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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Valley Oak Charter School Withdraws Appeal of DJUSD Denial


The Vanguard received a copy of a letter from Mike Egan of the Valley Oak Charter School (VOCS) Founding Group to County Superintendent of Schools Jorge Ayala.

In it the VOCS announces they are withdrawing their appeal of the DJUSD's denial of our charter petition. They also announce that they "will refine the petition, consolidate our efforts and resubmit a new petition to DJUSD in order to be able to implement the school we have contemplated in the 2009-10 school year."

Late last week, the County Office of Education in a Summary Report recommended the County Board of Education reject the charter petition, however, they also offered to have additional dialogue in order to bridge the gap between the proposal and concerns of County Staff. Given the late date however, it would have been difficult for VOCS to accommodate that request.
"We have reviewed the Yolo Countv Office of Education Summary Report Regarding Charter School Petition(s) Appeal Provided by your office. While we appreciate Associate Superintendent Legnitto's offer for additional dialogue, given the preliminary conclusions contained in the Report, the time left before the Board meeting on the 2oth and the type of charter school we desire to establish in the community of Davis, we do not believe an appeal would be the appropriate course to take at this time."
Given the concerns raised by both the county and DJUSD, the petitioners suggest that they will go a different route.
"While we disagree with many of the conclusions contained in the report, and believe our petitions are viable, it is clear that neither the DJUSD Board nor the YCOE Charter School Review Team is prepared to agree. Under the circumstances, even if we were to be authorized by the Yolo County Board of Education or by the State Board of Education, within the current environment of opposition it would be difficult to meet the expectations of our community, our parents, or our staff. Instead, we will continue to work with charter development groups in considering the ostensible reasons for denial contained in the DJUSD resolution and in the YCOE Report. We will refine the petition, consolidate our efforts and resubmit a new petition to DJUSD in order to be able to implement the school we have contemplated in the 2009-1 0 school year."
The petitioners also reiterated their goal of providing "a unique school for a unique neighborhood."
"We believe that VOCS is designed to serve an ethnically, linguistically and economically diverse community unique in Davis, that the staff that support the school have created a strong collaborative culture that should be maintained and that VOCS is a proven educational model designed from a shared vision of success for all students. We remain committed to our mission, to those objectives, and to that goal. To have a school that does anything less would be a disservice to the community, students and staff who have supported the VOCS effort."
The Vanguard remains a strong supporter of both Valley Oak and the Valley Oak Charter School. We are greatly saddened by this news as we have been following this issue for well over a year now and have come to know and appreciate many of the families, children, and teachers that make Valley Oak such a great school for all involved. During these trying times of budget crises, the Vanguard wishes to remind the school board of DJUSD that the future of these wonderful children are in your hands. Many of these students are among the most vulnerable in this entire district and Valley Oak afforded many of them a place not only to learn, but a place where they could excel. We should never let these children and these families down. Sadly this closes a chapter now in the history of this great school district, it is my hope that that chapter can be reborn in the coming years and that we can fulfill our commitment to educate all of our children--including those most vulnerable.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting