Archive for May, 2019

11-year-old boy saved from drowning at Antioch Water Park Tuesday morning

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Screenshot from KTVU Fox2 news report of emergency rescue personnel attending to the boy at the Antioch Water Park, Tues., May 28, 2019.

By Sgt. Rick Smith, Antioch Police Field Services – Patrol

On Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 11:22 A.M., Antioch Police Officers responded with medical personnel from Contra Costa Fire to the Antioch Water Park facility at 4701 Lone Tree Way, for a possible drowning. The victim, an 11-year-old male juvenile, was at the park with a group for an end of the school year function. He was found by Antioch Water Park lifeguards at the bottom of one of the pools. He was pulled from the pool and medical treatment was performed by the water park lifeguards.

It is believed he had been under water for only a few minutes. He was breathing, but non-responsive when CCC Fire Personnel arrived and took over his care. The juvenile was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital. As of this writing, he was awake and alert and being held for observation only.

No further information will be released at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch Council to consider LGBT Pride month resolution, flying rainbow flag at city hall in June, during Tuesday night’s meeting

Monday, May 27th, 2019

Will also hold budget study session before regular meeting begins

By Allen Payton

Following the unprecedented action taken by the Antioch School Board last week to recognize June as LGBTQ Pride Month and fly the rainbow “pride” flag at district offices and schools, the Antioch City Council will consider adopting a similar resolution at their meeting Tuesday night, May 28.

This isn’t the first time the council has adopted a resolution to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month, as they did so last year, as well. That resolution was approved on a 5-0 vote and signed by Mayor Sean Wright. But this year, for the first time, flying the rainbow flag at city hall has been included in the resolution.

According to Councilman Lamar Thorpe, it was requested to be included by Jack Rednour-Bruckman, who lives in Antioch “with her wife and three kids” and “is Executive Director of the Rainbow Center in Concord. The proposed language came from Jackie.”

She was also one of only two people who spoke at last week’s Antioch School Board meeting and supported their similar action.

“I’m not sure why the flag language was included in the actual resolution because it’s not enforceable,” Thorpe continued. “We could have easily flown the flag without the resolution.”

Asked how could city staff fly any other flag than the U.S., state or city flag without council approval, he responded, “I guess since they’ve never been asked to fly a flag is probably why they put the language in the resolution and have the council make the ultimate decision. Makes sense.”

When reminded that the MIA/POW flag has flown at city hall in the past, Thorpe responded, “Personally, I think it’s fine. If the American Legion requested their flag flown as part of their recent resolution in honor of their 100-year anniversary, I would have been fine with it.”

“I’ve supported all requests by citizens and groups for resolutions,” he added. “Don’t think I’ve ever voted ‘no’.”

Asked if this opens the door to the city flying other controversial flags, Thorpe responded, “I think the proclamation process is the process. But not for every little thing. It should be of national or state significance, like widely accepted traditions. Pride month, women’s history, black history, Latino, and/or education like Autism awareness, breast cancer, etc. But, not for individuals.”

“I’m just not sure we’ve had a proclamation that’s controversial,” he continued. “In my three years on the council no one has ever reached out to say don’t support a resolution for this or that group. The flag is merely an extension of a proclamation. It’s a symbol of an action we took.”

“I also believe that the city, however, should not bear the cost of the flag. The organization should supply the flag,” Thorpe added. “The U.S. flag is a symbol of our democratic republic. The same thing is true here. Flying the ‘pride’ flag symbolizes the city action to resolve the idea that we are a community open to the LGBTQ community.”

Asked if this takes the recognition to a new level, he responded, “From my perspective we took it to a new level a few years ago. The pride flag at this point is merely symbolic of our actions.”

“Those are just my feelings. Folks may have a different opinion,” Thorpe concluded.

Mayor Sean Wright said he wanted the flag to just be flown for one day. But that wasn’t acceptable to other council members and suggested asking City Manager Ron Bernal about who requested the flag flying be included in this year’s resolution.

“He spoke to each council member and I am not privy to his discussions with them,” he said.

Asked if this opens the city to flying other controversial flags, Wright responded, “That was why we did not fly the flag in previous years. Other city attorneys have argued that cities have discretion and can choose. I read a few other city attorneys’ recommendations and they run the gamut.”

An attempt during the weekend to reach Bernal for comment was unsuccessful.

