Earlier this month, the Anaheim City School District hit parents with a letter and robocall, signed and recorded by Superintendent Linda Wagner, warning them about “aggressive petition gatherers” who might “pressure them” while “they may not be telling you” all the facts about re-starting Palm Lane Elementary as a charter school — and oh, by the way, district staff “have been told” by unnamed sources that these unsavory characters are also bribing people for their for signatures!
Of course, the Parents of Palm Lane Elementary United (PPLEU) deny the unsubstantiated hearsay to which the ACSD leadership gave its imprimatur and blasted out to parents. It should also be noted that the school district never contacted PPLEU regarding the allegations, nor apparently were the allegations to the District Attorney’s Office per the latter’s request for such information – even though the school district must have been aware of these accusations at that time of the DA’s request.
So what is this petition that parents are being asked to sign? Given the scare tactics employed by opponents and detractors of this effort, reading the petition would be a important in order to have an intelligent discussion. You can click here to read a PDF; I have also reprinted the text of the petition below (minus the section for name, signature, etc.):
This is a Petition of Parents, Legal Guardians, and Persons Holding the Right to Make Educational Decisions for Pupils, including Foster Parents who hold rights to make educational decisions, to transform PALM LANE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in the ANAHEIM CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT into an independent charter school using the RESTART MODEL as described in CA Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, section 4804 and attached to this petition.
Under the Parent Empowerment provision in the California Education Code (section 53300-53303) parents have a right to petition a school district to transform an underperforming school. This petition seeks the signatures of the parents or legal guardians of pupils currently attending PALM LANE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in order to transform it using the RESTART MODEL.
PALM LANE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL is eligible for the Parent Empowerment law due to its inadequate academic performance, and through this petition, we, the parents, are seeking to transform our school to ensure every one of our children has access to the high-quality public education they deserve but are not currently receiving.
Although we have the right under the Parent Empowerment regulations to select a specific charter school operator in this petition, we are declining to do so at this time. Instead, we intend to exercise our power under CCR, Title 5, section 4802.2 to solicit proposals from potential charter school operators and select the charter school operator that will transform our school after we successfully submit petitions to the school district representing 50% or more of our school’s enrollment. The final selection of the charter school operator will be made by a vote of the petitioners according to the process outlined in an attachment to this petition.
[SIDEBAR] To transform your underperforming school, please fill out the sections below for each child whom you will be representing. Your address is optional. For more information, all interested persons, the school district, and others should contact:
(1) Padres de Palm Lane Elementary United
(2) California Center for Parent Empowerment
Process for solicitation and selection of independent charter school
According to section 4802.2(d) of the implementing regulations for the Parent Empowerment law, upon declaration from the district that it has adopted the restart model without a named charter school operator, the Los Angeles Unified School District will notify the petitioners that they may solicit and select a charter school operator. The petitioners will have up to 90 days to make their selection. In order to facilitate this selection
process, the Parents of Palm Lane Elementary (Padres de Palm Lane Elementary) – circulators of this petition – will conduct a vote amongst parents who signed the petition in order to select a charter school operator, and that vote will be binding upon the petitioners’ selection. The selection will be made by majority (or plurality, if a majority does not exist) of the parents who cast ballots in the voting process.
PARENT EMPOWERMENT REGULATIONS
§ 4804. Description of Intervention – Restart Model.
A restart model is one in which an LEA converts a school or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization (CMO), or an education management organization (EMO) that has been selected through a rigorous review process. (A CMO is a non-profit organization that operates or manages charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools. An EMO is a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides “whole-school operation” services to an LEA.) A restart model must enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend the school.
NOTE: Authority cited: Section 33031, Education Code. Reference: Sections 53202 and 53300, Education Code; and 20 U.S.C. Section 6301.
There you have it. Again – real radical stuff.