrants are keeping things the same.”

Warren Lutz said, “This is the first time I’ve been up here. I think the districting is great. I also support Working Draft #1. I live off of Hillcrest and Laurel. Working Draft 2 splits my neighborhood unnecessarily. I’m appalled to hear there’s been no representation north of Highway 4 since 1994. That would be one representative more than they have now.”

Karen Johnson said, “When I first read about the districting my heart dropped. I moved here in 1994. Most of my activities have been north of Highway 4. I’m from the Midwest. Antioch reminded me of where I came from. One town. Regardless of what side of Highway 4 you lived in. I’m hearing a lot of artificial excuses of why we should split up. We’re all experiencing crime. I never experienced or saw anyone who was representing Antioch that wasn’t thinking of the whole city. We have the low-income homes in Rivertown. There’s always been an effort here to address the needs of everyone. I don’t think we need to get in this mindset that we’re different because of what part of Antioch we live in. We don’t really have real differences here that we can’t address. Let’s face it someone decides to sue us because we don’t have districting it’s like the devil trying to push us into dividing ourselves when it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Antioch Planning Commissioner Ken Turnage said, “Personally I like Quadrant B if we’re going to do this. I can talk to any of you, right now. If this goes through I got only one person to talk to. Growing up here, I actually moved to Antioch in 1972. What I hear in here, are communities of special interest. Are we looking to have…quadrants that work together…or pitted together like I’m hearing, tonight? I want people who are going to vote for what the entire city needs. If we divide this out by our special interests…then we are going to have nothing but fighting. I believe people will once again look out for what their area is because they want to get reelected. Let’s not look at special interests, let’s look at communities of interests.”

Janet Costa said, “I’m here tonight to ask council to support Working Draft 1…and only advance this one, tonight. I’m excited about the possibility of a district devoted to north of Highway 4. I understand that this change does not mean my needs will not be met. I would like to say on behalf of all of the Regional Group we have worked with the council for more than a decade. This is not personal toward the council. It gives them a chance to participate in the electoral process in a more equitable way.”

Francisco Nazario said, “I’ve been a resident of Antioch for a short four years, but I’ve had the opportunity to visit parts of Antioch. The United States was created as a representative republic…which is made up of districts, which is also echoed at the state level. It’s a question of the size of population. Change is a process. It’s human nature to resist it. Cities have tried fighting it. Get used to it. It’s coming. Make the best of it. I think Working Draft 1 makes the most sense from kind of a historical perspective. Each group would like to have a person to represent their area. They have someone directly to go to…and if they don’t do a good enough job they elect someone else. Antioch will continue to grow. Get used to it it’s coming. I think everyone on the council has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the finances of the city. I think we need to focus on implementing this districting and focus on the best job you can do as a council and we can do as citizens.”

Former Mayor Don Freitas said, “Well I’m 63 years of age and I was born in the city of Antioch. I was born in the hospital on 6th Street. I also had the great fortune of representing Antioch both locally and regionally. A lot of people, you’re always going to think of Antioch’s best interests. I absolutely hate this districting plan is being shoved down the throats of the people of Antioch. You can fight it or we can create four different districts. The decision you make is going to last forever. It’s critical for every decision for each census when we have to move the lines. Two things are critical. Shape and balance.

I absolutely do not like this alternative (Working Draft I). Politically you will isolate the downtown area. Be careful what you ask for you might get. You might have a representative in this schematic.

Quadrant B…in this case you will have potentially two representatives.

I strongly encourage you start in 2020. Alternative one does not provide balance. It does allow one person to rant and rave about the needs of the downtown area.

The Antioch Council spent approximately $25 million uniting…A Street to 2nd Street in downtown. We wanted to prepare the downtown for growth. I would suggest the first one and Quadrant two be the options to go forward. The first alternative is going to bring back that war full force. Please, God, don’t embrace that alternative.”

Joy Motts was the last to speak saying, “I was also born on Sixth Street in the same hospital (as Freitas). I couldn’t disagree with you more. We already have the situation of have and have nots. Although this isn’t a panacea. Clearly the people of the community are speaking out saying they want to keep the north part of Antioch together. I agree. One of the reasons I ran for school board was because…Antioch High School was falling apart. I lived in north Antioch…I knew the needs there. It’s only because I brought that forward…we brought it before the people and they supported it. I’m just saying this is going to work. I have trust in you. We’re all adults. We’re one community, one Antioch. But we need representation for those communities. Your Quadrant map literally divides the (Rivertown) Preservation Group. Keep north Antioch together. It won’t divide this community. It will empower this community.” (Editor’s Note: The Quadrant B map does not divide Rivertown, which is bordered from 10th Street north to the river. The section divided by that map is south of W. 10th Street).

Council Discussion

Mayor Wright said, “We allowed every person to speak for their full five minutes because of the passion. At the next meeting we may cut your time down.”

Mayor Pro Thorpe was next to speak saying, “This is a big issue and you know Antioch has gone through a lot of change. There’s a lot of change happening very rapidly. I don’t like this process. This should have gone to the voters. But, as I’ve maintained throughout this process…I have a difficult time with these quadrants. I’m not a big fan of them. Population…I go beyond that and look at voting patterns. The quadrants do a disservice. There are just some claims that are made that are not accurate. It is true the last person to be elected to the Antioch Council was in the 1980’s. But the last person to serve was Martha Parsons. That will be the same. Because southeast Antioch has grown. I wish Joy Motts was still on the school board. But, she’ll never get elected because people in south Antioch look at her as old Antioch and dismiss her. This is not dividing up the city but creating legislative districts. Some folks made some claims there will be some infighting and back room deals. I picked up the phone and called Berkeley…and they said the divisions of…the hills and the flatlands have always been there. The same for Elk Grove.

“You find there is infighting but it’s because of personalities not because of districts. For anyone to call this a special interest…this is a community advocacy group. The special interests are the ones financing our campaigns…who focus on growth in southeast Antioch. Because that’s how you get elected in Antioch. It’s through single member districts that you can raise enough money from your neighbors…so you don’t have to hitch a ride with developers, Realtors or unions.

I’m not supporting any of the quadrants because they don’t fulfill the purpose.

“The city council did not advance them. Two city council members advanced these quadrants… these arbitrary lines that we’re coming up with these quadrants.”

“The Brown Act still exists,” he added. “You can still only talk to one other council member, now. It will be the same under the district system. It’s arguments about nothing.”

Councilman Tony Tiscareno was next to share his thoughts saying, “I’ve been actively opposed to districting. The reason why is because we have been submitted by force which shouldn’t been submitted to the city. People have been talking about geographic. It was submitted on another nature, with which I disagree. For the last 15-20 years that I can count we’ve had a diverse city council. I’m quite upset with the way it came about. I don’t like any of the maps. I want to represent…the entire city. I understand and agree there’s a lack of representation on the north side of the city. It’s why I’m listening to the districts, right now. I’m kind of offended…I kind of feel bad. I’m only a block away from the freeway so I’m kind of representing the north waterfront. I’ve always felt I’ve represented that part because that’s where I grew up. The true part of Antioch has always been the north side…You do in some respect have someone who cares about the older part of Antioch. If we’re going to entertain this sort of thing, I want to respect the people. So, I’m willing to consider Working Draft 1. But, I’m not saying I’m going to vote for it. The quadrants seem to be something that is fair. I seem to think that if you have two representatives for one particular area it’s better than one.”

Wright said, “One of the things I may propose…is how do you adhere to what the letter dictates, how do we go about not getting sued. We have a census in 2020. One of my problems is we’re using numbers from 2010. So, these lines that are being drawn are not based on true numbers. We’re going to wait until 2020 after the Census occurs. I’m not sure if that will satisfy the lawsuit.”

Cole responded, “The Census will be done in 2020. But the numbers will not be out until after the November 2020. I feel comfortable if we phase in…because of the systemic change involved, because we have Latino representation on the council. But…we would have to get past two election cycles to get to the Census.”

Tiscareno said, “Then I’m going to suggest another extreme and that’s to have the elections in 2018. Which map, it really doesn’t matter. In my mind when we’re running to represent all of Antioch. You implement whatever map is supported by the council, you have everybody run so there’s no hard feelings of who will run.”

Cole responded with, “By law we cannot abridge their terms. If you do implement in 2018 those two council members would be allowed to serve until 2020. Do you want to phase in the two districts you want to run this year…then you have to choose which districts they will run in. Or you choose to phase in at-large elections for two years, then everyone runs in 2020.”

Tiscareno then said, “At least narrow it down to two maps. I’m willing to vote no on this right now. I’m willing to stay at large. Quadrant B with some possible tweaks to that. If we implement in 2018 or 2020 I really don’t care.”