The resolution reads as follows with the added language in this year’s language in bold:



WHEREAS, the City of Antioch has a diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community and is committed to supporting visibility, dignity and equality for all people in the community; and

WHEREAS, many of the residents, students, city employees, and business owners within the City of Antioch who contribute to the enrichment of our City are a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community; and

WHEREAS, various advancements have been made with respect to equitable treatment of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons throughout the nation, but there continues to be some opposition against people from this community and around the world making it important for cities like Antioch to stand up and show support for our residents who are affected; and

WHEREAS, several cities across the United States recognize and celebrate June as LGBT Pride Month; and

WHEREAS, June has become a symbolic month in which lesbian women, gay men, bisexual people, transgender people, and supporters come together in various celebrations of pride; and

WHEREAS, the rainbow flag, also known as the LGBT pride flag or gay pride flag, has been used since the 1970’s as a symbol of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender pride and LGBT social movements; and

WHEREAS, flying the rainbow flag at City Hall throughout the month of June further symbolizes the City’s celebration of diversity and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SEAN WRIGHT, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby declare the month of June as LGBT Pride Month in the City of Antioch, and invite everyone to reflect on ways we all can live and work together with a commitment to mutual respect and understanding, and further, recognizes Pride Month by flying the rainbow flag at City Hall during the month of June.

MAY 28, 2019

The matter is the first item on the agenda, immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance, for the regular meeting that begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 200 H Street between W. 2nd and 3rd Streets in downtown Antioch. The public is allowed to speak on the matter before the council takes their vote. The meeting can also be viewed on Comcast Local Cable Channel 24 or online on the city’s website. Prior to that, the council will hold a General Fund Budget study session beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Delta Blitz operation on Sunday, May 26

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Photo by CCCSheriff.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

With the start of boating season this weekend, the Marine Services Unit of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is hosting a Delta Blitz on Sunday, May 26, 2019.

Numerous local, state, and federal agencies will be taking part in this operation and will focus on boating safety, education and enforcement in the Delta.

The ‘ABC’s of Boating’, a handbook of boating rules, is available from most boating shops. Boaters can go to the California Division of Boating and Waterways website at for information on boating safety and the California Boater Card. If anyone has any questions about boating safety, please contact the Marine Services Unit at (925) 427-8507.

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Teenager shot Friday night, Antioch police seek shooter

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

By Corporal James Colley #4705, Antioch Police Field Services Division

On Friday, May 24, 2019 at approximately 7:07 pm, Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to 3400 Delta Fair Boulevard (Kaiser) to a report of a male gunshot victim. Upon arrival officers located the male who was suffering from a single gunshot. It was determined the shooting happened at a different unknown location in Antioch. The male was transported to a local Bay Area hospital and is in stable condition.

The male gunshot victim had limited information and no suspect(s) have been identified.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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State of the City improving, Antioch violent crime down, mayor shares accomplishments, vision

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Mayor Sean Wright gave an impassioned and at times emotional presentation about the accomplishments and his vision during the annual State of the City luncheon on Friday, May 10, 2019. Photo by Allen Payton

By Allen Payton

During the annual State of the City luncheon, on May 10th, Antioch Chief of Police Tammany Brooks shared good news about the continued decrease in violent crime, City Manager Ron Bernal spoke of all the accomplishments over the past year, and an impassioned Mayor Sean Wright offered his positive vision for the city, for now and the future.

The event, sponsored by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, was well attended by a couple hundred business and community leaders, and held at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park.

First to speak was Chief Brooks who pointed out the decrease in violent crimes, known as Part I crimes by the FBI, from 2013 to 2018.

He shared the statistic from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice that Antioch has experienced a decrease in Part I crimes of 20.8% from early 2017 to early 2018, while 17 other cities in California saw an increase for the same time period.

Brooks talked about implementing “intelligence-led policing” stating, “A crime prevented is better than a crime solved.”

He also spoke about the Antioch Police Department’s new unmanned aerial vehicle program, using a drone with heat sensors.

Finally, Brooks shared his approach as chief.

“What I’ve tried to do is instill hope in people. Help them realize that Antioch is moving in the right direction and becoming a safer community,” he said. “That perception…is what I’m trying to get people to change…by improving relationships and the public safety of our community.”

Bernal followed with an overview and listing of a variety of accomplishments by the city during the past year and spent time praising his staff and the council.

“We have an amazing Chief,” he said. “He’s passionate and very smart. Mostly he cares about our community and his police force.”

“Antioch, we are on the move. Antioch opportunity lives here. Antioch. The best is yet to come.” Bernal stated, using some of the themes from the city’s new branding campaign. “Do you believe that?”

He spoke about some of the new ordinances adopted by the council in the past two years, saying “They’re mostly focused on making a better quality of life for our city.”

Bernal also spoke about some of the projects the city is working on including the $60 million brackish water desalination plant.

He touched on the city’s new Vision plan for the next 10 years and the new Downtown Specific Plan.

Bernal spoke about the new single- and multi-family housing projects approved, as well as new restaurants, businesses and the Rocketship charter school that have opened or been approved.

He also shared about the regional efforts the city participates in, including the Delta 6 and EC2 (squared), as well as community events and efforts.

The city manager briefly touched on litigation including suing the state over the WaterFix Delta tunnels project and how it would negatively impact our water supply.

Bernal spoke about the communication efforts of the city including the new websites, SeeClickFix and rebranding.

He also spoke about the council’s task forces and ad hoc committees including the Homeless Encampment committee, Youth Services Task Force and the Sesquicentennial committee being formed to plan the celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary in 2022

“We’re planning a year of events that the whole city can get involved in,” Bernal said. “The Council has committed some funds to that and they’re hoping to bring the (July 4th) fireworks back downtown to the waterfront.”

Finally, Bernal referred to the new Vision and Strategic Plan to help make Antioch “a greener community, to provide jobs, this is the blueprint for it” copies of which were provided to each guest at the luncheon.

Mayor Wright was the final speaker, enthusiastically sharing about Antioch, and his vision or the city’s future.

“We are now at 105 police officers. That’s phenomenal,” he said. “We have a council that is running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace. We are asking stuff for so much. Our citizens deserve it, for Antioch to be the place people want to move.”

“He thanked the community for voting for Measure U,” Wright continued. “We’re pushing to get us to one police officer per 1,000 (population). It’s where we need to be. But it will get us to 115 officers.”
He spoke about improving landscape maintenance and increased youth services.

“Right now we have the most youth in Contra Costa County,” he stated. “We’re in talks with the mall. Turning the old 24-Hour Fitness into a boys and girls club. Right here (at the community center), as a drop-in center. Then on the other side of town, with Templo Santo on E. 18th Street…with indoor soccer fields.”

“People ask me, ‘Mayor Wright what keeps you up at night? What makes you worry?’” he shared. “Jobs. How do we create the jobs that we need here, locally?”

“The second thing that I say is the homeless,” Wright said emotionally, choking up a bit. “We have a rising affordability crisis in the Bay Area. We have people in our community who are in need of help. What are we doing as a community…as a council?”

“The problem is…we have no infrastructure,” he explained. “Every dime we get (from the state) goes to build the infrastructure. Whereas other communities that have the infrastructure, the money they get goes to programs. So, we got to keep fighting. I’m not going to say $3 million is bad. It will help us build a 24-hour care center.”

“We have the Family Justice Center that will be locating next to Raley’s,” Wright shared. “As we keep fighting, we can help the one” referring to the story of the beach full of starfish and how, while someone can’t help all of them back into the ocean, they can at least help one.

Speaking about jobs he said, “We’ve hired an Economic Development Director…to go out and find businesses.”

“People say ‘you’re wasting money on marketing,’” Wright shared. “You either market your business and succeed or you don’t market and die. When you get on BART you now here ‘Antioch train.’”

“People say, ‘you can’t put lipstick on a pig,’” he said. “If that’s what you think about Antioch, we’re not going to change your mind. We have beautiful hills with walking trails. We have a beautiful waterfront.”

“What do people in other parts of the Bay Area think about Antioch?” Wright asked. “They don’t think about Antioch. So, there’s a wide-open vessel that we can brand and market to. Opportunity Lives Here. So, when they’re looking for a place to locate their business that’s affordable, they’ll think about Antioch.

“People ask how come you don’t fill your office space?” he said. “Why? Because it’s cheaper to locate in Walnut Creek. Their buildings are already paid off. We have to build. We have to change the economics and create the affordability in our office space, too. Why? Because we have the workers, here.”

“You have to show a developer there is money to be made and they will come,” Wright continued. “If we show them there is an opportunity and make it easier to get through city hall, they will come.”

