Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Julian High School District starts a non-classroom-based elementary charter school in National City

Lesson in paperwork
Robert Moreno
Chula Vista Star-News
Aug 09 2014

Two school districts are heading to court over the legal status of a new charter school in National City.

Attorney Gretchen Shipley filed a writ of mandate July 25 on behalf of the National School District alleging that the Julian Union School District illegally placed a charter school at 2400 Euclid Ave.

Shipley cites in court records that the Julian school district is in violation of section 47605 of the California Education Code for its yet-to-open charter school, Beacon Classical Academy Elementary.

Chris Carson, assistant superintendent of business for the National School District, said that the school district was supposed to be given notice of Beacon’s intent to locate within the National School District’s boundaries.

He also said Beacon was supposed to attempt to locate a facility within Julian’s boundaries, which he said they never did and therefore are in violation of an education code.

He said since the National School District was not notified about the charter, the Julian Union School District is also in violation of California Education code.

Code 47605 (a) states: “A petition for the establishment of a charter school shall identify a single charter that will operate within the geographic boundaries of that charter.”

Shipley wrote in court documents that the Julian Union School District did not identify a single charter school that will operate within the geographic boundaries of the Julian Union School District.

Instead Julian Union School District authorized the charter to operate outside its boundaries and within the National School District’s boundaries.

Shipley turned down an interview request because the case is in litigation.

Dr. Alma Van Nice, founder and executive director of the classical academy, said the education code does not apply to Beacon because it is not a school site.

“Beacon Classical Academy is an independent study charter school that was authorized by Julian Union School District,” Van Nice said.

“An independent study charter program is also referred to as a non-classroom-based program because the instruction can take place in the child’s home, the community and at the resource center.”

Van Nice said independent funding for the charter school is not based on attendance but rather on performance.

Carson said the National School District is not against charter schools, but against charter schools that don’t follow the proper rules.

“We want them to adhere to the same rules as any district,” Carson said. “We ask that the Julian school district revoke their charter on the grounds that they are violating the education code in the charter petition.”

In court documents, Shipley said that the Julian school district continues to ignore the laws of the California Education Code despite a cease and desist notice.

“Julian Union School District and Beacon have and are continuing to willfully ignore and violate the Charter Schools Act, when Beacon decided to open its school in the jurisdictional boundaries of petitioner without any notice or effort to comply with the geographic restrictions of the CSA and this action is necessary to compel their compliance with it,” she states.

“Both entities have failed and refused to comply with the law, despite notice of violations and a request for remedy by any or all of them.”

The charter school is set to open Aug. 8.

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