Councilwoman Monica Wilson was next to speak saying, “Thank you to everyone for reaching out to me. Joy, yes you did some wonderful work on the school board. You’re probably the hardest working person north of Highway 4. Why aren’t you on the school board? It’s because of the dilution of vote north of Highway 4.”

“Going forward with this districting…I am for it. Draft Map #1 seems to be the most popular one so that’s what I’m going with. I’m leaning toward Draft 2 because I want to keep north of Antioch together. Quadrant B divides Rivertown Preservation Society.”

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock then said, “I don’t like this idea. It’s probably a good thing in the long run but the way it’s going I don’t agree with. The people I hear from are the people that have heard what we’ve said. When they hear us talking about it…I hear lots of people saying they don’t like the downtown being in one district. If you have the quadrants you have two people representing the downtown. I kind of like the idea of the quadrants. People came up and said they don’t like the idea of one vote for the downtown. I grew up in downtown. The freeway did divide the town. What made it worse was the ZIP Codes. It made it ten times worse. It is one town. We have to listen to everybody. Communities of interest are being listened to.”

Wright then said, “the idea that you can’t win if you live downtown is just not true. I don’t know where they all live. I don’t look at where they live when I’m voting. I look at if they’re going to do a good job. Looking at Quadrant Map B, I have some issues with the lines. Is there a reason A Street isn’t the divide?”

Q2 consultant Jaime Clark responded, “That was for population and to respect communities of interest. To keep the C Street group COI in tact and not cut through these smaller neighborhoods.”

Wright then asked, “Do we just ignore that there are 15,000 people in southeast Antioch that aren’t being accounted for?”

Clark said, “We have to use the 2010 Census.”

“So, we’re just ignoring those 15,000 people,” Wright stated. “The C Street area, they’re closer to downtown. So, I think they should be part of downtown. He then suggested some changes to the Quadrants B map.”

Clark then switched over to a live map to draw changes.

Tiscareno then said, “the concern I have is the numbers we’re using the 2010 Census really don’t reflect what we’re looking at now. I’m also looking at Congressional districts to stay within a community of interest.”

Cole said the council could hold another workshop.

Wright said, “there’s a motion to move forward Working Draft 1 and Quadrant B.”

Cole responded, “I can draft an ordinance that adopts a four-district system. I can also provide two options that implements districts in 2018 or 2020. You only have to introduce an ordinance at your next meeting. I will work with the consultant to make some changes.”

Consultant Clark then shared, “I don’t feel I have enough information from council offline without specific, detailed input.”

Cole explained to the council, “If you want to look at Quadrants C…then we can bring that back at the next meeting.”

Q2 consultant Karin MacDonald said, “The problem is any changes she makes to one district will have a ripple effect. So, we’re going to need your input. I’m not sure if this is possible to do this quickly at the beginning of the next meeting.”

Tiscareno said, “Maybe we start three or four hours earlier. I think it’s going to take more than an hour. The meeting is going to be packed. We’re going to have community input. It’s going to take some time.”

The council then decided to start the workshop at 5:30 p.m. following a closed session at 5:00 p.m. on April 10th.

Cole then pointed out, “The maps have to be published, but right after the 10th we can have them in the newspaper right after that. The reason we have to finalize the map at the first meeting in April is because we have to advertise it in the paper seven days before the meeting.”

Ogorchock said, “I will not be at the 24th meeting. So, we have to get it done.”

The council then settled on a special meeting on Monday night, April 23rd.

On April 10th 5:30 p.m. the council will have a workshop on the final map. At the 7:00 p.m. meeting they will take initial votes on the matter.

On April 23rd the council will consider the adoption of the final map.

Wright then said “we’re going to come back with Working Draft 1 and Quadrants B. And we’re going to work on those changes that night.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch School Board gives $2 million increase for teacher salaries and benefits for this school year

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

By Allen Payton

At their March 28 meeting, the Antioch School Board voted unanimously to approve the contract with the Antioch Education Association for the 2018-19 school year. The contract includes an increase in costs to the district of $2,028,500.  Summary of AEA agrmt 3.28.18

That amount includes an increase of $1,552,000 in salaries, a $292,500 increase in statutory benefits, and an increase of $183,500 in health and welfare. The source of the funds to cover the increases are carry-over money and new Local Control Funding Formula revenue.

“We appreciate your effort at completion,” said a representative of the Antioch Education Association.

“Thank you bargaining team,” said Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray.

She moved approval, Trustee Walter Ruehlig seconded the motion and it was adopted on a 5-0 vote.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

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.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Antioch School Board served with middle and high charter school petitions

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

By Allen Payton

NOTE: My apologies for getting this article posted just, today. I thought it was posted two weeks ago. But, it was a preview article that I had written and posted prior to the meeting. 

Petitions were submitted to the district office for the East Bay Tech Middle School and East Bay Tech High School and the Antioch School Board held public hearings during their meeting on Wednesday, March 14. The board will make their decisions to accept or reject the petitions at their regular meeting on May 9, 2018.

Board Chairman Gary Hack said he acknowledged receipt of the petitions.

According to district staff the public hearings were required by the Education Code as part of the charter petition process. However, the public hearing was an information item only.

Meagan Moilalen, the chief petitioner spoke first.

“I’m excited to bring to the board two world class schools for Antioch,” she said. “The Antioch community and I ask you to approve the charter schools” and to “determine if our petitions meet the 15 conditions. Our charter schools do meet them.”

“We will be an educational powerhouse, not only getting every child through our schools to college, but through college to a 21st century career,” Moilalen continued. “Our model is based in…rigor, relevance and relationships.”

At Clayton Valley Charter, “each year we have 500 students on our wait list and 200 are from Eastern Contra Costa County,” she stated. “We have 600 signatures from parents in Antioch” supporting the petitions. “The mission and the vision of the schools are the same.”

Former Antioch Associate Superintendent Bill Morones, co-petitioner, spoke next giving a brief description of both schools.

“Antioch parents deserve a choice,” he said. “We’re talking about their students’ education. There are two challenges. One is we are preparing students for jobs that no longer exist. The other is once our students graduate high school they’re not graduating college.” The “drop out at 35-40%. We are not educating them adequately prepared for college. Right now, Microsoft has 5,000 available jobs. We are not doing a good job preparing our students for those jobs.”

“We’re talking technology,” Morones continued. “Our school is a public school that is free and has open enrollment. We do not self-select our students. They’re chosen by random lottery.”

“We are a failure-free school,” he explained. “We provide multiple interventions for all of our students. We provide a bridge program in English and math. We provide a free tutoring program for two hours after school. Our teachers will be tutoring our students. On Saturdays we provide tutoring for our students by our teachers. We offer intercession. Our schools essentially never close.”

“Our school is a smaller school,” said Morones. “We will know all students by their name and their needs. We will have a very strong advisory program for our students. We are a non-profit charter school. We strongly believe all parents and students in Antioch deserve a choice.”

Public Comments

Antioch resident Thomas McNell was the first member of the public to speak.

“I’m here as a supporter of all education, public education, private schools and charter schools. I took my son out of public school and put him in a charter school.  Choice is the foundation of charter schools. Recently our chamber of commerce voted to support these charter schools. Please give our children and parents a choice they believe they should have.”

Tricia Campbell spoke against the charter schools.

“I am a Antioch Middle School teacher. I have been teaching in our district for 15 years. I feel very strongly about public schools for children. I feel very strongly that corporate charter schools weaken public schools. The money it will take away from my school…all of these things that have made Antioch Middle School turn around…would be taken away with charter schools. I’m also speaking as a resident. It pretty much decimates communities. If you want a good, strong stable community, you want strong, stable schools. I do have some concerns…about their teachers work after schools, work on Saturdays and holidays.”

Richard Pagano said, “I am the CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. The Antioch Chamber of Commerce endorses and supports the adoption of the EBT at the district level to ensure oversight and the funding remains local. The business community respects the students, teachers and administrators of the AUSD schools.”

He mentioned the Pathways and Principal for a Day programs the chamber sponsors in the district’s schools.

Kevin King was next saying, “I’m a founding governing board of Clayton Valley Charter shared his experience in getting the charter petition approved and in support of the East Bay Tech charter school petitions.”

Former Antioch teacher Liz Ritchie said, “I respect all of you. I used to work here in Antioch. I spent 10 years here. I taught at Park Middle and at Deer Valley High School as a biology teacher, there. She spoke of the academies, focused programs and pathway programs. It’s not that charter schools take away from the public school environment. It offers an alternative. I would highly recommend, since there are not other tech academies near you…I’m just here for you to look at this form a different perspective.”