The mayor spoke about the Nokes-Antioch Auto Center tax sharing agreement, the new Granite Expo, Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill and Guadalajara Taqueria, “which is open until 9:00 p.m. every night in downtown.”

“I want 10 restaurants downtown. We have Guadalajara Taqueria, Solid Rock Café,” he stated. “We need enough there, there.”

Wright mentioned a “potential public/private ferry service” coming to the Antioch waterfront.

He shared his vision of a river walk saying, “This is a 10-year, 20-year project. But if we don’t start planning it, now 10 year from now it won’t be done.”

He shared about the Somersville area.

“We just approved a $32 million apartment overhaul. The owner of the old FoodMaxx is looking at tearing down the building and putting in a new $100 million project,” Wright said. “We’re working with the mall about what they want to do there. The sky is the limit.”

He spoke about Opportunity Zones approved by the Trump administration. “Doing a 1031 exchange with properties…but, build and then hold for 10 years” in “the BART area, the Wilbur corridor, and the Somersville corridor.”

Wright mentioned the efforts of the county’s Northern Waterfront Development Initiative.

“The DuPont site in Oakley has 100 flat acres with a huge, big company coming to the area,” he said.

He spoke about the cannabis overlay district and that “Antioch is centrally located to Sacramento and the Central Valley. If you want to do manufacturing, distribution, this is the place.”

Wright spoke about the BART area and the Vierra Railroad overcrossing.

“It’s a $40 million project. Big developers are speaking with the property owner, right now,” he shared. “BART has put us on the map. It connects us to San Francisco like we’ve never been connected. We’re going to see 800 more parking spaces in two years.”

He spoke about the new senior, gated community in the Sand Creek Area, “the city’s first.”

Wright spoke about the new Deer Valley Park, where the former Roddy Ranch Golf Course was located.

“The East Bay Regional Park District manager said it would be about 10 years. We lobbied and we won. It will be open in two to three years,” he exclaimed. “That’s still too long for me. But we’ll have a park up there, with handicapped access trails.”

“We are driving forward to make this the place in the Bay Area people want to live,” Wright continued. “When I ran, I was frustrated that all my friends were selling their homes and moving. The reason I ran was because I wanted to make this the place where people want to live not get away from. Where we love each other. Where diversity lives and thrives. We all live together. I’m excited to be a part of that community.”

“Ron was saying we want to make it that place. I say it is that place,” Wright concluded. “Let’s just make it better.”

Chamber CEO Richard Pagano closed out the event thanking the attendees and speaker. He then stated, “the city’s branding effort is unprecedented. People want to be here.”


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Suspect in death of woman in Antioch home Sunday identified, charged with murder

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Hang Lin. Photo by APD

By Sergeant James Stenger #3604, Antioch Police Violent Crimes Unit (Investigations)

On Sunday, May 19, 2019 at approximately 2:48 AM, the Antioch Police Department responded to a disturbance in the 4500 block of Big Horn Court. When Antioch Police Department Patrol officers arrived on scene, the 30-year-old female victim, from Antioch, was found suffering from numerous stab wounds. 32-year-old Hang Lin, also of Antioch, was contacted at the scene and it was determined that he was in a domestic relationship with the victim. (See related article.)

Ultimately, Lin was arrested after a coordinated effort and investigation revealed he was responsible for the victim’s death. The Antioch Police Department wishes to thank the Contra Costa County Crime Lab for their assistance with this investigation.

On Wed., May 22, 2019, this case was presented to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Lin was charged with murder, along with a weapons enhancement for using a knife to cause the victim’s death. Lin is currently being held in custody at the Contra Costa County Jail.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925)778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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AUSD Board approves LGBTQ Pride Month resolution on 3-2 vote

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Split over raising rainbow “pride” flag at district schools and offices

By Allen Payton

The Antioch School Board approved adoption of a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month and flying the rainbow “pride” flag at the district offices and at each school in the district.

“This is the first year we are bringing this resolution forward. We believe it’s important,” said Superintendent Stephanie Anello. “A lot of people don’t know that 10% of the population are represented in this demographic.”

“I want to thank Superintendent. It really made me proud to be part of this district,” said Trustee Ellie Householder. “We’ve seen an increase in hate crimes of LGBTQ youth…and contemplate suicide at three times the rate of heterosexual youth.”

She also asked to have the LGTBQ Pride Flag be raised at the district, for at least the first week of the month, and clauses added to the resolution.

“I’m pleased to see this resolution,” said Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White. “in addition to the resolution my suggestion is a workshop for teachers, this fall, for counseling and to support the students throughout the school year. Their parents don’t understand where they’re coming from. They don’t even feel human. This is the time to address this in 2019.”

“We have offered training in the past, it is scheduled again in the fall,” Anello said.

However, both

“I agree this is a wonderful resolution,” Trustee Mary Rocha said. “But if we put up one flag, we need parameters or we’ll be putting up different flags.”

“We don’t have a policy on flags going up,” Anello. “I do believe we need to treat all groups similar. To codify that into policy, I would recommend that to the board.”

“I fully support the group. I think it’s a wonderful resolution,” Board Vice President Diane Gibson-Gray. “But it opens a door we’re not ready to open with this resolution at this time. I’m going to recommend we don’t raise a flag with this one.”

“I did some research into this. The California Ed Code recognizes this month as LGBTQ Awareness Month,” Householder responded.

“Does the flag go up at all school or just one spot?” Rocha asked.

“Will it be the African American resolution or the Black History Month resolution or the Autism Awareness resolution,” asked Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White. “That’s three right there.”

“This resolution doesn’t necessarily say we’re definitely going to raise this flag, it represents this district’s celebration of diversity,” Householder argued.

She also asked for a celebration and a flag raising, then think about it for next year.

“The week after (next) the city council is also doing a flag raising, as well,” Householder stated.

“This costs us so little and it means the world to them and it’s a matter of life and death,” she added. “The impact this will have for our young people and the community as a whole.”

Only two people spoke during public comments, both in favor of the resolution.

“You’re opening a door to my closet,” said Deb Hubbard, Vice President of the Antioch Education Association and a teacher at Antioch Middle School for 12 years. “I’m 58. I started in this district when I was 36. When I was about 32 I came out to my parents. They were good, Christian Lutherans dragging me to church. My parents said you are our daughter, Deb we love you know matter what. I was lucky. I was blessed. I didn’t even come out to my colleagues until Rachel Zinn at Dallas Ranch.”

She spoke about being bullied by students.

“Please open this door to the closet for all of our students,” Hubbard said. “We are 10% of the population. We are 10% of the Irish, of the KKK, 10% of the autistic kids. We have 16,500 students in this district…1,650 students are gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer whatever you want to call it.”

“For those of you worried about flying it at elementary schools, honey, I can’t make a straight person gay any more than you can make me straight,” she continued. “Grow some courage and put the flag up at the district and every single school.”

“I will vote no if it has the revision,” Gibson-Gray said. “I will vote yes without the revision.”

The resolution including the language regarding flying the rainbow “pride” flag passed 3-2 with Gibson-Gray and Rocha voting no.

The resolution reads as follows:

Antioch Unified School District Board of Education

RESOLUTION 2018-19-31


LGBTQ Pride Month

June 2019

 Whereas, June is a time to celebrate our dynamic LGBTQ community, raise awareness of quality services, and foster a dialogue to promote healthy, safe, and prosperous school climates and communities for all; and

Whereas, all children and youth should be able to attend school in a safe and inclusive environment free from discrimination, and civil rights laws contribute to such environments; and

Whereas, explicit federal statutory protections currently address discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, but not sexual orientation or gender identity; and

Whereas, the lack of awareness and understanding of issues facing LGBTQ children and youth has contributed to higher rates of school dropout, academic failure, and school disengagement; and

Whereas, education regarding LGBTQ issues increases understanding and cultivates respect for LGBTQ children and youth; and

Whereas, harassment and bullying policies that specifically mention sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are associated with: students feeling more safe; lower levels of bullying; decreased incidents of harassment related to sexual orientation; increased teacher/staff interventions; and a greater reporting of incidents; and

Whereas, Board Policy 5145.9 prohibits discrimination in its programs and activities based on gender or sexual orientation, among other characteristics; and

Whereas, the rainbow flag, also known as the LGBT pride flag, serves as a symbol of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender pride and LGBT social movement; and

Whereas, flying the rainbow flag throughout the month of June further symbolizes the District’s celebration of diversity and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Antioch Unified School District recognizes the month of June 2019 as LGBTQ Pride Month to inspire equity, create alliances, celebrate diversity, and establish a safe environment in our schools and community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be distributed to every school in the District.

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Antioch School Board votes to accept Rocketship’s responses to notices of violation

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Rocketship students cheer during the Antioch School Board meeting on Wed., May 22, 2019. Screenshot of televised meeting on YouTube.

Includes probationary period through next school year

By Allen Payton

At the Antioch School Board meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 the trustees unanimously approved a resolution to conditionally accept Rocketship Delta Prep Charter School’s responses to the notices of violation over failure to provide proper financial reports and in a timely manner. Antioch USD-Resolution 2018-19-35 Conditionally Accept Responses to Notices of Violation

“It would bring to a close a process that started in February,” said the district’s attorney. “Although the responses provide explanations…they do acknowledge that violations occurred. It is our …which would keep the charter school open and treat the remainder of this school year and the 2019-2020 school year as a probation period, and require the charter school to comply with conditions in the resolution.”

Those conditions include that they “timely submit to the board all financial reports.”

According to the staff report, “On February 27, 2019, the Board of Education approved…a Notice of Violation for numerous violations including missing audit timelines required by the State Controller’s Office, and submitting an untimely audit containing findings that the Rocketship organization failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, engaged in fiscal mismanagement, and inappropriately placed non-credentialed teachers in classrooms. Additionally, the Notice of Violation outlined concerns regarding AUSD’s inability to verify that teachers in RDP classrooms are appropriately credentialed.

On April 10, 2019, the Board approved Resolution 2018-19-26, which authorized the District to issue the Charter School a Second Notice of Violation for submitting a second interim budget report on March 15, 2019 that indicated the school would be insolvent and unable to meet its financial obligations for the next three years.

Rocketship responded timely to the Notices of Violation on April 1, 2019 and May 13, 2019 respectively. The responses acknowledge that several violations did in fact occur. However, the responses and supporting documentation also offer explanations as to how the violations have or will be remedied.  To ensure RDP follows through with their remedial plans and corrects their actions, the Administration recommends that the Board’s Acceptance of the Charter School’s responses to each Notice of Violation be conditioned on the Charter School’s compliance with specific requirements during a period of probation. These requirements include, but are not limited to, AUSD’s increased access and oversight of Special Education and English Learner programs, and amending the MOU requiring RDP to reimburse the District for the actual costs of staff time and resources to provide said oversight.”

Following public comments from AUSD teachers, parents of Rocketship students and some of the students, repeating many of the comments from both sides during previous meetings, the board took up the issue.

“I’ve said this all along, it’s an administrative issue and it sounds like it’s been worked out,” said Trustee Diane Gibson Gray. “I didn’t hear anything from Rocketship that they disagreed with the resolution. The resolution has been worked out between the two groups and I’m prepared to vote for the resolution.”

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank Stephanie Anello, the cabinet and staff, as well as the community and Rocketship for working so tirelessly on this topic,” said Trustee Ellie Householder. “I’m very comfortable with this outcome and I’m very hopeful for the future in just kind of building more collaborations. This tension has opened up a lot in our community for discussion, really difficult discussions, often times. I think we’re kind of crossing a bridge and we’re getting to a place where things are going to be a lot more collaborative, going forward.”

Trustee Mary Rocha was next to share her thoughts.

“I appreciate, and I’ve said it before, your parents are excellent. We weren’t here to go against what you’re doing with your children and your program. It’s the idea that we’re responsible and we had to follow through,” she said. “But, I also feel a little bit uncomfortable…having the thought that you talked about work together and collaboration…yet, after you talked with the superintendent, you went straight to the city council and denounced us as not working with you and that we didn’t want to be with you, at all. I don’t think that’s fair.”

“If we’re going to go forward, we can’t go against each other, and we can’t divide the city, with the school on one side and the city on the other. We need to work together for our children, not for us and our egos.”

“I toured the school prior to the last board meeting,” said Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White. “To have this choice aside from the district is a good thing. Because his particular school is addressing kids of color and they are reading at a certain grade level that’s quite impressive, based on what we’re hearing, here. What I observed is a brand new school that’s bringing something great to the city. I see parents in the classroom volunteering. That’s not happening in the public school sector, here. I am very impressed with Rocketship. So, I am in agreement with the resolution.”

“You know the reality is, this has never been about program at your school,” Board President Gary Hack stated. “This is about notices of violation of things you needed to do that you didn’t do in a timely manner. That’s your corporate leadership in many ways.”

The board voted 5-0 to approve the main resolution, and four supporting resolutions, ending the controversy that’s plagued both the Rocketship school in Antioch and the school board meetings over the past several months.

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