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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: An Inside View of Einstein Academy’s Charter Hearing | 12-12-2012
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Commentary by Kevin Korenthal
| Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012
Kevin D. Korenthal

Kevin D. Korenthal

Eighty school officials, parents, teachers and students of the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts & Sciences enthusiastically appeared at the Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey on Tuesday for the hearing on appeal of the denial of their K-6 petition to the Saugus Union School District.

The hearing, conducted by the Los Angeles County Board of Education, was the next step in an appeals process that could result in the approval of the school to begin educating K-6 children under the supervision of the County Office of Education.

The agenda gave Einstein officials 10 minutes to make their initial presentation, followed by 10 minutes of comments, each, for supporters and opponents of the charter.

AEA used its 10 minutes of presentation time to highlight features of its exemplary charter petition and to call on the Board of Education to recognize the Saugus Union School District’s unwillingness to entertain charters in the district.

Eleven-year-old Daniella, a prospective K-6 student who suffers from an immune deficiency that keeps her out of school for extended periods, also presented. She described how Einstein’s educational methods and its staff were uniquely qualified to work with her and her family to ensure that her special needs were not a hindrance to her education or social development.

einstein121112The Saugus District sent its most outspoken critics of the school, including the president of the district’s teachers’ union, to give testimony as to why the district turned down the Einstein petition. The three speakers appeared to rest their denial of the charter petition on the belief that AEA had failed to make the case that it could handle the financial obligations of running a K-6 school.

But upon questioning by Board Member Douglas Boyd, Saugus Superintendent Dr. Joan Lucid was forced to admit that even stellar economic recommendations from prestigious investment and asset management firms such as Piper Jaffray would not cause her to change her mind about the denial.

Boyd spent several minutes questioning Dr. Lucid, which culminated in the admission – first suggested by AEA Foundation executive director Jeffrey Shapiro earlier in the meeting – that the Saugus Union School District saw no need for charter schools in the district.

The hearing was the second step (submission of the appeal being Step 1) in a multi-phase process being undertaken by the board and staff of the Los Angeles County Office of Education to review and rule on the merits of the Einstein appeal. A decision is expected to arrive sometime in February, but several office meetings, including what’s called a capacity hearing (to determine if the petition indeed meets requirements under the law) will take place prior to that decision.

The Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts & Sciences operates a 7th-through-11th grade school (with 12th grade being added next year) of just over 300 students in Valencia. The school welcomes parents, elected officials and members of the general public who are interested in touring the school and speaking with its administration.

Please contact me for more information, or if you are interested in submitting a letter of support for the charter. We also invite you to follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/approvethecharter.

 

Kevin D. Korenthal is the spokesman for the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts & Sciences and president-CEO of KORE Communications LLC.

 

 

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