Student Sam Kzinski shared  his thoughts stating, “I suggest you remember my name because in a decade or two you’re going to be hearing a lot. I’m a student at Clayton Valley Charter Academy. I was in the Antioch Charter Academy II. When you have the charter environment you have families that get together and it’s quite pleasant.”

“I’m double majoring,” he continued. “I’m taking civil engineering. This summer I plan to take college classes, so I can get even more ahead. I’m also taking a lot of political science classes.”

John Crowder said “I moved to Antioch in 1989. For the last two decades I’ve been involved in education as a tutor, a teacher and a private school administrator. I’ve helped develop a math program. I’ve toured their parent school, Clayton Valley Charter. I’ve spoken to parents, teachers and students. I believe their school.”

“It will be transformative for Antioch schools,” he stated. “They will provide extended school days. They will be able to cut through the red tape. There is broad community support for East Bay Tech. Please bring forward this award-winning program to Antioch.”

A little girl named Isabella spoke next, saying “I’m in fifth grade. I go to Vista Oaks Charter School in Byron. I don’t think it’s fair that my mom has to drive so far for me to go to school. Don’t you want me to be a success? I promise I won’t let you down.”

Kipp Penovich offered a different perspective, saying “This is business and money. I worked at Clayton Valley for four years. This is not the first time the school has tried to expand. And we all know expansion means more money and market share. When it comes to education the education is taken care of teachers. When it comes to retention, Clayton Valley has a challenge.” He the mentioned that most of the teachers who were there at the beginning of the charter school had left the school.

“The administration as of last year…only one is left, since the beginning,” he continued. “As far as oversight, I would discourage you from approving this.

Richard Asadoorian, a former Contra Costa School Board Member and current board member of Clayton Valley Charter spoke next.

“These two…strongly meet these requirements,” he said. “I strongly urge you to vote in favor of these charters. Keep these two charters within the borders of the Antioch Unified School District and you will keep the oversight and add these two stellar schools to your crown.”

A woman named Julia shared her concerns with the proposed charger school.

“As a community member and taxpayer, I want to ask the school board to not to approve…and not to participate jointly in this crime to steal this hard-earned money, and hand it to wealthy CEO’s and the charter school corporation. You are paid by the taxpayers. I work two or three jobs 16 hours a day. Your job is to make poorer schools better. Not to give the poor people’s taxes to the charter corporation. Private charters should not use public taxpayer money.”

However, the proposed charter school will be a public school and funded with taxpayer funds.

Antioch resident Velma Wilson quoted Michelle Obama, then said “I am a proud parent of a special needs student. What I hear, my son would not be going to that charter school. My son has maintained a 4.0 GPA. He just got a $2,000 scholarship. Don’t tell me what our schools are not doing. They are making an impact. My daughter went through a major injury and bounced back. She carried three AP classes. I am so proud of every educator…they’re doing a bang-up job. I’m mad that someone would come and say otherwise.”

East Bay Tech Charter High School Petition Hearing

The Board then held a public hearing on the East Bay Tech Charter High School petition.

“I want to emphasize it is a public school, non-profit, public benefit,” said Moilalen. “I want to ensure this charter will be a success.”

Our students will walk out of East Bay Tech Academy and walk into a top university then into one of the many unfilled high-tech jobs.

She spoke of “rigor, relevance and relationship.”

“Why East Bay Tech is different?” Moilalen asked and then answered. “No student will fall behind. Technology will assist in monitoring ongoing progress…so students will not fall behind. As you heard charter schools are nimble. We will use flexibility afforded to charter schools. We are bringing a proven model of a high-performing charter school to Antioch. A high-performing college-prep choice.”

Public Comments

Dr. Terry Ramus, a local scientist and business owner was the first member of the public to speak.

“My wife and I have lived here for 27 years,” he said. “We raised three daughters who went through K-12. I speak in strong support of the East Bay Tech Academies. We need to provide more choices for parents to place…students in different school environments. I have toured both the Clayton school and other charter schools in the area. So, I’ve taken the time to learn more about it.”

“I also support Antioch public school,” he said. “So, you can be for charter schools. Let’s be real…we have had a lot of people who have left the community…we all know because they wanted other choices. Some sneak their kids out, now. So, what I am asking you do to is embrace it as another choice. Allow our parents to provide their students another option.”

Joshua Samuel gave an impassioned speech about education in Antioch and its effect on his son.

