June 2023 ACCS - Item 3 Public Comment 2Public Comment 2 received for Agenda Item 3 of the June 13, 2023, Advisory Commission on Charter Schools meeting.
The following information was provided on California Charter Schools Association letterhead. Except when needed for accessibility purposes, no corrections to spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors have been made. The Charter Schools Division understands the following acronyms to mean: TK = transitional kindergarten; CDE = California Department of Education.
To receive a copy of the below communication in its original format, contact the Charter Schools Division by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 9, 2023
RE: Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS), June 2023, Agenda Item 03 New Pacific School
Dear Chair Walsh and ACCS Commissioners,
On behalf of the California Charter Schools Association (“CCSA”) and the 1300 charter schools we serve, we are writing to support New Pacific School-Yuba City (“NPS”). We strongly agree with the assessment and recommendation from the California Department of Education (“CDE”) that NPS has submitted sufficient evidence to establish a basis for the State Board of Education (“SBE”) to hear the appeal, and agree that there are no grounds to summarily deny the appeal.
AB 1505 ensured a fair and impartial review of charter petitions by assigning specific roles to both the ACCS and the SBE. The ACCS is charged solely with holding a public hearing to review the appeal and the documentary record and make one of two decisions:
- Determine if there is sufficient evidence that an abuse of discretion occurred and therefore recommend the SBE hear the appeal, or
- Determine there is not sufficient evidence that an abuse of discretion occurred and therefore recommend that the SBE summarily deny review of the appeal
NPS will serve approximately 212 students in grades TK-9 by its third year of operation, eventually growing to TK-12. Pacific Charter Institute, which will operate the school, has a distinguished track record of meeting the needs of learners who need an individualized approach to learning. The learning environment at NPS – Yuba City will continue this tradition by welcoming students who have struggled with bullying, connectedness, depression, chronic absenteeism, suspensions, or low-academic performance. Further, NPS – Yuba City will offer students accelerated learning, project-based learning, and learning in the community that students’ previous schools did not offer.
Key Elements to be offered by NPS – Yuba City include:
- Project-based Learning
- Individualized Learning Plans
- Social Emotional Learning
- College and Career Readiness
NPS – Yuba City will be a K-12 learning community where students are empowered to be self-directed scholars, connected to themselves and others as a whole-child and encouraged to embark on a rigorous, personalized learning plan. It is the school’s belief that this best occurs when all levels of the community—students, parents, teachers, staff—collaborate to support whole-child success.
Unfortunately, NPS – Yuba City was denied the right to a fair hearing at both the local district and county level. As further described in the NPS Written Submission, there were both procedural and substantive abuses of discretion that occurred at both hearings. Those abuses of discretion include the following:
- The Sutter County Board of Education (“SCBOE”) abused its discretion in denying NPS – Yuba City’s charter petition appeal by not adopting written factual findings as part of its action to deny the charter. This action was unlawful, as it contravened Section 47605(c) which explicitly states that any action to deny a charter petition requires “written” factual findings supporting one or more of the eight permissible statutory findings for denial—which the documentary record demonstrates did not occur.
- The SCBOE action was also procedurally unfair, as NPS had no opportunity to respond to findings for denial (since the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools’ staff report recommended approval), which violates Education Code Section 47605(b).
- The post hoc written factual findings for denial, drafted by individual County Board members and not approved by SCBOE, were entirely lacking in evidentiary support.
- The Yuba City Unified School District Board of Education abused its discretion in denying NPS – Yuba City’s charter petition because it adopted findings of fact that were unlawful and also entirely lacking in evidentiary support.
- SCBOE abused its discretion in denying NPS – Yuba City charter petition appeal in failing to proceed in a manner required by law because it did not provide a fair and impartial hearing process.
Given these clear abuses of discretion, CDE staff is correct in recommending State Board of Education review of this matter. We thank you for your careful consideration of this item and urge you to vote in support of the CDE recommendation.
If you have any questions regarding our position on this matter or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me at (email@example.com).