“I moved to Antioch a little over five years ago to start a high-tech business,” he stated. “I left behind my teenage son, Moses who attends a high-tech school in New York City. He came to live with me. I chose to put him in Deer Valley High and it was a disaster. He went from a top two-percent to a disaster. There is anecdotal evidence of why we need this school, my son Moses. I had to take him out and send him back to the East Coast. He had to leave Antioch. I couldn’t get him into Liberty or Heritage and you guys know why. He barely graduated out there because he fell so far behind. I missed out on raising him as a teenager.”

“Clayton Valley has proven that they can do the job,” Samuel continued. “We, as a community want this…need this…will support this all the way to its fruition.”

Liz Ritchie spoke of the connectedness between the middle school and high school. “I’ve also heard how Rocketship is looking to integrate with these programs,” she said. “It’s not really taken away from but adding to.”

Jennifer Alfonzo also spoke in favor, saying “I’m here tonight to ask you to approve the charter high school in Antioch. I feel like I’m missing out on all the time I have to commute to get my kids to school. I will continue to fight for our kids. Our Antioch families want to come home.”

“Money has been brought up from the other side,” she stated. “Nothing upsets me more when they bring up money when talking about the education of my children. My child is not a dollar sign to me.”

Kipp Penovich then spoke of the school’s governance, that the board will be appointed, and not locally controlled.

“In addition, when it comes to some money issues, well board members there is no restriction that they have to be local,” he said and then gave the example of Richard Asadoorian who lives in Oregon. This is about business, this is about money and this is about control.”

Student Clarissa Wilson spoke of her experience at Antioch High School where she has maintained over a 4.0.

“I am a student…who will be graduating with a full-ride scholarship. Antioch High has the oldest history of alumni who return as teachers. That says a lot.”

Sarah Savacol a teacher at Antioch High School said, “Charters. There are two kinds. For-profit and the not-for-profit, community organized type. We have one in Antioch. They are totally non-profit and they are a great addition to our Antioch Unified School District.”

“I can’t sleep if I don’t tell you for-profit charters, if you invite in a for-profit charter that is corrupt,” she stated. “Please ask the hard questions. Follow the money. Who is their CMO. Is there a millionaire behind it? I’m shocked. I’m embarrassed that someone runs one school and makes a ridiculous amount of money.”

Tammy Carr spoke against the charter petition, saying “I’m the Pittsburg Education Association President. Walter Ruehlig is one of my members. I’m here to speak in favor of public education. Education not profits should be the concern.”

Robert Strickler – Antioch teacher’s union representative said “I’m giving you an article, a report that came out less than two weeks ago, entitled ‘Fraud and waste in California charter schools.’ That’s your homework for the next two weeks.”

He spoke of a $6 billion investment in charter schools. “Most districts aren’t given adequate funding for oversight of charter schools,” Strickler stated. “An untold amount of public funding is being lost each year. Total fraud has reached over $149 million. Find out how much one person is making to run one school in the entire state.”

Kenneth Kent, a fifth-grade teacher at Kimball Elementary, said “Last time we had a corporate charter come into Antioch…we expressed grave reservations. But we pushed it through anyways. If there are reservations, vote ‘no’ until you’re fully satisfied.”

The woman named Julia spoke again, also against the high school charter petition.

“A charter is actually moving backward,” she said. “We’ve had centuries of that. Private charter schools are attacking the very existence of public schools. What do you do when your children are under attack? As a mother you protect. There are many studies that show charter schools hurt public schools. They wouldn’t be here begging for your vote. They’d be talking to wealthy people at Hilton Hotel. They are not public. They are private. If I want you to build me a school you would say ‘no.’ Put out their own money. Have some kind of consciousness.”

Velma Wilson also spoke against the charter petition.

“This is the same charter institution that came to take Dozier-Libbey from us, she said. “Now Dozier-Libbey has become one of the distinguished schools. So, clap it up. We must be doing something right.”

Willie Mims, a representative of the East County NAACP and Pittsburg Black Families Association said, “I will tell you this, if I were to offer you my opinion I would get in trouble with my organization. With the charter petition, they said there are 600 parents who have signed their petition. That should be of grave concern to you. What would make 600 parents sign a petition? So, you need to think about that. I heard folks talk about transparency and fraud. Follow the money. You need to follow the money in this school district. I don’t see too much transparency within the Antioch Unified School District. So, when you start throwing stones you need to look within.”

Hack then closed the public hearing.

The board will take up both petitions for votes at their meeting on May 9.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter